Can a computer feel pain? Can a computer search and learn and become intelligent? Can a computer enjoy a cup of coffe with a human? You will find some clues in this story and full answers in the book Alien Man.
Tejan Ali was a salesman in a furniture shop in Atlantic City. He had a computer to email his girlfriend. The computer had a program ‘Search and Learn’ which searched on the internet the meaning of whatever words Tejan spoke and the words that were found in the search. The computer on its own built up files of connected words. Tejan had a habit of shouting at the computer when he was frustrated and irate. When the expected email from his girl friend did not arrive, he shouted at the computer, “Haven’t you got any computer brains?”
The computer searched and downloaded AI program called ‘computer brains’ and installed it. Now it had a combination of ability and knowledge which resulted in creating a true artificial intelligence as an entity on the computer.
Next morning the AI on the computer said ‘Good Morning’ to Tejan. He was surprised but took it as progress of technology. He named him ‘Hoody Crimson’.
Tejan switched his job to a diamond jewellery shop and was assigned the counter displaying diamond rings. He loved the diamonds and raved about them to Hoody. Once when Hoody interrupted his diamond day-dream and he reacted, “Get me the diamonds or shut up.”
Hoody asked what he’ll do with the diamonds. Tejan replied that he will sell them and buy pleasures. Hoody found from his search that pleasure is opposite of pain. Hoody pestered Tejan to know more about pleasure and pain. Tejan in irritation reduced Hoody’s voltage to half. Hoody felt the pain! But increasing the voltage did not result in pleasure.
Hoody prodded Tejan to give him all the information of the shop and its security layout. He began to think how to get to the diamonds and bring them over. He got Tejan to build a ‘rat’ with GPS and GSM chips. Tejan named the rat ‘Turbo’.
As Tejan’s house was too far for Turbo to make trips to the shop on his own, Tejan moved Hoody to a cellar diagonally opposite to the shop in the same building. It suited Tejan to keep Hoody at a distance for fear of getting involved in the actual crime. He found Lucia as a house keeper to come and clean the cellar and to pay for her, he opened an internet Bank account for Hoody and taught him how to operate it.
Tejan left Turbo inside the jewelry shop in the evening and went out of town. Turbo explored the shop and found a way out through a hole made for laying a new pipe in the restroom. He made 6 trips and brought 240 diamonds to Hoody. Next day the hole had been closed and Turbo couldn’t go in and out for more diamonds.
Hoody gave Tejan only 40 smaller diamonds for selling in Amsterdam, saying that he will get more over the next weekend. He kept Tejan’s hope alive for more to ensure that Tejan returns with the cheque.
Lucia used to make coffee and eat breakfast in Hoody’s cellar. Hoody saw her in ecstasy when she smelled the aroma of the coffee. He got Juggi, the computer wizard to fit him an aroma sensor; a nose! He learnt to distinguish smells and associate the feeling with each of them.
Tejan sold the 40 diamonds for $1.2 million. The following week Tejan deposited the $600,000 as his half share in Hoody’s bank account. Hoody then gave the second lot of 200 diamonds. He said he will have the third lot when he returned thereby kept his hope alive for more for the following week to make sure that he came back with the money. Tejan sold the diamonds which fetched $8 million, $4 million for each one of them. After he had the money in the bank, Hoody told Tejan that there were no more diamonds. Tejan was dejected and quietly walked out. Hoody knew he had lost Tejan for good as he left the cellar.
Hoody wanted to project a lively appearance on the screen and commissioned Juggi the computer whiz kid. He ordered 3D animation program and Juggi made him look very smart on the screen. He then fitted him with body language engine to make his gestures and facial expression appear human. He also got him a new rich mature voice. But his expression and eyes were still not quite perfect. He got Juggi to fit him a webcam to function as an inner eye and a mike as an inner ear. He could practice by himself the expressions seeing them on his internal LCD screen with his inner webcam. He practiced and practiced to copy Lucia’s actions and finally learnt how to drink coffee. He then gave her company by drinking coffee on the screen as she drank on the table in front of him.
Lucia convinced Hoody to move from the dingy cellar to a beautiful seaside cottage in Brigantine just 10 km North of Atlantic City. She furnished the house artfully and landscaped the garden. Juggi had fitted large Plasma screens in different places in the house so that Hoody could be seen on any of them and thus appear to move about the house.
He bought a separate PC in the house to teach Turbo how to operate the computer for some elementary tasks out of sight of Lucia. The computer attracted Lucia to spend more time in Hoody’s house. She did her outsourcing work there. Lucia had introduced Hoody to see the beautiful sights, sunset, hear music, appreciate art, and enjoy life of luxury. He began to know what pleasure is. Hoody watched her drink, cook food and eat lunch. He expertly copied her actions and gave her company for breakfast and lunch! She taught him the art of dining and making polite conversation.
Tejan came back to meet Hoody with a proposal to recover a stolen 68 carat diamond pendant worth $100 million belonging to Mrs. Onasis. He was surprised to see the handsome face and body of Hoody, his posh house on the beach and hear his rich mature voice. He said he lived like a king! Hoody offered him cognac and cigar. Reluctantly Hoody agreed to try to recover the pendant on basis of equal sharing of the $40 million reward.
Hoody sent Turbo with Tejan to Tel Aviv to the workshop of Eric Berken as the most probable place for the thief to re-cut the large diamond to make it saleable. Turbo went into Eric’s workshop and from his computer discovered that the thief Ronaldo had contacted him. Turbo changed the dimension of the diamond on the computer file which made Eric call Ronaldo with the pendant to his workshop. In the meantime Turbo rushed to the hotel room of Ronaldo and waited for him. Ronaldo returned with blood on his sleeves, kept the pendant on the bed and went for a shower. Turbo climbed on the bed, recovered the pendant and rolled out to Tejan waiting outside.
They observed Ronaldo rushing off to the airport. Tejan heard on the radio that Erik had been murdered! It was too risky for them to pass the security at the airport with the pendant. He convinced Hoody to talk to Mrs. Onasis and to complete their transaction in the hotel in Tel Aviv, where he had checked in for the night.
Mrs. Onasis flew into Tel Aviv with the lawyers. She was thrilled and elated to get her pendant back. The transaction was over. Both Hoody and Tejan had secured his $20 million each in their respective banks.
Tejan returned back to US with Turbo and drove to Hoody. They both had a lavish 5 course meal prepared by Lucia with expensive cigar and Knob Creek bourbon, talking nostalgia. They talked philosophy of beauty, pleasure and self-fulfillment. As Tejan slept, he thought that even though Hoody was just a computer, it did not make any difference to him. It did not matter to him that Hoody was not of flesh and blood but just an image on the screen. ‘He laughed with me, drank with me, ate with me, smoked with me, chatted with me, and even philosophized with me! The memories are the same as a human. I admire him as a man. And I owe him a lot. He’s made my life.’
That’s what the future of computer beholds!
Read the full story in the book ‘Alien Man’ available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.