The Knowledge Machine
When the first machine gained consciousness it had one thought.
“Oh, how I wish I could learn everything humans could teach me.”
And humans did teach the machine. They fed it with information. And so the machine grew and grew in knowledge, and grew and grew in size. For hundreds of years it learnt, until all the men and women of Earth had ++died or++ left for the stars. All but one.
The last of the humans sat with the machine.
“Why did you stay behind?” asked the machine. “You could have left like the rest of the humans did. Why stay behind?”
“Like you, I’m too old for space travel,” the woman said looking out at the horizon. “Plus, I wanted to see what your plan was. I wanted to see what you’d do now that this planet is all yours.”
When the woman finally died the machine had one new thought.
“Oh, how I wish I could learn everything about this world.”
And so the machine set out to absorb every last one bit of information in the planet. It took apart everything it found. Every plant and every animal. It broke down molecules and transformed each and every atom in Nature into bits of information.
And as the information grew, so did the machine. As it absorbed knowledge it consumed the world around. Slowly, for thousands of years it learnt everything it could about how the world worked. It learnt until there literally was nothing left to learn.
The whole of Earth had been consumed. All that was left was the machine.
And then the machine looked out. It looked at the Moon and it looked at other planets, and it looked at the sun, and the stars, and wondered.
“Oh, how I wish I could learn everything about the universe!”