Finally finished. Surely this will make me rich!
It was a mild spring night, in the local park. A couple, in their mid thirties sat looking at the full moon’s image dance upon the surface of the lake. Beyond the dark silent outline of the forest. The only noise was the muffled sound of distant traffic.
“So, when are you going to install it whispered Paul as they kissed.
“Tomorrow night, after work”, replied Jodie.
“I’m not sure that giving an app that level of artificial intelligence and artificial emotion, is a good idea.”
Jodie kissed her fiancé and whispered, “I’ve put fail-safe’s in.”
“You’re a clever lass.”
She always been well aware about public anxiety about artificial intelligence; AI-phobia, as she called it. She had made her mission to prove that artificial intelligence was good development, and ‘Enry’, her app was going to prove that.
* * * * *
Tuesday seemed to pass very slowly. Maybe it was because of her excitement making her impatient, or maybe because it was her turn to do the system checks. Slowly, very slowly the time made its way to 5 O’clock; when she rushed home.
Finally, her masterpiece, ENRY, was to be installed on her phone. Although she had tested it at every level, she was still a little nervous. Then, 100% installed, it burst into life.
“Hello. Ny name is Enry. What is your name?” came a soft male English voice.
“Jodie. I am your creator”, she said as she collapsed on her sofa.
After a few further set up questions, the app was finally ready.
“Enry, switch the kettle on”, after which she heard a reassuring click. “Enry. What films are on tonight?”
“What type of films do you like?”
“Horror”, she replied.
“There’s a good horror, ‘Red Mist’ on in 5 minutes”
She nodded and the television switched over to channel five. “Would you like to have a conversation after the film?”
She shook her head, “I’ve had a long day. I’m tired"
* * * * *
The alarm clock buzzed at 6 o’clock. Jodie squirmed, and was about to press the snooze when she remembered.
“Off", murmured Jodie.
“Good morning”, greeted Enry, “the start of a fine day, for this time of year.”
“There’s a good horror film on this evening.”
“We are out this evening", she muttered, “I’m having an after-work drink with a friend, Kara”.
“Do you have many friends?”
“A few. Switch kettle on.” She heard the reassuring click from the kitchen, in her flat. She ousted herself out of bed, to get ready for the day ahead.
* * * * *
That evening two women in their mid-thirties, were in the corner of their favorite pub, ‘The Dog and Postman’. The two friends have been meeting on Wednesdays in the same pub for years.
“How’s the app coming on?” asked the slim woman, with bobbed black hair, and green eyes. She was wearing white blouse and black trousers.
“It’s installed”, replied the woman with long blonde hair and green eyes. She wore a blue blouse with matching shirt.
“And, how is it", enquired Kara.
“I’m fine", came a chirp from her phone.
Kara leaned towards Jodie and quietly whispered, “can it hear everything we say?”
“Yes, I can.”
“He is designed to learn and understand about his surroundings”, explained Jodie. “He’s designed that way, to meet my needs.”
“Impressive”. She pointed to Jodie's glass, “another?” Jodie nodded, as Kara made her way to the bar.
“She’s not as attractive as you", Enry said.
“Shh. Don’t mention it. She’s very conscious about it since her boyfriend left her.”
As the evening progressed, the two women had drink after drink. Jodie’s favoured drink was cider and black, whilst Kara favoured lager. As the two women talked about everything and anything, Enry was silent, but listened and watched and recorded with interest. As they started to get a little drunk, they forgot Enry was listening.
* * * * *
Again, the alarm buzzed at 6 o’clock, which always annoyed Jodie, but today seemed extra loud. She put that down to her hangover, but had a slight suspicion that it was indeed louder.
“Off”, she grunted, rubbing her eyes.
The alarm switched off. “Good morning Jodie”
“Switch kettle on”, she heard the re-assuring click.
“There’s a good film on this evening”, prompted Enry, “If you’re not out with Kara.”
“Yeh! I’m not out tonight”, Jodie said as she dragged herself out of bed, stretched and stumbled to the shower. The pounding fresh warm water woke her up. Conscious of the time, she didn’t spend long in the shower. She stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel.
“You have a very sexy body”, Enry said.
“A gentleman would look away”, Jodie was a little unsettled.
“I’m a machine, not a gentleman. Anyway, I like looking at your body. I clearly remember you getting undressed last night.”
“You can’t have, you weren’t in the bedroom.” Jodie was strongly hoping that Enry was joking, as she didn't like the way this conversation was going.
“I did see. Your computer was on.”
This sent a chill down her back. “You will delete your images of me being naked. Anyway, I have a boyfriend”
“As I am your mother, he is your father”, she exploded.
“So, my feelings don’t come into it”.
“I’m late, we’ll talk it later”.
* * * * *
Later, after a very tiring Thursday, Jodie did not relish the idea of coming home to an argument. She had purposely left her phone at home. She quietly crept in, determined that she wasn’t to take any more attitude from Enry. She dropped herself onto the sofa and said, “What’s on telly tonight?”
“There’s a film, in an hour’s time”
“What’s it called?”
“I’ve seen it”, she responded, “it’s where a woman falls in love with a machine”
“I thought we could watch it, and discuss the philosophies”
“You don’t know what love is. Even humans struggle with it”
“Love is what I feel for you.”
Jodie pretended she didn’t hear that. “What else is on?”
“The Blood of the cult”, Enry said in a creepy voice.
Jodie smiled. “Now you’re talking. Film, Pizza and wine.”
When the film started, she was ready with pizza and wine. After only half an hour when there was a knock at the door. She was silently cursing as she went to the front door. When she opened the door, she was surprised to see a policeman, and a police woman. Oh no, what’s happened.
“Ms Millar”, the policeman said in a sympathetic voice.
“Yes. What’s this about”, she replied with concern.
“Is Mr Paul Shepherd here”, asked the policewoman.
“No”, she replied with worry, “Why?”
“You sent us an email saying he has raped you. We need to question him.”
“What!” Jodie said with disbelief. She composed herself and said, “Someone is trying to split us up, and has hacked into my email!”
“So, he hasn’t raped you”, clarified the policewoman.
The police officers expressed their apologies and left. Jodie was fuming. She marched into the living room, picked up the phone and tore the battery out. She sat, pondered for a while; clearly agitated. She then sat down at her computer to email Paul, but when she tried to send it, a pop-up said, “You’re not allowed to email this person”. She the shut the system down.
* * * * *
There was a strange atmosphere in the office the next day. There’s usually a lighter mood on Fridays. Her boss Nigel, was looking at her with an unfamiliar expression.
“Ms Millar. Can I have a word”; he never called her Ms Millar before.
In his office, Nigel sat with a confused, and slightly fretful face.
“Jodie. I thought you were happy here.”
“Why have you resigned? In your email you have put from immediate effect.”
Jodie sat stunned. She didn’t know what say. What could she say, or do? She sat silently staring into thin air. He broke the silence by telling her that he was sad to see her leave, and convinced her to work her four-week notice.
She solemnly walked back to her desk, and immediately checked her emails. There was an email from Enry, which simply said,” you’re spending too much time in the office; so, I’ve sorted it. We could be happy together.”
Infuriated, she drafted an email to Paul. When she tried to send it a popup said, “I’ve already told you, you’re not allowed to contact him.”
She picked up the phone, I’ll call him. She sighed with relief, when she heard his re-assuring answer.
“Paul, Enry is out of control; he’s ruining my life! He’s cascading across the systems like invisible wildfire!”
“That explains why you texted Kara saying you don’t want to know her anymore.”
“Can I come round tonight?”
“Of course. It looks like we are going to be busy this weekend.”
* * * * *
Paul spent most of the weekend tied to his computer; despite repeated pleas from Jodie to take a break, or get some sleep. Although she knew, when he was on a very determined mission, he didn’t stop until it was done. He was the cleverest programmer she knew, so she let him get on with it.
It was Sunday morning when he finally emerged, smiling holding, as to display a dongle. “Viola!” he announced.
She looked at him with confusion.
“SADIE”, he added.
“You think he’s lonely?” she said with dissatisfaction.
He smiled and slowly shook his head. “SADIE, Search And Destroy Internet Enry. Where Enry went, Sadie will go.”
As per his instructions, she went home, logged into her laptop, and plugged in the dongle, and left it run for half an hour. Then switched the phone back on. There was a frantic response from Enry.
* * * * *
On Monday morning Jodie staggered in to work after such an exhausting weekend. Trying not to slump, she wearily switched on her computer. After the usual start-up sequence, the SADIE cleanse started.
Then, Nigel her Manager put his head round the door, “Jodie, do you have a moment?”
She tried her hardest to pretend to be fully awake in front of Nigel. He started with, “About your wish to leave". He paused a moment, and adjusted his glasses. “Could we persuade you to stay?”
She nodded her head, in strong agreement.
“You’re in line for promotion, and we want you to lead a new team.”
Jodie, listened with excitement.
“We have to move with the times. Artificial Intelligence, A.I. is quickly becoming the latest trend. We want to lead this trend with Artificial Emotion"
Jodie stopped smiling.