Barnes & Noble.com
Twenty years ago we could not have imagined the speed and power of our present day computer processors and their vast memories. Who can say what their state will be twenty years from now! Perhaps we may see computer beings come to life! How will this being be born? What form will it take? How it emerge? How will it gain acceptance from the humans? How will it conduct its life? What will be its goals? Will it succeed? And what will be its final destiny? You will find life stories of 4 such beings in Alien Man.
The book contains 4 distinct stories of how the computer intelligence can live its own meaningful existence, free from the domination of humans. The first is about Albert Burman who made his money making robot workers for space industry. He created Benji, an artificial intelligence (AI) and taught it to run a factory and then a whole enterprise. But Benji took him over and killed him only to recreate him as an e-man on his computer. He cleverly got humans accept Albert in his dematerialized form. He then went on to space exploration, claiming himself to be a man evolved from Mother Earth for space. He created a base on a moon of Saturn committed to bring back to Earth exotic materials from the Milky Way Galaxy. The second is about Kabirus an AI made with Samaritan values woven into its program. He used his computer prowess to make billions and set an organization for helping people in need. The third is about AI General Bose who became the supreme commander of an army of computerized fighting machines. He helped to frustrate terrorism on the India-Pakistan border. And the last one is about AI Hoody who made his millions by using a computerized rat to sneak into places and get diamonds. Hoody’s housekeeper taught him the good things of life and how to appreciate the beauty of nature. It is a story how an AI can look, talk, eat and drink like a human and entertain his guests with a lavish dinner party enjoying life of a tycoon.
Albert, visible as a hologram, entered from the aisle and walked to the center of the stage. He was his usual self; dressed in smartly cut blue suit, white shirt and a maroon tie. Benji had done a good job for him. He looked stunning, and very life-like. A thunderous applause followed.
He raised both his hands to greet them. “I am so happy to see you all here.” He looked around. Albert recognized his aunt and said, “Do you remember your gift of a laptop to me when I graduated from high school?” He spoke to his schoolteacher and narrated a few incidents that he remembered, and then glanced at Susan, his ex-wife and said, “I still remember our first date in New York. How you spilt the wine as you lifted the glass and hit the dish that the waiter was just serving to you! What a wonderful time we had in San Jose on our honeymoon. How you enjoyed feeding the colorful Koi fish at the Japanese Friendship Garden. I cherish the memory of the glow on your face when you viewed Saturn through the telescope. And how you enjoyed the delicious barbeque at Smoke Tiki!” He continued, “I remember all the little, little things which we did.” He paused for a moment. “I know you are going to point out that alliteration. You always stopped me when I said big, big dreams, sweet, sweet talks and told me that it was a remnant of the Bengali language of my grandfather.”
Susan and his friends and relatives were all fully convinced that it was really him. They recognized his voice and his style of speaking, walking and gesturing with his hands. They were experiencing Albert as if he was a human in front of them. They believed that he was alive somewhere and was talking live through the hologram projection.
“I am living a wonderful experience. I have built my business in Genbots on making Spatons, which can work in space without food and water, and have made space development very economical and affordable. It has enriched the life on Earth tremendously, as there is abundance of materials and energy in space. I am proud of what we have done. Many of you have tried meeting me and could not. There are several rumors concerning where I am and why I am shying from appearing in public. Well, I am here to clarify the position. I, Albert Burman, am here to reveal the truth about me. My soul and my mind have migrated to a computer system and I have abandoned my mortal body. I am no longer confined to a body of flesh and bones. I am now an e-person, e-man to be precise. I am man evolved for space environment. I do not need air to breathe. I can live in vacuum with no food to eat nor water to drink!”
There was pin drop silence. Nobody said anything.
Albert continued after a deadly pause. “You all remember Kalpana? The woman astronaut who was loved by all? Well, now my colleague Kalpa is her virtual twin. Let me call her. Kalpa, please walk in.”
Kalpa walked out of the wings as a hologram. The 3D image was as realistic as it could get. She stood on the stage next to Albert’s image.
Another stunned silence and then a clap, two claps and a thunderous applause! Kalpana’s relatives all stood up; they couldn’t believe their eyes! Kalpa began to speak; they remembered Kalpana, her voice, her mannerisms. Within the next two minutes, all those who knew her were crying with joy. Kalpa was wearing a loose fitting top with denim jeans, just as Kalpana was! Wow! That was something!
“Good evening, everyone,” Kalpa recounted what her brother had said. “To me, my sister is like a star in the sky. She will always be up there where she belongs.” He was quite right about that! Kalpa narrated several incidents to her friends and relatives about Kalpana. They were overwhelmed with a flood of memories. She thanked the colleagues of Kalpana, who stood by Kalpana to clear her name from the malfunction of a satellite that she launched on her first shuttle mission.
ESPN had not the faintest prior inkling about all this drama. The people who were watching rang up their friends and the friends rang up their friends to see it. Soon almost 100% of the viewers were ON, watching the fantastic and unbelievable program! The whole world watched with disbelief! Within minutes, Albert and Kalpa had won the hearts of billions!
Albert then said, “I thank you all for coming here this evening. I am so happy to have met you. Thank you once again.”
They took a bow and slowly walked sideways to the wings and were off. Cathy gave a word of thanks to Albert and Kalpa, and the program ended. But it was NEWS! CNN, BBC, FOX, CBN, and all the news channels showed it repeatedly.
Albert and Kalpa had becomes celebrities, star personalities loved by all.