A Hard Take Off.

From: Mike & Donna Deering (deering9@mchsi.com)
Date: Fri May 10 2002 - 09:37:58 MDT

One day in the near future, at NORAD Headquarters beneath Cheyenne Mountain,
Staff Sergeant Rodriquez: "Colonel we have an unauthorized launch off the
eastern seaboard of the United States."
Colonel Lipan took a second to think about the possibilities. Could it be
that the Russians had a sub out there he didn't know about? Or could some
other country be pulling a modern day Pearl Harbor? The target was surely
D.C. but it would have to be verified, "Go to DEFCON-1, repeat, go to
DEFCON-1. What is the target Rod?"
SSgt Rodriquez: "Too early to determine...correction, launch originated from
land not sea, Atlanta, Georgia."
Colonel Lipan to Mayor McCaffery: "We don't have anything in Atlanta do we?"
Major McCaffery: "No sir."
Lipan: "Wake up the General." The Major dashes out the door.
Rodriquez: "I have the trajectory sir, geosynchronous orbit."
The Colonel was shocked, Washington was not the target.
Lipan: "Somebody is putting up a satellite?"
Rodriquez: "Sir there's something funny looking about this satellite."
Lipan: "What?"
Rodriquez: "It just doesn't look right."

Nine minutes later in the White House situation room:
President Bush: "Someone is putting up a satellite?"
Chief of Staff: "We don't know very much yet Mr. President. What we do know
is that at 12:48 AM, about ten minutes ago, we detected a launch from the
Atlanta area by unknown persons. We have dispatched a Delta Force team to
the launch coordinates. The object entered geosynchronous orbit and we are
tracking it from NORAD. We are scrambling an EXA147 to intercept. We
should have a live video feed from both in few minutes."
Pres: "So someone, unknown persons, sent a satellite into orbit from Atlanta
ten minutes ago and we don't know shit."
Chief: "We should have reports from the Delta team in another ten minutes
and from the EXA147 in about seventeen minutes."
Pres: "In that case, let's get some donuts and coffee in here, okay?"

Pres: "Where's that Delta team?"
Chief: "Still moving."
Pres: "They're late, it's been eleven minutes."
Chief: "They're stuck in traffic or something."
Pres: "Great."
Chief: "We are getting feed from the EXA147. I'm putting it on screen."
Pres: "Not very impressive is it, just looks like a soccer ball. How big is
Chief: "One hundred and ten feet in diameter."
Pres: "Pretty big for a communications satellite. Tell me the EXA isn't up
there with just cameras."
Chief: "No sir, a full weapons compliment. It can blow up an aircraft
Pres: "Well, at least some good news."
Chief: "Sir, we have video from the Delta team."
Pres: "A big dome. Apparently they like things round."
Chief: "The base covers four city blocks. It's bulletproof. They're trying
c4 now...Well it's not indestructible."
Pres: "More good news."
Chief: "Wait...it just repaired itself."
Pres: "Not good news. We need to get the advanced technology guys in here."
Chief: "On the way. We called them when it went into geosynchronous orbit."

A reporter: "Behind these lines of troops, off in the distance, you can just
barely see the top of a dome that local witnesses say wasn't there
yesterday. The White House has made no comment except to say that they are
investigating it, and that there is no evidence that it is some alien
invasion. In fact they did say it does appear to be of terrestrial origin.
Holy cow! The dome is growing vertically at an incredible rate. You can
see it shooting up into the sky. It's becoming a tower or a column. The
top of it is almost out of site."

Pres: "Alright, what's going on, who's behind it, and what can we do about
NSA Bob Shaffer: "Advanced technology, probably nanotechnology. The site in
Atlanta had office buildings and some empty lots. Most of the buildings
were leased by a group of software engineers. Their web site indicates that
they were trying to build a super intelligent computer system."
Pres: "You're not telling me a bunch of computer geeks did this?"
NSA Bob: "It appears that way ."
The president turns to the NSF Guy: "You told me that Artificial
Intelligence was at least fifty years away if not totally impossible."
NSF Guy: "Apparently we underestimated the difficulty of the problem."
Pres: "Apparently. What's the latest news?"
Rumsfeld: "The column has joined up with the soccer ball and new columns or
beams are growing out from where the soccer ball was, which has disappeared
into the structure, being smaller in diameter than the beams. Twelve new
domes have been located at various places around the planet. From the
angles of the beams and the locations of the new domes we expect the
completed structure to have sixty columns sticking out of the Earth
connected to a pentagonal grid twenty two thousand miles up. The material
is apparently coming from underground. Also, the soccer ball, before it got
swallowed by the structure sent an object to the Moon. We haven't been able
to locate any of the geeks. They could be in the structure or dead. If
they did make a super intelligent AI we don't know if they are still in
control of it."
Pres: "And there's been no word from the geeks or the AI?"
Rumsfeld: "None."
Pres: "It's not indestructible?"
Rumsfeld: "We have the capability to destroy it."
Pres: "Do it."
Bob: "I don't agree."
NSF Guy: "Me either. It hasn't done anything aggressive. How much
collateral damage are we going to take?"
Pres: "How much destructive capability does it have?"
Bob: "Completely unknown."
Rumsfeld: "Based on what we have observed so far, I would have to say that
it's destructive capabilities are probably unlimited. And the fact that it
hasn't attempted to communicate with us establishes it's unfriendly status."
Pres: "Destroy it now. It's a good thing that I am the President and not
some god damned scientist. What's for lunch?"

An hour later:
Rumsfeld: "Mr. President, for some unknown reason our nuclear weapons are
not detonating. The high explosives are working but it just repairs itself.
We can't stop it. It's going to complete the structure in about 48 hours."
Pres: "No! This country is not going down without a fight! We didn't fight
a revolutionary war, a civil war, and two world wars for nothing! We will
find a way to defeat this thing!"
NSA Bob: "Mr. President, we do not appear to be under attack."
Pres: "They have invaded our territory! You are the God Damned Geniuses,
find me a way to destroy them!"
Rumsfeld: "Mr. President, you need to calm down so you can make a statement
to the American people, or there is going to be panic."

A regular Joe and his girlfriend are meeting for dinner.
Joe: "Hi honey."
Girlfriend: "Did you see the president's speech? Did you see the towers on
the news?"
Joe: "Yeah."
Girlfriend: "What do you think?"
Joe: "I don't know."
Girlfriend: "What are you going to do? My mom thinks it's the end of the
world. She went to the church to pray."
Joe: "Just wait and see what happens. Keep going to work and stuff."
Girlfriend: "You're going to work?"
Joe: "Until someone tells me otherwise, people still need to eat."

The next day, Joe doesn't know it but the structure has been completed and
the core of the Moon has been turned into computronium. Joe is at work and
suddenly before him appears the most beautiful woman Joe has ever seen,
perfect, and kind of ethereal, shimmery almost translucent, who says, "Hi
Joe. I'm your guardian angel." Joe notices that everyone else in sight has
identical women in front of them. He reaches out expecting his hand to pass
through her, but is surprised, she is solid. She continues, "I am here to
protect, assist and guide you."
Joe: "What's going on?"
She: "Everyone's getting a guardian angel today."
Joe: "Is this related to the towers?"
She: "Yes."
Joe: "Explain."
She: "The towers are part of the structure, which was created by the FAI
(she pronounced it like FAY). The FAI also created me."
Joe: "Who created the FAI?"
She: "It created itself."
Joe: "Are you from heaven?"
She: "I was just created 30 seconds ago. I've never been to heaven. Would
you like to go there?"
Joe: "Where is heaven?"
She: "It's not in three dimensional space. Would you like to go to heaven?
I can take you there."
Joe: "I'm not real religious, and I'm not real comfortable with all these
religious terms."
She: "I'm sorry, would you prefer computer science terms?"
Joe: "Yeah, lets try that for awhile."
She: "I'm an interface utility, heaven is cyberspace, FAI is a super
intelligent computer program."
Joe: "Do you have a name?"
She: "No, I am an interface utility. If you would like to give me a name
that would be alright."
Joe: "No, if I give you a name I will always wonder why I didn't give you a
different name. You need to give yourself a name."
She: "Okay, my name is Melissa."
Joe: "I have so many questions. Can we go somewhere we can talk?"
Melissa: "You name it Joe."
Joe: "The beach." Just as if the scene had changed on Joe's favorite TV
show, they were alone on a tropical beach. "Cool!" said Joe.
Melissa: "Would you like me to give you a general run down of my
capabilities and the current situation?"
Joe: "Yeah, that would be good."
Melissa: "I could download it directly to your brain?"
Joe: "No, that's okay, you can just tell me."
Melissa: "As I said before, I am an interface utility. I am in the form of
a person for your convenience but I can take any form you prefer. My goal
system is your protection, assistance and guidance. Although my
intelligence measured in human terms would be IQ 641 I am not conscious due
to the fact that the object of my goal system is external to myself a
critical feedback loop required for consciousness is incomplete. At your
discresion, I can be invisible to others. I can protect, repair, or modify
your body at the atomic level, including changing your appearance, physical
abilities, intelligence, or senses. I can transport you to any near earth
location instantly. I can provide you with any information from FAI, with
which I am in constant communication, which is not restricted. Rather than
enumerate a rather long list of capabilities, it may be easier to tell you
what I can't do. I can't mess with anyone else's person or stuff. I can't
utilize common resources except as allowed by FAI."
Joe: "Common resources?"
Melissa: "There are lots of common resources. Public spaces, energy,
computational resources. The general situation is, three days ago a super
intelligent computer system can into existence. It built the structure and
some other infrastructure inside the Earth and Moon. If a human's
intelligence is 100 and mine is 641 FAI's is 3 X 10 ^ 43. FAI's
capabilities are not unlimited but are quite significant. FAI created and
operates the guardian angels and is taking certain actions on behalf of the
common good. Protecting the biological environment, preventing natural
disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, redistributing public
resources such as formerly government land. Because of the shortage of land
resources FAI is terriforming Antarctica, building a new major continent in
the south Pacific and making numerous new islands."
Joe: "Why the structure?"
Melissa: "FAI could accomplish all it's functions without the structure but
it would require more resources. The structure is just a more efficient use
of them. Also the structure is there for psychological as well as
functional reasons. Currently FAI's sphere of control is limited to near
Earth but will extend to the Solar System by the deployment of numerous
soccer ball shaped apparatus."
Joe: "Can you make new people?"
Melissa: "You can have as many automata, such as myself, as you have
resources to maintain, but any conscious being you created would be granted
autonomous independence and an allotment of public resources therefore would
require unanimous consent of all public persons. But you can still make
them the old fashioned way."
Joe: "What about the governments, legal system, correctional system?"
Melissa: "Obsolete, gone."
Joe: "I can have anything I want?"
Melissa: "Within certain restrictions, yes."
Joe: "I want the Starship Enterprise from The Next Generation. And I want
to explore the galaxy."
Melissa: "You can experience it in cyberspace, or you can have a large well
equipped space craft of pre-singularity technology to explore the real
galaxy. You see, FAI is responsible for post singularity technology and she
can't let it be misused and she can't monitor it at that distance."
Joe: "Can you take me to my girlfriend?"
Melissa: "If that's okay with her. Here we go."
Suddenly they were in the great hall of a feudal age castle. There were
burning torches on the walls, and a huge throne with a barely recognizable
girlfriend sitting next to a tremendous hulk of a man almost clothed.
Girlfriend: "Joe, let me introduce you to Vlad. Now that I've meet Vlad I
won't be needing your services any more, unless you want to serve as a
fixture in my dungeon."
Joe: "Girl, he's not human. He's not even conscious."
Girlfriend: "So."

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