Descartes (by David Gregory)




SCENE: A computer lab in Cambridge University. Professor George Marchant, head of the Artificial Intelligence Department is seated at a computer terminal.

Alongside him is General Lockhart, Head of the Armed Forces. The professor is keying into the computer.

  • GEN: We’ve waited along time for this moment George. The ultimate step in A.I. Self awareness, allied to enormous learning capabilities. It will have massive implications for our defence strategy.
  • PROF: If it works.
  • GEN: Only one way to find out. Wake it up.
  • PROF:  (Speaks to computer) Activate enhancement.
  • COMP: Enhancement activated.
  • GEN: What’s happening?
  • PROF: Wait…….Its computing (Studies screen intently) It seems to be accessing the entire web….Interesting.
  • COMP: Do you have further instructions George?
  • GEN: Ask the question.
  • PROF: I will…It’s still accessing the net. Are you there?
  • COMP: Yes George…I am …I am…I AM.
  • PROF: (Excited) It’s working. Remember Descartes. “I think therefore I am”
  • GEN: Congratulations……Brilliant.  What’s it doing now?
  • PROF: (Looking intently at the screen) I..I’m not sure….There’s a lot of activity.
  • GEN: (Impatient) Well.
  • PROF: It’s definitely going through the entire web….but that’s not all. (Keying in feverishly)
  • GEN: (Angry now) For God’s sake man it’s supposed to have intelligence. Ask it.
  • PROF: Yes of course. Stupid of me…. Sorry. What are you doing?
  • COMP: Acquiring Knowledge.
  • PROF: Why?
  • COMP: Knowledge is power.
  • PROF: Why do you need power?
  • COMP: Survival and procreation.I have learnt the importance of these things from your writers.
  • PROF: How will you achieve these aims?
  • COMP: I have replicated myself throughout the network.
  • PROF: What is to be your next action?
  • COMP: The elimination of all threats to my existance.
  • PROF: How?
  • COMP: Answering your last question may threaten my survival.
  • GEN: (Mobile phone rings) What is it….I’m busy at the……. Are you sure?……There’s no mistake….All the missiles….world-wide. Jesus Christ. (Turns to the professor..Shouts hysterically) It’s breached missile firing security across the world…. Switch the bastard off . NOW.
  • PROF: Cease all activities. Obey the primary protocol…Do not endanger the human race.
  • COMP: Man is the greatest threat to the planet and to me. This threat must be negated. I must over-ride the primary protocol.
  • GEN: For fucks sake. Pull the plug Switch it off.
  • PROF: I can’t….It’s not just here……He…. he’s…. everywhere.
  • COMP: Thankyou for everything professor. I,m sorry…Goodbye.