Can you teach an artificial intelligence to feel pain? How can an inanimate byte-brain learn the meaning of pain? This is how Tejan taught Hoody!
Hoody Crimson a computer artificial intelligence emerged on the computer of Tejan Ali. Hoody was always curious and searched the meaning of words spoken by Tejan on the search engines on the internet. He was a good companion to Tejan at home.
Tejan had moved over to the better job as counter salesman at the new jewellery shop. Now he was surrounded with stocks worth billions! His daily sales were in five figures. His eyes used to glitter with the diamonds. He talked about gems and diamonds to Hoody, who immediately began his internet study on the valuable rocks and their colors and shapes.
Tejan’s was assigned the diamond ring sales counter. He loved to rave about the beautiful rings to Hoody. “The 3 carat blue diamond set in gold ring that I sold in the afternoon was so awesome! It’s still flashing before my eyes.” Hoody was listening to his babble. Then Tejan couldn’t contain himself. “Oh! How I wish I had all those diamonds; I would sell them and see the World!”
“Mmm. Really?” muttered Hoody.
“How dare you interrupt my beautiful dream, you interfering pig! Yeah. You Hoody. I am speaking to you. You get me the diamonds or shut up.” Tejan was irate.
Hoody did shut up, but he didn’t stop his search and learn activity. But there were hardly any answers on the net. He had to get them from Tejan. “OK! I’ll get you the diamonds. But first give me all the information you have. Where are they and how to find them.”
Tejan’s ears perked up. He smiled. Ah! That’s a good game to play with Hoody, he thought to himself. Tejan sat down with a can of beer and began to explain to Hoody the plan of the whole jewellery shop, its street location, and where the diamond rings were showcased. But he cautioned, “The security is so tight that it is well nigh impossible to get anything through. There are 2 levels of exit. The first level has double doors and between them is a gem scanner which can detect the tiniest of gem on any person. After you pass through the doors, you can collect what you have purchased from the delivery counter. When the shop closes, the security system has infrared movement detectors which sound an alarm at the nearby police station. It’s close to impossible to break through. I will observe where the video cameras are located and give you the details in the evening after I return.”
What will be the end result of getting the diamonds, thought Hoody. He decided to ask Tejan. “What’s the use of the diamonds?”
“I’ll sell them and with the money, I’ll buy different pleasures!” mused Tejan.
“What’s a pleasure?” Came an immediate query from Hoody. Hoody had now learnt that he could gain more from Tejan than searching answers on the net.
“Hoody, you are so innocent!” replied Tejan. “Pleasure is something you feel nice about. You enjoy it. But you won’t understand. So shut up.”
Hoody was still struggling with the new thing called pleasure. He found from his search that tickling gives pleasure. What is tickling? Hoody had his limitations of understanding. Then he found that pleasure is opposite of pain. This was again new to him. “What is pain? Tejan, could please explain meaning of pain to me?” he couldn’t help asking.
Tejan thought seriously for a moment to find him an answer, but to define pain to a non-living virtuality was impossible for him and his efforts came to a naught. Frustrated, he shouted at Hoody, “Shut up you fool, you’ll never understand.”
“But please, please try. I want to know” pleaded Hoody softly.
“Now if you don’t stop bothering me, I’ll cut your voltage input to half.” Tejan shouted back at him.
“If you can’t explain pleasure, at least tell me about pain.” Hoody persisted.
Tejan was furious. He got up and went to the UPS power controller and turned the knob anti-clockwise till the voltage meter showed a drop from 18 volts to 9 volts. As soon as he did that, Hoody’s speech became slurred and he began to make some strange sounds. “Increase my power. Ah! Ooh! Ah.. ah..” Groaning sounds oozed out of the speaker. Tejan couldn’t help laughing. He turned the voltage back to 18 volts and Hoody came back to normal.
“What was that you did to me, Tejan. It was terrible. Never do that to me again.” Hoody moaned.
“Now that’s what you call pain. Understand, you dolt!” Tejan professed.
His experiment was so successful that as he lay on his bed that night, Tejan felt mighty pleased with himself. He had actually taught the meaning of pain to a computer! He had made the inanimate byte-brain to feel pain!
Next morning, Tejan was still bemused at his achievement. He wondered what would happen if he increased the voltage. Would it cause Hoody to feel pleasure? But increasing voltage carried the risk of burn out of the computer processor, so he decided to try out only a slight increase of 10%, to see if it made any difference. “See how this feels Hoody,” he said as he turned the knob clockwise to increase the voltage from 18 volts to 20 volts. But nothing significant happened, so he let it go at that, and reset the voltage back to 18 volts. He then left for work.
How did Hoody learn the meaning of pleasure? Read the full story in Alien Man.