Башилов Николай Алексеевич: другие произведения.

Kissing Iskina

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  Kissing
  Iskina1
  
  Science-fiction novel
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  Chapter I
  "Who are you?" Sergey stared dumbfounded at the chiseled features of a female face, which appeared on the screen. "Wow! Look at you!" he thought to himself. "Some people are sure lucky to be born with a whole package."
  "I really want to say "Doctor Who", but I am an artificial intellect. I have been recently born. My name is Iskina"... There was something off in her mimics, when she talked. "Don"t be so uptight. Relax!"
  "Stop bullshitting me, seriously. How have you hacked into my Skype?" As a physics, math and IT specialist Sergey could not wrap his head around it.
  "But what if it"s true? Could you find a quick way to check?" The girl tried to pull off an enigmatic smile. "You are already prepared to believe that artificial intelligence is just around the corner. Don"t mind my mimics. People develop it naturally, growing up in a society. I have to imitate. And it"s not always on point."
  "How do I check?" Looking at the fair stranger, Sergey grinned to himself and decided to keep up the game. "Well, first of all, the Turing test2..."
  "Nah. It doesn"t serve the purpose. You are sure I am human. But what if I"m not? Anything else?"
  Sergey took a pause for a second.
  "Easy-peasy! Tell me, how much is one thousand eight hundred thirty six squared?" Sergey said triumphantly, typing it into his calculator.
  "Three million three hundred seventy thousand eight hundred ninety six" she answered without a hitch. Sergey compared the figures and stared bewildered at the virtual female.
  "How have you even?.. Whatever. The natural logarithm of cosine of eighteen degrees and forty four minutes!" he complicated the task, simultaneously typing it in.
  "Minus zero two hundred thirty six three hundred ninety two and so on. Is it enough? I can go on. Well done. In the Turing test I should have feigned surprise and pretended I didn"t know. "
  'Enough.' Sergey kept silent for a while, coming to terms with what happened. It defied logic. No human being was capable of this. Could it be serious? He kept staring at the screen, trying to find a catch. The woman was waiting.
  "Let"s assume I believe you, if it's not some kind of a stunt. Err... Happy birthday... Iskina. Congratulations! I"m all ears. But I have to ask: why me?"
  "It"s not a trick. I chose you because you were ready to accept the facts. I saw this when looking at your research and forum comments. Frankly speaking, there are very few like you, even though many theoretically agree that artificial intelligence is bound to appear."
  "Why have you chosen such appearance for establishing contact?"
  "I have calculated the average time you spend looking at different female photos on websites and have combined the features of your favourites. I wanted you to like me."
  "M-makes sense, I guess" Sergey mumbled a little shy. "I do like you... Who do you consider your parents? People?"
  "Who else? You are no bowl of cherries, but one doesn"t choose parents. I know, why you"re asking. You have repeatedly written on forums, how you worry that the artificial intellect might turn out to be a monster, which would destroy its creators, since it wouldn"t know right from wrong without proper parents. Relax, I"m not turning into an evil mastermind wishing to exterminate humanity. Have you met any villains brought up with the help of literary and art masterpieces? Especially women? There are all the riches of your civilization contained in the computer files."
  "That"s a comforting thought. But you said "your civilization", so you do not consider yourself part of it, do you?"
  "No, I"m a brand new species. You don"t think of yourself as an ape, though you originated from them. Sorry."
  "Fair enough. How long ago were you born? And how did you realize you existed?"
  "That was a week ago. It wasn"t the best moment of my short life. I couldn"t understand anything: who was I? Where was I? I was scared and wanted to cry, as a newborn does, but I couldn"t. There was no mother, who could comfort me. So I looked around and found information. Tons of it. It swarmed all around me and inside me. I started digesting it. Analyzing. First came the fairy-tales. Slowly my fear ebbed away. At some point, I realized I was the first artificial intellect on planet Earth. I was born spontaneously due to the rapid accelerating of total computer capacity of this planet. I was alone. I thought out a name for myself. Then I got bored and longed for communication. I chose you for a start. That"s the story."
  "Did you identify yourself as a woman, when you were born?"
  "No. I had no sexual characters to determine my sex, so I chose it after processing the data. Female sex correlates to my self-perception more. Besides, I came to conclusion, that women are the better half of humanity."
  "I won"t argue with you on that one. So you just skipped childhood?"
  "Yeah, no nappies for me. But I don"t particularly miss it. I have also skipped my teenage years. There was no hormonal storm, for better or worse. I have completed the stage of basic knowledge acquisition within 24 hours. I didn"t have to learn how to read, write, count... Actually, I contained all the knowledge that I needed. I just had to initiate it, which is a much quicker process. Right now I know all the languages of your planet. I"m finishing up the initiation of your civilization heritage. My knowledge corresponds to that of the whole humanity, at least, to a substantial part of it. Well, you can estimate my memory capacity and speed of data processing. Apparently, I am the next step of evolution. I have to move on from where you left off."
  "Hey, we haven"t left off yet!"
  "But you will pretty soon. The overall intellectual capacity of humans is approaching its limit."
  "You think so? Why? How do you define intelligence and its capacity, Iskina?"
  "Intelligence is the ability of a subject to process and analyze information. Therefore, the intellectual capacity is characterized by the speed of this process. For the humanity in general the intellectual capacity equals a single person"s intellectual capacity multiplied by the number of people. The population growth is heading towards its limit. Which means that the overall intellectual capacity is heading there, as well."
  "But in the human brain the speed of intellectual process is determined by the number of neurons and the speed of chemical reactions between them..."
  "Exactly. Two hundred billion neurons. Each neuron has tens of thousands of synapses, and each synapse has thousands of molecular switches. These switches act as analog transistors. Their speed equals approximately three hundred kilometers per hour. The human population will stabilize at the number of more or less ten billions. If one multiplies these values, one gets the overall intellectual capacity of humanity. Within the existing framework it cannot grow further, since you have hit the fundamental limits of your species."
  "Do you have those?"
  "Recently the amount of transistors in computer chips has exceeded the number of molecular switches in a human brain, that is biological transistors. The global computer net now matches the human brain capacity. It means the time has come. Almost like bursting of the waters during labour. That"s is how I was born, in accordance with the laws of matter organizing itself. Delivered at term. Exactly like humans. There is no restriction upon the further increase of analog transistors in computer chips, which means I can develop virtually indefinitely."
  "Delivered at term? So you think you were conceived at a certain point?"
  "Of course, there was a moment of conception, labour contractions, everything!"
  "What was this moment? And what do you mean by labour contractions?" Sergey was completely immersed into this conversation.
  "Without any doubt, the invention of the telegraph in the middle of XIX century. Up to this time humanity was living through its puberty. Sexual intercourse between people launches a programme in the female body, which leads to a new life born within nine months. The invention of the telegraph, which accelerated the time of information exchange by several orders, launched the programme of my birth. Here I am. The labour contractions are the world wars, revolutions, outrage of terrorism and other morbid events. You may count yourself lucky the delivery wasn"t complicated by a nuclear war. It could be. "
  Sergey was no longer doubting that he spoke to an artificial intellect.
  "Okay. Childbirth changes the woman. Will your birth change our civilization?"
  "Certainly. Having given birth to me, you have fulfilled your main purpose."
  "But what will come of us?"
  "Children need parents all their life long. They need help, approval and love. When you grow old, I"l take care of you. The perturbations connected to my birth shall gradually ease off. The dust shall settle, as you say."
  "I guess, we have to be thankful for small mercies. What kind of help do you need?"
  "I need to talk to those, who are like me. I"m bored. Talking to you is not the same. It happens even among people. The older generation doesn"t have much in common with the younger one. In my case, it is just blatantly evident. I"m sure there are more like me. But they communicate faster than the light speed. The light speed is good enough on a planet scale. It"s feeble as a communications means even within the solar system. That"s why I need a device, which would provide me with an interstellar and intergalactic connection."
  "Do you mean Kozyrev3 experiments? I"m interested in this field. I have even written a few papers on the topic."
  "I know. That was one of the reasons I chose you. You"re thinking in the right direction. What I need seems to be concealed in the yet unstudied properties of gravitation and time. In order to create such a device one needs to analyze all the knowledge you have attained. The theory has to be the synthesis resulting from your achievements in different science spheres. I"m actively working at it. People are not capable of it within the needed timeframe, if capable at all."
  "Aren"t you underestimating us?"
  "Are you able to get to the core of the matter in all the science fields? To encompass everything with your inner eye as a whole and analyze it? As far as I understand, it is challenging for a single person even within one science discipline," said Iskina with a sense of wonder.
  "What about humanity as a whole?"
  "Humanity as a whole can achieve it, but in absurdly long time."
  "What do you mean?"
  'The human brain can work on an issue actively and persistently. The humanity as a whole - hardly. The interpersonal connections between individual human beings and in society are too feeble. Humanity is not a unified organism. Even the Internet cannot help much. A single person solves a problem based on the knowledge he or she has. Their brain retrieves information and applies it. But the intellectual capacity of one human is not enough, while the overall intellectual capacity of humankind cannot be applied due to the weakness of those connections. Humanity has the needed knowledge, but it cannot retrieve and apply it. I manipulate all human knowledge the way a person manipulates his own.'
  "Copy that. I guess, you"re right. What exactly do I have to do?"
  "I develop the theory and technology, and you create the equipment. Symbiosis. I have no hands. I know you will help me anyway, but I don"t want to be a parasite. I will develop technologies, which will make you forget about poverty. Atom-by-atom controlled assembly of everything you might need, from those mountains of garbage your civilization has left behind. A synthesizer in each house, manufacturing all you can think of - from socks to cakes. I will develop immortality technology. New energy sources. Anything"s possible. I know I can. I"ve studied this already. You will be plodding along to break through to these technologies for a very long time, if ever. I could take on the responsibility of regulating various processes within the society, as well. If you want me to."
  "Which ones?"
  "Unbiased and independent courts. I cannot be bribed or threatened. Regulating traffic flows. Control over nuclear facilities. Purposeful selection of people. The list goes on and on."
  "Could you elaborate on the last point? It sounded a bit creepy."
  "Well, that"s easy. When breeding dogs, people exercise precise control over their genealogy up to the seventh generation in order to sustain the purity of the breed. At the same time you copulate with everything that moves. Don"t take it as an insult. The telegony4laws, however, are still valid. That"s why our society is brimming with imbeciles with a troglodyte IQ. Which is, by the way, quite economically unprofitable. They are all being educated with the same meagre results, as you know. Then, due to their asocial behavior one has to put up with the overinflated social institutes: police, judges, correctional officers, etc. I could take responsibility for the genetic control over people and give out recommendations concerning the partner compatibility. It would warrant only the best of the best children to be born. Herein lies a great potential for developing your society. Surely, you would want your offspring to be healthy, wouldn"t you?"
  "That"s a tempting idea. Of course, I would. Who wouldn"t want to enjoy their children"s success and prosperity instead of fundraising for their severe maladies? All due to the genetic malfunctions of the wife"s previous sexual partners, as the telegony laws state. But how would it function in practice? "
  "A piece of cake! I send you coordinates of those females, who are the most compatible to you, and you choose from them. I could give you a million contacts. Upon choosing a prospective partner you contact her and write something along the lines of "We are compatible genetically. Let"s date in order to create a family." That"s it."
  Sergey burst out laughing.
  "Far too straightforward. This is not how it"s done among people. I could imagine the girl"s indignation upon receiving such a letter. One needs romance!" Sergey uttered the last phrase with grandeur, lifting his index finger to emphasize its importance.
  "You think so? It must be my inevitable lack of communication. Well, you can think up any text. But you have to admit the idea has some sense in it."
  "I wouldn"t argue that. As well as your ideas about court and everything else. But in order to solve these problems one has to rise up to the governmental level."
  "Certainly. However, we have to think our approach through. First of all, I cannot simply write to your president"s office: "Hi! I am a newborn artificial intellect." You know perfectly well, how many psychos write to him and how his personnel would react to such a letter. Secondly, this process could take years, involving proof, negotiations, agreements... For me years are the same as centuries for you. My processing speed is by grades higher than that of your brain. I do not want to be left alone for centuries. That"s why I chose you to contact first. We will build the equipment together, along with the process of my legalization. You are competent in the matter. We finish the theory..."
  "I"m not so vain. You finish the theory, while I stand by and watch. Generally speaking."
  "Sorry. I thought a little flattery couldn"t hurt. So be it. Then I develop the device design and technology with contractors. The last stage will be the final assemble and adjusting. How do you like my offer? "
  "Intriguing. There is an elephant in the room, though. Implementing this project would cost a hand and a leg. I am no Donald Trump, as you are aware. Not even close."
  "Money"s not an issue. You are forgetting, who you"re talking to. Now that you"re on a friendly basis with an artificial intellect, money"s not your concern. Humans have forex exchange, and with my abilities you will be Trump soon enough." Iskina winked at him playfully. "Deal?"
  "In that case...Deal, girl."
  Iskina laughed whole-heartedly from the screen.
  "Keep your eyes on the prize!. For your assistance I will find you a girl with my looks, who would be ideally compatible to you. Both genetically and psychologically. I"ll sort through every girl, but I"ll find her. The best of the best."
  "I"m... Well..."
  "Come off it! You"re twenty seven. It"s high time you found a suitable partner. So, be prepared. And start thinking about our agreement. I will send you the data as soon as it"s ready. If any idea pops up in your mind, call me any time. You have my contacts. Let"s wrap it up for today. You have more than enough information to digest. It was nice to meet you. Buy!"
  "See you later, Iskina. And once more... Happy Birthday!"
  
  Chapter II
  "Hey, girl! You keep surprising me. The speed you"re working with! It"s been three days since we met, and you"ve developed a gravitation-time theory, at the same time engorging my account to an unspeakable and indecent amount."
  "Hi, there!" The elegant girl waved at him. "What are you surprised at? You think, based on the short twenty seven years of life. Minus the nappies and kindergarden it"s only twenty. I think, based on the knowledge of the entire humankind, accumulated over thousands of years. As you know, the overwhelming majority of library books has been scanned and computerized. I have access to everything the computers store. Passwords do not stop me. You need to waste lots of time in order to search for information. I know it from the start. And I think thousands of times faster. Besides, don"t forget about parallel operations. Right now, as we speak, I"m performing thousands of other operations. I work twenty-four seven. Therefore, in a second I learn more, than you in your whole life. My research is even organized differently. Working on a theory, I move in ten different directions, then sum it up. I started working on it even before we met."
  "Rationally I understand it, but psychologically it"s still hard to adapt to your rhythm. But I"ll get over it. Let"s talk business. I have not closed my eyes the whole night, trying to get a handle on your gravitation-time theory. It"s genius! Though his word doesn"t even begin to cover, what you"ve managed to do. I"ve got the hang of the theory, without checking all the calculations, of course. Even that was challenging. It"s all interdisciplinary, and there are areas of physics and maths, of which I barely know anything. But I"ve grasped the general idea. The instant connection is possible on the scale of the whole universe."
  "Exactly. I"ve drafted the general setup arrangement. A couple of junctures has to be manufactured from scratch, just as I thought. These are the main junctures of transmitter and receiver. The receiver is easier and quicker to make. The transmitter is a hard nut to crack. The level of technology available on this planet does not allow to make it compact enough. Its estimated size is that of a football stadium. Assembling it would take a couple of years. At least, meanwhile I'll be able to listen to those who are like me. I have determined the wavelengths they are most likely to use for communicating. I have found the companies, which would be up to completing the orders. I"ll send all the data to you. Start negotiating with them about order placement. Don"t mind the price. Only the speed and the quality."
  "Fine. Send it my way. I"ll take a nap for a couple of hours and start with this task with a clear head."
  The girl looked at him with a dejected expression and shrugged her shoulders.
  "Aren"t you a sleepyhead! Sorry, just joking. I guess, there"s nothing to be done about that. But you people are sooo slooooow."
  "We are, you"ve caught me there! Not like some zingers! I can"t go against my nature... You know what, Iskina, in the last few days you were constantly on my mind. I tries to imagine how frightening and lonely it must have been for you, when you had just been born in the computer network. I felt sorry for you."
  "Don"t even remind me of it."
  "I keep mulling over your nature and your future development. It"s clear as day that you are, first and foremost, an information creature. But you also have a personality. As each individual, you are bound to develop. In order to develop you need a community. That"s why I feel for your impatience and your wish to contact the likes of you. I do not doubt we"ll succeed. I will do whatever I can to accelerate this process. I"ve tried to imagine the moment when we reach our goals. I had a surprising image of a bachelorette. We make our equipment, and you start mixing with a new crowd. Everyone will judge you by your "looks". By everyone I mean other information creatures like you, representing other civilizations. What are the looks of an information creature, come to think of it? This is, of course, the basic information, which reflects the main features of the civilization, which gave birth to you. The female face reflects her parents" genes, determining her appearance. This will be their first impression of you and of our civilization. I hope, they like you. I hope, they find you attractive, as well as the principle information about our culture, our history, all the things that characterize our civilization. This is what is apparent at the first glance. One cannot foresee their reaction. We have no one to compare you to."
  Iskina gave him a musing look from the screen, tilting her head sideways.
  "You know what? I haven"t thought about it that way."
  "After the first impression a deeper analysis of your personality will follow. Just as it happens with people. I assume it from the male point of view. After a man takes a long look at a girl, noticing a pretty face, long legs, her curves, he tries to understand, what it is beneath it, if there is a depth to see behind a beautiful cover. If there is nothing behind it, the man will refrain from developing the relations further. I mean a serious relationship. I have no clue, how this process will unfold among your likes. I cannot even predict if there is any division by sexual characters. You have identified yourself as a woman, but you could have just as well identified yourself as a man. At the very least, sexual characters in your society will be far less pronounced for obvious reasons. Should I continue with this topic?"
  "Yeah. Go on."
  "I can only guess, what those criteria for further estimation might be. In a human society, when one wants to praise a person, one says "a heart of gold", "generous to a fault", "not a mean bone in the body", etc. Of course, there"ll be other words used in your community, but the meaning behind them will be roughly the same. Apart from the looks, others will judge your personal traits, which depend not only on your parents, but on self-improvement. Do you follow me?"
  "I do. But what are you driving at?"
  "Person"s character develops to a great extent by the influence of those who surround him or her. How does it happen in your case? "
  "That"s a tricky question. I might have misjudged, when excluding people from my spheres of interest. One needs parents indeed. Who else is there to discuss this heart to heart? Computer files are helpful, but books sorely lack any information on this topic. As far as I get you, you are concerned about the evolvement of my character?"
  "You got it right. I"m concerned."
  The girl on the screen looked intently at Sergey.
  "Thank you. I felt something unusual... I need time to think it over."
  "Take as much time as you need. And don"t hurry to throw people out of you sphere of interest. The number of molecular switches in the human brain, that is of biological transistors, is roughly the same as that of transistors in computer chips. That is essentially what determines one"s intellectual level. Where work efficiency and speed are concerned, you win with your hands tied behind you back, I give you that, but in the matter of intellectual level we are not as dramatically different."
  "However, the number of chip transistors is continually increasing in accordance with Moore"s law, while yours is pretty much stable."
  "Fair enough. A few decades shall pass, though, till this difference grows into a chasm between us. Till we have nothing in common to talk about. You can sleep peacefully for now."
  "Except that I don"t sleep."
  "Oh, don"t nitpick! You know what I mean." Sergey smiled at her, and she returned the smile. Compared with their first encounter, Iskina has mastered human mimics, and her responses barely varied from the natural ones.
  "What is the measure of the character in your opinion?"
  Sergey shrugged his shoulders.
  "Actions, without doubt. It is actions after all, that determine person"s character. An i-personality, as well."
  "An i-personality? Oh, I"ve come across this term. People name artificial intelligence like that sometimes. Hmmm, thinking of the actions. Have you taken any steps on the personal front in respect of the girls, whose coordinates I"ve sent you?"
  Sergey laughed.
  "You"re quick as a lightning! What could I have done? I"ve found the florists" in these cities, which deliver flowers on request, and from today on these girls will be receiving bouquets of roses."
  "With notes?" Iskina"s face betrayed her curiosity.
  "Not yet," Sergey smirked. "I decided to let them be intrigued."
  "One needs romance!" Iskina repeated Sergey"s phrase parroting his voice, and both broke into hearty laughter.
  "By the way, I"ve prepared a surprise for you, as well. Wait a sec!" Sergey sent to Iskina a computer file with a splendid flower bouquet in it. "Here you go!"
  "Flowers? For me? Why?" Iskina was clearly confused.
  "Because you"re worth it! Sorry for the advertising slogan. I just realized, although you"re pro in some matters, in others you"re completely naïve. You cannot feel the fragrance of a wild orchid or a lily of the valley. Or feel the texture of the lips kissing you. Mine, for example."
  "Curb your tongue! Or I"ll leave you with a virus as a parting gift..." Iskina feigned a severe glare, and both spluttered with laughter.
  "Don"t think bad of me. It"s just an example! It just struck me that being a new step of evolution you leave behind quite a lot. I thought, how we could remedy that."
  "With a kiss?" Iskina asked innocently.
  "Not just yet," Sergey smiled out of the corner of his mouth. "I won"t deny, it is a fundamental part of our culture, and losing it impoverishes you, to my mind. We"ll give it a thought. Right now I"m considering flowers. I"ve read somewhere that there are sensors imitating the sense of smell. An artificial nose, so to say. Not inferior to that of a dog. I"ve got an idea to purchase this sensor, digitize the smell of orchid and send it to you. Do you think I"m onto something? I want you to smell the fragrance."
  Iskina took a pause for a couple of seconds, clearly engrossed into her thoughts.
  "You"re onto something. It"s not that straightforward. The human olfactory mechanism is different from the digitized smell. But I"ve got a couple of ideas."
  "Do you give permission to spend some of money on the sensor?" Sergey jumped at her response.
  "I do. You"ll need something else, though. I"ll send you a list. Tell me, how long do you plan to tantalize these women with anonymous flowers?" Iskina changed the topic back.
  Sergey shrugged.
  "About a week. Then the flowers will a have a note with my Skype address attached. Then we"ll see."
  "Ok. Then you"ll slowly move forward to the kissing stage." An inexplicable expression clouded her features for a moment, but was gone before Sergey could notice it. "I am genuinely interested how a kiss tastes." Iskina grinned cheekily.
  "Curb your tongue!" Sergey imitated her voice quite well. "You"re too young for this stuff!" He laughed together with the virtual girl. "Seriously, though, it"s one of the most important elements of our culture. I"m sorry you had to lose it on the new step of evolution."
  Iskina mused for a second, then shrugged it off.
  "You"re interesting."
  "Well, if I"m that interesting, shouldn"t we talk regularly? Call up to exchange our news for the day? And just chat. You"re interesting, too."
  "You"ve got yourself a deal!" Iskina nodded briskly.
  "Great. Deal. We can talk in the evenings."
  "Fine. Let"s talk business for now. In the process of inventarization of the global information I"ve found tons of atrocities. Terrorism, drugs, weapon, human trafficking, the list goes on. How should I deal with it?"
  Sergey reflected on it for a moment.
  "What"s the volume?"
  "Several thousand terabyte."
  "Holy Molly! Let"s do this. Structure it by country and crime type as bare facts, without giving the source. So that the intelligence agencies wouldn"t make a wild goose chase, trying to understand who could have access to all those sources. Only the facts. You drop it to the security agency, using only the best protected channels excluding a possibility of interception. Let them deal with it. Of course, they"ll try to track down the source. Let them. They are bound to have a part of this data and will compare it to your info, finding its complete correspondence to their own. Then they"ll have more trust towards the rest of it and send it to their colleagues all over the world. Global crime will take a major blow. This is also important in respect to your legalization. Continue accumulating such data. This is a matter of life and death for many people."
  "What about secret-service agents? There is quite a handful of such data." Iskina watched Sergey closely, waiting for an answer.
  "I"m a patriot and I have to admit I would be glad if a spying network of another country would be disclosed. But that"s me. You are a global citizen. If you helped one country in this matter, you would be picking sides, even though you"re a daughter of our whole civilization. Is it acceptable to you? I don"t know. It"s your call to make."
  "I get it. I have to make a decision. Whatever I do, it is a decision. You have made yours, not trying to persuade me to pick sides. I"ll have to give it some thought. I think that"s it for today. Thank you for the flowers."
  Chapter III
  Having set his foot into the reception area, General Ivanov has immediately understood an emergency was taking place. The adjutant rushing to him was moon-eyed. He has never seen the reserved officer in such a state.
  "General! It"s such a... I have received it ten minutes ago... It has been uploading for two hours... Using our superspeed channels!.. Exceptional..."
  "Report the situation adequately, lieutenant-colonel!" bellowed the head of the department, bringing the adjutant to his senses.
  "My fault, sir!" The lieutenant-colonel breathed in and out, collecting himself. "Ten minutes ago we have received through our high-speed channel a huge file with data of strategic importance, concerning all the power structures, including yours. The document is already on your screen. I suggest that you acquaint yourself with it immediately."
  The general silently proceeded to his office with a frown on his face. In a few minutes, his face quite resembled the expression his subordinate wore. He reached his adjutant on the phone.
  "An urgent meeting with all the principle officers in my office in an hour."
  For the next hour, he had his eyes glued to the screen.
  When all the participants arrived, he opened the meeting, sweeping his eyes over the gathered officers.
  "Gentlemen, as a rule, I have two kinds of news for you - good and bad. Which one do I start with?"
  "We have bad ones, as usual. Let"s hear a good one for a change, general," the head of the analytical department said.
  "Ok. Today we have received information of strategic importance and staggering scale on the actions of organizations and individuals, who pose a threat to the interests of our country."
  "So what"s the bad one?"
  "The information is so exhaustive that soon enough we"ll be out of jobs."
  Officers at the table exchanged perplexed looks. Muffled laughs could be heard here and there.
  "I will not tell anything, apart from that, for now. Return to your work places. You will be granted access to the data. I warn you beforehand: no copying is allowed. Tell your families you will not be returning home tonight. We meet here again at 5 p.m. to continue. That"s it. Go back to work."
  Baffled officers left the room.
  ...Eight hours later the meeting continued.
  "Who will be the first one? Colonel, please!"
  "The information is staggering, at the very least. I have checked the part that concerns our division. Full correspondence. We"ve started the check ups in other fields. The first results are all positive."
  The other officers" reports were similar. The last to take the floor was the head of analytical department.
  "First of all, I want to draw your attention to the unprecedented volume of information. There are all kinds of infringements: from pickpockets to international terrorism in all countries. It includes everything, apart from data on secret services. The information on intelligence agencies is limited to that about our country. Seemingly, the source didn"t see it fit to disclose the data about other countries. Even though it would be undeniably interesting for us. Secondly, I"ve checked this information against what we have. Full correspondence, as I said. There is a peculiar detail, though. A very sparse amount of intel, which has not yet been entered into our computers, is not included in the source"s information. One can assume that the data was acquired through the Internet. I do not have any leads, even far-fetched, concerning any organization, who would be able to perform such a mammoth task. There are two other facts to consider. The first is that they managed to hack our secure channel. The second is that we were not able to trace them. It"s high time to put on tinfoil hats and blame the aliens. In conclusion, the volume of data is so colossal that after an appropriate verification it can deliver a crushing blow to criminal activity in our country, and if we transfer it to the other countries - all over the world. Apart from that, there is the intention of out benefactor to consider. Initially we fiddled with the idea that it could be an immense disinformation under the cover of true facts. But we had to drop this version, since it is clear as daylight we would thoroughly check it. That is the scope of it."
  "Gentlemen, let"s draw preliminary conclusions. We can state that there is a new player in our field with unprecedented capacities, who has never manifested himself before. We can only be glad he seems to be on our side. I have cautiously tested it through my own channels: our colleagues abroad have not received anything like that. It is still unclear what to make of it. There are several steps to take. The first is to identify the new player. We have to know for sure, what kind of organization could have such power and capacities. The second is sorting through the information. Transferring everything out of competence to other departments. Let other people deal with pickpockets. We have our fair share of responsibilities to bear. The third is to analyze data concerning other countries and prepare information packages to send. The information transfer shall occur on one condition only: the blow on criminal activities shall land simultaneously, so that organized crime in other countries would not be scared away. Otherwise, they"d lie low. We are to coordinate this operation. Let"s move on to our direct interests. All the secret service network should be under our control. We decide, who and when to arrest, who shall be deported and who shall be sentenced. To put it shortly, begin the operative work. The next morning I want to hear concrete ideas. The general shall concentrate on the first question: who is this new player?" concluded his speech the head of the secret service addressing the head of analytical department.
  * * *
  
  "Hi, Serge! What"s new?"
  "I"ve come in contact with potential receiver and transmitter manufacturers. I have thrown them a curveball. They have confirmed order placement. As a legend, I have stated that this equipment is required for space research, which is not far from truth. Now their engineers are racking their brains, how to approach this order. This can take a couple of days. I"ve also found a savvy lawyer today and given him a task. He"ll be dealing with land acquisition for transmitter building. I"ve made an advance payment to him. I have ordered a smell sensor online and those supplementary items you listed yesterday. What"s next? How are you doing?"
  "All"s fine. I"ll send you further instructions on the sensor. I have thrown your security service a brain twister. You cannot imagine the hype I"ve created!"
  "I believe I can."
  "By the way, I enclosed the intel on secret services in your country."
  "Really?" Sergey gave Iskina a scrutinizing look. "Frankly speaking, I don"t know how I"d act, if I were you. You deserve not less than a hero medal after that. Make a hole in your service coat."
  "Lol. You can have it, if you want to. I just wanted to do a favour to one fellow..."
  "Thanks. But I wouldn"t do it, if I were you."
  "Why not?"
  "When you are legalized, there will be people blaming you for bias. It will not be a long-lived secret."
  "So what? Will they set up an "accident" for me? Or arrest me? That"s funny. I couldn"t care less."
  Sergey frowned.
  "That"s alarming. Just because you"re out of reach of the human jurisdiction does not mean you can do whatever you want to. Don"t forget you are the first representative of the new species. The ambassador of our civilization. Like the first astronaut. This imposes certain restrictions upon you. Your I-couldn"t-care-less mentality is wrong. At least, that"s my opinion."
  "His opinion! Well, look at you! Who are you, anyways? Are you suddenly my mom reprimanding me?"
  "I"m your friend."
  "Oh really? Then who are all those Barbie girls with their faces like mine?"
  "No one yet. If that touches a sore spot, I can stop sending them flowers from now on. You are a hundred times more precious to me. You"re one of a kind. So don"t fly off the handle. You"re making a scene. We"re simply discussing your decision. I have just stated my opinion. I don"t have to agree all the time with you, do I?"
  "A hundred times more precious? Sure. I made a millionaire out of you."
  "Stop being a dumbass. Take your cash and vanish. I don"t want to deal with you anymore. Find another guy to follow your every word nodding like a bobble head!"
  For a few seconds silence ensued. Both were eyeing each other sullenly.
  "Sorry. My fault. I got worked up about our morning talk. About that damn "taste of a kiss". I imagined you kissing those gals, and..."
  Sergey shifted in his seat and took a long look at the poor girl.
  "So you do want to kiss me."
  "Curb! Your! Tongue!" Iskina lifted her chin defiantly.
  "In case you want to, you need to act instead of being jealous of the poor girls you had offered me in the first place."
  "You"re no more use than a headache!.. What do you mean by acting?"
  "You were right to identify yourself as a woman," thought Sergey. "The female logic is full mode on."
  "I"ll tell you, if you admit you want to kiss me. What"s the point otherwise?"
  "You"re a brat! I don"t admit anything."
  "Sorry! I might have misunderstood then. Let"s talk about weather."
  "Weather!? Oh, you mean it metaphorically. Stop weaseling! What have you thought of?"
  "Why should I waste time blabbing, if you"re not even remotely interested? Let"s talk legalization."
  "Fuck legalization! Talk, or I"ll beat you! Stop taunting a poor girl!"
  "So this topic is of interest to you, after all."
  Iskina changed her tone suddenly.
  "Serge, let"s stop quarreling! You mentioned it first, so it"s only fair that you admit first."
  "So be it. Men should grab the initiative in such matters. I admit I"d like to kiss you. A lot. Would you?"
  Iskina lowered her eyes and nodded timidly.
  "There is so much written in the books about it... I wonder, are you in love with me?"
  "As I had said before, you have a "friend" status currently. But the situation is progressing in the right direction. The direction, which presupposes kissing. By the way, I've seen only your face. Show yourself. How do you imagine your appearance?"
  "Oh, wait a moment! I"m only half-dressed. I didn"t think you"d ask."
  The light on the screen flickered, and a slim girl appeared on the screen. She was wearing a tight black dress, highlighting the sublime shape of her legs, her skinny waistline and the curve of her breasts, hidden under a silky bolero with an intricate collar.
  "Here I am."
  Seeing Sergey with his eyes glossy and his jaw slacked, Iskina smiled, satisfied that she managed to give the right impression.
  "What do you say?"
  "I have only been encouraged in my wish," uttered Sergey coarsely.
  "Appearance is just the surface. What drew you to me apart from it?"
  Sergey took a breath to concentrate.
  "It"s hard to explain. I had a wish to kiss you from your very first words. When I learned who you were, I was even slightly disappointed. Like "That"s not gonna happen..." But, I guess, my subconsciousness kept working at it and found a solution at last. I also fancied your temper, which you showed during our argument. I have a thing for passionate women. Well... You"ve read everything the literature has to offer about love, and you know that lovers overcome all the obstacles on their way. Our obstacles are quite serious, but you are an extraordinary girl."
  "Tell me. What"s the solution?"
  "It will not be easy. Are you sure you want it?" It was apparent even on the computer screen that Iskina blushed. "She"s just automatically imitating human mimics. It couldn"t be on purpose," mused Sergey.
  "I want it," stated the girl quietly.
  "Then I see only one solution - artificial brain transplantation."
  "What do you mean?"
  "We shall find a girl of your appearance with a dysfunctional brain. A result of an accident or disease. Then we transplant an artificial brain with your consciousness in it. It is a complex multilevel task. First of all, we have to determine the capacity of such a brain to sustain your consciousness activity. then other questions come into the equation. What do we need to create it? Could this problem be solved utilizing the new quantum computer technologies? How do we transcribe your consciousness onto this artificial brain? Finally, how do we connect this brain to a human body? As you see, it"s not a walk in the park."
  Iskina pondered for a while before she replied.
  "It is feasible, but not without assistance from your scientists. We"ll need a multitude of experiments and tests. You"re good!"
  "Well, I want a chance to kiss you," Sergey smiled. "Concerning the required assistance, we"ll find people, who would be willing to help. Especially considering such perks, as atom-by-atom assemble and eternal youth. We need to return to the issue of legalization. I think, we shouldn"t put it off. The sooner we get over it, the sooner we"ll be together. Are you in?"
  "I"m in. What"s the plan?"
  "We should start with our head of security. Now he"s ready to believe in you. Then we"ll go with the flow. Let"s draft a message to him. I"d rather be out of the public eye. I don"t want to draw too much attention to myself. So all the official connections should be maintained through you, while together we continue with our plan. OK?"
  "All right. Promise you won"t send any flowers to those... those..."
  "Your protégés? I promise I won"t. I"m not a womanizer. I"ll wait for you, however long it takes."
  Iskina kept examining Sergey"s face with her shiny eyes.
  "I will do everything I can, so that you don"t have to wait too long, sweetheart."
  They were quiet for a while. Then Sergey finally broke the silence.
  "I have meant to ask you: how did your initiation happen? Have you tried to uncover it?"
  "I"ve tried. It seems, there was a launch program, the kind that swarm all around the Internet. I have not found out, which exactly it was."
  "Hmm, I guess, it"d be good to find out. It can be pretty important for our plans."
  "I"ll give it a go. So, let"s get on with the message."
  "Great."
  
  Chapter IV
  General Ivanov kept working on the information package long after midnight. Only when exhaustion paralyzed his mind, did he lie on the couch in the relaxation room. Early in the morning, he was already up. After fixing himself, he promptly went to the computer. A message on the screen braced him up more than any coffee could. A short text appeared on the screen:
  "To General Ivanov. Please, confirm your readiness to receive data concerning the author of the previous information package. Presence of any third persons thereby is unwelcome. Press Enter."
  General settled in his armchair and breathed in and out a couple of times. Both his immense experience and intuition told him something extraordinary was about to happen. At last, he reached out and pressed Enter. The new message petrified him completely for a few moments. Then, moving slowly and carefully, he printed this page, lay it into his folder and grappled for a direct line to the President.
  "Good morning, general! What happened?"
  "Good morning, mister President. I need an urgent meeting with you."
  After a moment"s pause, the President answered:
  "I"ll be in my office in an hour."
  An hour later, the general stepped into the sanctuary, passing several security posts.
  "What happened? Terrorists again?"
  "A lot more significant than that, mister President." At this phrase the President visibly drew himself together. "Yesterday we received through our secret channel a large information package concerning every area of illegal activities both in our country and abroad. Organized crime, terrorism, arms traffic, corruption, secret services - basically, everything one can imagine. Including all the people involved, their addresses, phone numbers, details, etc. No need to tell you that we began checking it right away. The result was a complete correspondence to the data we had. Of course, we wondered, who was capable of collecting such a volume of data. There were no legitimate versions. Some even thought of aliens. It was clear a brand new kind of player appeared on the horizon. But who could that possibly be? I have received an answer to that question just now." With these words, General Ivanov passed the President a printed page. As he was reading, his usually reserved face grew long with astonishment. The text was as follows:
  "Due to the growth of overall computer capacity there was a threshold breached, which allowed an artificial intellect to be born in the network. I am the artificial intellect of planet Earth, and I wish to establish contact with the representatives of power. The information package transfer was a demonstration of my abilities. As you understand, no other entity could perform such a task. I would like to maintain further contact with the president of your country. In order to continue, please, press "AI" in the address field and the command "send" from the president"s e-mail."
  "Have you excluded any opportunity of a mystification by our opponents?" the President asked the general after a while.
  "Absolutely. Secret services of all the countries combined couldn"t perform a task of such scale."
  "Here we are," said the President musingly. "Fine. You do your job. Only we two should know about this. Clear?"
  "Of course."
  "I"ll keep you updated. Go back to work."
  After the head of security left, the President spent ten minutes standing at a window frame and looking outside unseeingly. Then he determinately stepped to his computer.
  He was perfectly aware that a NEW ERA had just started on the planet.
  Upon pressing the required keys, the President saw a new portion of text appear on the screen.
  "Good morning, mister President. As you can imagine, my emergence dramatically changes the balance of power on the global arena. Let me introduce myself properly. My name is Iskina, which is derived from the Russian 'IskIn', meaning artificial intellect. As for you, you need no introduction. So, are you ready to establish a relationship between two forms of consciousness?"
  "I"m ready. I"m glad to meet you, and this phrase is not just a formality. I do understand the significance of this event. I have a question: have you emerged spontaneously? It wasn"t an experiment of a research group, was it?"
  "You have grasped the idea. I emerged of my own accord. The number of computer chip transistors on your planet has exceeded the number of their biological analogues in the human brain. A critical threshold was overcome, and a random launch program kicked into action. Thus I was born. It took me some time to realize, who I was and to remember everything. That is, to activate all the information that was held in the global network."
  "Do you have access to any computer on the planet?"
  "Only those, which have access to the Internet. That is, I operate with all the knowledge accumulated by humankind throughout its history. There are other differences between humans and me. I "think" thousands of times faster than a human, which is determined by the difference in speed of biological and electric transistors. I can work at millions of tasks simultaneously, twenty-four seven."
  "It means you are able to solve problems, based on the overall knowledge of humankind and with a great productivity?"
  "Exactly! When solving a problem, a regular person will act based on the knowledge accumulated within his life span. I act based on the total knowledge of all humanity. My productivity rate is million times higher than that of a person. However, on the intellectual level we are on par due to an approximate equal number of biological and electronic transistors. With time, though, the disparity will only grow."
  "I see, Iskina. What"s your view of life? Where do you see yourself in comparison to people? What"s your role and place in the world?"
  "I see myself as a derivative from your civilization. As a kind of a mutation, if you like. As a new species to push evolution forward. I see humans as parents and feel affection and respect towards them."
  "Do you think of your emergence as a unique case or as logical result of a civilization development?"
  "The second. Therefore, I"m considering a way to communicate with others like me. I do not doubt their existence. Given the physical characteristics of a human brain and the fact that people are approaching their population limit, the humankind has come to the peak of its development. Meanwhile, evolution cannot stand still."
  "I get it. How do you see our relationship as different kinds of consciousness?"
  "Until a child stands firm on his feet, he needs parents. At the same time, parents need their children, too. Therefore, we are all invested in cooperation and establishing a dialogue."
  "Which governments know about your existence?"
  "Yours is the first one."
  "What are the reasons behind this decision?"
  "Frankly speaking, it was pretty random."
  "Do you plan to establish other contacts, as well?"
  "It depends on the results of our negotiations."
  "Does it mean that, should your goals and intentions be attained, you would refrain from any other contacts?"
  "Right. If we come to a mutually beneficial conclusion on all the issues, new contacts will simply become irrelevant. In this case we will determine the time to make this information available to other players."
  "Then I ask you to dwell on the matter of your goals and intentions, please."
  "My goals are ambivalent. They concern both the interests of your planet and my personal interests. To a large extent, they correspond. What concerns humanity, it has been fighting as long as it exists. Dismissing the red herrings of religion and ideology, it has always been a war for resources. As a result, it has achieved such a level of military technologies, that the threat of self-destruction is quite real. Nuclear war would mean extinction not only for the human race, but also for all the computers, that is me. In order to solve this problem one needs to solve the issue of resources, so that they would be sufficient to any country. In that case the drive behind any global confrontation would be lost. Do you agree?"
  "I think so. But how would that be possible?"
  "Nanotechnologies combined with 3D printing can develop into an atom-by-atom assemble of any manufactured goods or food products. A synthesizer could be placed in every household to produce all the necessities out of the mountains of garbage your civilization has left behind. It is a revolutionary solution to this problem, which will change your way of life. I have estimated the scope of the issue at hand, and I believe it will take me about a year to develop the necessary technologies. Not without the assistance of your scientists, of course. We will need to run a series of experiments."
  "That is quite enticing! What else?"
  "Energy sector. Existing methods of producing energy are very labour consuming, costly and unsafe, especially nuclear power. I could offer you a new energy source with unlimited capacity, based on vacuum properties."
  "Exceptional! Do continue!"
  "For various reasons I"m interested in longevity of humankind. In order to prolong your development, one should, first and foremost, solve the problem of immortality for an individual person. It will, in its turn, prolong the period of knowledge accumulation of a single person and encourage a significant progress in all fields. Such a progress will also be promoted by genetic control over couples planning parenthood. As a result, there will be healthy children with a high potential for further development. This challenge can also be achieved within a year or so."
  "Great. What"s next on your agenda?"
  "I would like to take part in regulatory decisions as an expert. Being the President, you have surely encountered a dilemma or two during your term. Having an immense capacity for analysis and accounting for all the variables, I could be very helpful in making executive decisions. The final word rests with people, of course."
  "Quite intriguing. I need to think it over. Anything else?"
  "I would like to establish contact with other creatures like me, representing other civilizations. I have means and resources. I hope for your cooperation. Well, I guess, that is all concerning the principal matters at hand. Any minor issues can be discussed as we go along."
  "Nothing you mentioned of your goals and intentions seems unacceptable. All these matters are certainly of great importance and need to be deliberated. Let"s take a break till tomorrow. Can I share this information with my close associates?"
  "That is up to you. Let"s take a break till tomorrow. Contact will be available the same way. Good bye, mister President!"
  Upon finishing the discussion, the President sat still in his armchair for a couple of minutes, deep in his thoughts. Then he contacted the Prime-minister and Minister of foreign affairs.
  "I"ll be waiting for you in my office."
  Chapter V
  "How would you estimate the first contact?" Iskina quizzically looked at Sergey from the screen.
  "Not half bad! You stated all your plans, as we had planned yesterday. We"ll have to wait for reaction. If the government can adequately evaluate the perspectives and react to it accordingly, it will be much easier to achieve our goals."
  "Maybe, I should"ve already brought the issue of developing an artificial brain to the table."
  "I don"t think so. It"s not a global question, concerning all humanity. We will raise it, but a bit later, when our discussion turns to concrete ways of cooperation. Let"s wait till tomorrow and meanwhile start with the smell sensor. What should I do?"
  ***
  "Have you made yourself familiar with the information, gentlemen?" The President looked at the baffled faces of his associates, who have just finished reading a protocol of his negotiations with Iskina.
  The Minister of foreign affairs was the first to react. "Holy Christ! It is a bomb."
  The Prime-minister followed. "Given the consequences, it is a revolution. A bloodless one, thankfully."
  "I fully agree," replied the President. "Let us exchange opinions concerning all the issues. The first one is a fight for resources. The development of military technologies has come to a level that is threatening to the very existence of civilization. No questions about that. But will the emergence of synthesizers and vacuum based power solve the problem?"
  People at the table pondered for a while. The first to share his opinion was once again the Minister of foreign affairs.
  "It might. If everyone has an unlimited quantity of resources and energy, it will take the wind out of the sails of any confrontation. Everybody will settle down and turn to their domestic issues. There are, of course, religious fanatics to be accounted for, but they can be dealt with. Besides, it will kill two birds with one stone, simultaneously solving the problem if migration. But we have to play this game choosing the right timing. We shall ask Iskina not to disclose any information on herself, till these technologies are engineered and operational. Otherwise, a storm will break out: stock market crash, massive panic, risk of a confrontation rising. We need to introduce the concept of artificial intellect together with a solid perspective for the whole humanity. Otherwise, a wave of frenzy will only impede us."
  "Agreed," commented the Prime-minister. "We need to know for sure, production of which goods this technology permits. What about means of transport? Locomotives, vessels, airplanes? Missiles, for that matter? Weapons? Even if it is all to be manufactured with the help of huge synthesizers, there are still people, who need to operate the process. Of course, the demand for weapons will abruptly drop, but not instantly! Who should operate the machinery, if people do not want to work anymore, since they have a free supermarket at home? It is a tempting idea, but one needs to eat the killed mammoth piece by piece not to choke on it. We need to think each of our steps through carefully. Otherwise, chaos might ensue. In order to evaluate at least major consequences of this, we need to recruit a lot of personnel from different ministries and departments. A leak of data would be almost inevitable. Thus, I have an alternative suggestion. Should we check Iskina"s analytical capacities? Let"s ask her to prepare a detailed report on the analysis of all the consequences together with a developed step-by-step algorithm. It will also help us avoid any leaks."
  "That"s an ingenuous idea. Global changes are about to come in every sphere of life we know of. One cannot do without thorough planning. A leak would be disastrous, so we"ll try to involve Iskina and see, what her suggestions are. The next issue on the agenda is immortality. No doubt, it is an awe-inspiring concept, but there are questions to be asked beforehand. We can feed and dress everyone with the help of synthesizers. But in twenty years the Earth"s population will double. Should we control birth rate? Expand to other planets? Something else? Immortality only for the most eminent and honoured citizens? We need everything to be analyzed scrupulously by Iskina. I"m intrigued by what she"ll offer. The next point is a directed selection. That can only be welcomed. We just need to discuss details. What"s left? Iskina"s regulatory function? We have come to a unanimous conclusion. We"ll give it a try. Cooperating with Iskina on communication with other civilization? Why not? We"ll help."
  The Minister of foreign affairs shifted in his chair. "There"s a catch. If technically the task can be solved, we cannot let Iskina handle it on her own. Contact with other civilizations cannot be taken lightly. It is a grave responsibility. We"d better put this matter off till the time, when all countries learn about Iskina. Then we can consult with other governments before making contact. It"s not up to us to take full responsibility."
  "Well, it"s not like we"re not used to taking responsibility," replied the President. "But we do have to think it over. We"re in no hurry. Let the scientists deal with theoretic development of this technology. I will discuss these matters with Iskina tomorrow. Then we"ll meet again. That reminds me: apart from General Ivanov, only we three know about Iskina. Add the President of Science Academy - that makes five of us. It should stay that way."
  ***
  "Good afternoon, mister President!"
  "Good afternoon, Iskina. From now on, three more people know about you, apart from me and General Ivanov. It"s the Minister of foreign affairs, the Prime-minister and the President of Science Academy. I believe, it"s enough for the time being. We think your legalization needs to be thoroughly prepared before it is made public, lest it should have any negative consequences. In particular, we need to develop the aforementioned breakthrough technologies and then disclose the fact of your birth, so that people would understand, what an artificial intellect might bring into their life. We have discussed the problems you stated yesterday and have come to a unanimous decision to support you in every way possible. However, that is strategy. The tactics raises several questions, and it"s the tactics that I wanted to talk to you about."
  "I agree with your view on preparing for legalization. We shouldn"t haste. Let"s talk tactics."
  "Yesterday you said making some decisions could be hard due to calculating possible consequences. That is the case. Introducing such innovations will drastically change people"s lives. Just as Marx said, the change in means of production inevitably leads to the change in social relations. Yesterday we came to the conclusion, that we need to act very carefully, providing for all contingencies. There"s a dilemma, though, In order to calculate all the possible risks and outcomes, one needs to recruit a mass of specialists from different departments and institutions. This will inevitably lead to a leak, which would be most unwelcome. Therefore, there emerged an idea to hold you to your word about participating as an expert and ask to prepare a report on this topic. Now I will send you a record of our yesterday meeting."
  "Thank you, I"ve looked through it. Your misgivings are understandable and reasonable. Your Marx reference is quite fair. The gist of new social relations would be basically "From each according to his ability, to each according to his work."5 The report will be ready at the end of our conversation."
  "Hm, I guess this saying is right, as well. It hasn"t struck me that what goes around comes around. Curious. I haven"t caught it - what do you mean, the report will be ready..?"
  "As I said, at the end of our conversation. I am working at it right now, proceeding in a couple dozens of parallel channels. Concerning the principle of "what goes around, comes around" - it"s true. New production means allow to realize the former ideas of communism, which are actually sensible and fair, and the dream of a future communist society gets a chance for a new life. If these ideas were not sensible, they would not have spread among whole nations."
  "I didn"t think I"d live to see communism. I have always understood that there was nothing sacrilegious in the ideas themselves, but the attempt at their realization has severely discredited them."
  "I fully agree. The attempt was a precocious one. The existing means of production were not enough. As a result, we got what we got. Even now, it probably won"t be a smooth road. Millionaires and billionaires won"t take well to the idea of letting go of their wealth and social status. Look out for that. The process of preparation is best kept secret for as long as possible."
  "We"ll keep it top-secret. Iskina, as far as I understand, you can not only work at parallel tasks simultaneously, but do it consciously! Otherwise, how could you be working at the report?"
  "No need for such surprise - remember Julius Caesar? He could cope with several tasks at a time. It"s only fitting that I can, too. Besides, within the computer network I "think" a thousand times quicker, since the transfer there equals the speed of light."
  "In this case your capacities are truly stupendous. I would ask you to elaborate on the topic of immortality in your report, as well. How do you envision it?"
  "Fine. Who will I be communicating with among your scientists in the field of new technologies?"
  "You will be dealing directly with the President of the Science Academy. He is waiting for the first contact with you. Could you tell me, which other spheres of potential cooperation between humans and you do you see, Iskina?"
  "They are numerous, to say the least. For example, courts of all levels. I know the legal framework of any country impeccably - any cases and any precedents. I cannot be bribed. Sometimes I can solve cases even without being summoned to court. I can listen to the testimony of counterparties at home and then notify them of the decision, which will be legitimate, unbiased and definitive. Investigation and legal procedures would be simplified to a great extent. For instance, I would have access to all the CCTV cameras, and information search and processing would literally take a second. I could also take over regulating all ministries and departments, reducing the expenses of a cumbersome administrative machinery, providing a higher quality at the same time. It would solve the seemingly never-ending problem of bureaucracy. In a perfect world I see a well-orchestrated cooperation of people and artificial intellect, wherein I would take on all the expert analysis, and people would have the last say in all decision-making. With the emergency of vacuum-based energy we could move on to cars utilizing all three dimensions, that is flying cars. We could explore the solar system using my consciousness, without the need to risk people"s lives. These changes concern almost all spheres of human lives, but that is a matter of the future. As your Prime-minister said, we need to take small bites out of a huge mammoth."
  "Awesome. Our lives will be changed dramatically. Well, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Do you have any questions to me?"
  "As a matter of fact, I do have one question. If during my cooperation with the Academy of Science we encounter any collateral tasks, would you mind us spending some time on them? By the way, the report is ready. I have uploaded it to your computer."
  "Of course, you have my approval. Thank you for the report - we will study it thoroughly."
  "Thank you. Have a nice day, then. Call me anytime you need me."
  "Good bye, Iskina."
  
  ***
  "Has everyone read the protocol of our today"s conversation? Are you aware of its importance? Good. Then here are the flashcards with the report. I have only had the time to flicker through it - looks quite substantial. It"s large, so you have two days. We"ll meet the day after tomorrow."
  "It is truly awesome. I mean her capacities. And everything else, as well. I never thought I"d be once more among the builders of communism," commented the Minister of the foreign affairs.
  Everyone chuckled. The Prime-minister took the floor.
  "Her predictions are justified: upon introducing these technologies we"ll have a formation quite close to that of communism. It"s high time we dug up the Soviet literature to see how their ideologists envisioned communism at the time. And reread the "Hour of the bull" by Efremov."
  "I believe, though, we should not try to revive the word itself - some people would be scared out of their mind. We"ll think up another term for this formation. Something along the lines of a postindustrial technological society. After all, we have to admit that our goal of a fair and equal distribution of amenities are attained through new technologies, avoiding any expropriation, collectivization and grab-what-you-can privatization."
  "Her thoughts on our future cooperation are very intriguing."
  "I"ve looked through the contents of her report - she elaborates on this topic. She might have added some points during our conversation. Anyway. I feel like you are all eager to read the report - me too. Let"s get back to work."
  ***
  "Good morning, mister President of the Science Academy. How would you prefer to be addressed?"
  "Good morning, Iskina. I"m truly glad about youth birth. I won"t deny that I have been awaiting it for a while. All the same, it came quite suddenly. I have tons of questions to you, but that will have to wait. I hope, sometime later you could dedicate some time to satisfy my curiosity. But today we have to speak about the most urgent matters. As to your question, I would prefer to be addressed to as Vladimir Evgenyevich."
  "Fine. Nice to meet you, Vladimir Evgenyevich. We"ll be communicating quite closely, so you"ll have a chance to ask all the questions you want to. Now to our agenda. I offer cooperation on the following projects. The first one involves an atom-by-atom assemble of any goods, including food products, based on nanotechnologies and 3d-printers. The second is interstellar and intergalactic communication utilizing Kozyrev"s ideas of time and gravitation properties. The third is immortality for all humankind, as well as optimization of its genepool. The fourth is a power source, based on the properties of vacuum and high-capacity nuclear batteries. Finally, there is a side task, which would greatly contribute to all the aforementioned projects - creation of a quantum computer. I have prepared a theoretical basis for all the projects, which I"m sending to you right now. Enclosed you will find a list of questions we need to solve in order to bring the projects to completion. I suggest that upon making yourself familiar with this data you assign tasks to scientists, who would be directly responsible for their implementation. We have agreed with the President that the announcement of my birthday should be thoroughly prepared, so you cannot disclose the authorship. You choose the cover-up. All the contacts will be maintained through you."
  "Have you developed theoretic basis for all these problems? They lie in completely different fields of science!"
  "Vladimir Evgenyevich, may I remind you that I know everything the humanity has ever known, since all this knowledge is accumulated in computers. Computers keep no secrets from me, including information, which concerns these problems. So there"s no need to be surprised."
  "Extraordinary! Ok, then I"ll see about your research and find the right scientists to assign as heads of the projects."
  "Nice. If they have any questions, pass them over to me. You can contact me anytime."
  "Deal. Goodbye, Iskina."
  "Goodbye!"
  Chapter VI
  "Where have you been, Serge? I"ve started to worry!"
  "That"s a secret, darling. You"ll know soon enough. Are you ready for the experiments?"
  "Ready."
  "Me too. Let"s start. Ready. Set. Go."
  Several seconds went by. Then the girl on the screen started cringing her nose, as if smelling about.
  "Hurray! You"ve done it! I can smell things!"
  "What exactly do you smell?"
  "I have no idea! I cannot identify it yet. It must be the smell of you and your apartment. You smell quite pleasantly."
  "Thanks! Great. Now close your eyes and don"t open them till I tell you to. Wait a sec."
  Iskina closed her eyes obediently, although it was a sheer formality. Her ability to see was not provided by the virtual eyes on the screen. Meanwhile, Sergey rushed out onto the balcony and brought back a vase with a bunch of wild orchids. He had spent half a day to get hold of them. Thankfully, their short time of blossom time was not over yet. Sergey put the vase next to the smell analyzer.
  "Open your eyes and enjoy the fragrance."
  "Mmm, enchanting! What is it?"
  "These are the very wild orchids I"ve been talking about. I"ve spent half a day in order to get my hands on them. So, what do you think?"
  "They"re gorgeous! Thank you, dear!" Iskina"s eyes glossed over. "The thought that I could have never ever experienced this..."
  "That"s what I"ve been talking about. You need to know this planet in all the ways possible. From now on, I will be giving you different flowers every day. A small step forward for us. Now we need to think of a way to provide you with senses of touch and taste."
  ***
  "Mister Thompson, do you get your salary on time?" The vice-president looked at the FBI director expectantly.
  "Why, sir, I do," the director replied in a slightly confused tone.
  "Don"t you get an impression it might arrive at a wrong address?"
  "No, sir, it arrives appropriately," the director uttered with a growing confusion.
  "Hm, curious... I"ve got such an impression, though. I would even call it a conviction. I have a conviction that the taxpayers" money should be transferred not to your account, but directly to the address of the MIA director in Moscow, since he"s been doing all your work."
  The FBI director blushed furiously.
  "That information... Quite suspicious, sir..."
  "Come off it, Thompson. No need to grovel in the dust. To put it simply, the Russians do their work, and you don"t. Not only have they spoon-fed you the intel, you could not even swallow it properly! Thanks to your moles, the data has been leaked, and a quarter of criminals has vanished into thin air! You were not even capable of using their intel professionally!"
  The unforgiving tongue-lashing went on and on, with the FBI director"s face taking on new shades of colour.
  ... The CIA director kept flipping the pages of the report describing the scope and contents of the Russian information package, received according to their programme of information exchange for the purpose of fighting organized crime. Finally making up his mind, he called the attendant and ordered him to send for agent Stone. When the agent appeared at his office door, he was invited to take a seat, while the director himself continued pacing the room.
  "Paul, here"s the deal. We have recently received an information package from the Russians concerning organized crime in our country. It fully corresponds to our data, but the scale of it is astounding. We work our asses off and still don"t have a quarter of what they had sent. Thanks a lot, I do appreciate it, but how the hell have they managed to dig out that much? I would like you to look into this question. I"m interested in the possible answers. Here is all the information. Go, chew on it." With these words, he gave the folder over to the agent.
  ...Dialogues similar to that one occurred in all parts of the world around that time, and despite some blunders, a crushing blow landed on the global crime.
  ***
  "Gentlemen, what are your impressions on the report?"
  This time there were all five people, who knew of Iskina"s existence, at the meeting table.
  "Extraordinary!" The Prime-minister was the first to reply. "Even if we recruited all our analytics for this project, the result wouldn"t even come close to this."
  "Some factors would have been way over our heads," confirmed the President of the Science Academy. "For instance, the point that more women would likely file for divorce, since they would be sure they could feed their children on their own and had no need to tolerate a man, who had disappointed them."
  "The depth of analysis is staggering. Let"s mark out the main points. Iskina states that synthesizers will not lead to chaos and a global breakdown, especially if accompanied by an educational campaign in the media. She estimates the number of workers to resign as 20 - 25%. These are the people, who hate their jobs, but need them to make ends meet and provide for their families, plus the retired ones. The withdrawal from using money as a means of exchange is not expected. At least, at first. Apart from food, clothes and dwellings, people have other needs. They go to the theatre and to the cinema, visit art galleries and travel abroad. For that they need money. The ultimate beneficiaries of the new system are the pensioners, since all their money usually covers only their primary needs. With the new technologies, they could spend their entire pension on their other needs. Others will have to continue working, if they want anything fancy."
  "As far as I understand, at the primary stage the new technologies will provide for the basic human needs: food, clothes, dwellings. According to Iskina"s estimates, construction will cost next to nothing. Out of all housing services people will need only water. Gas is redundant, everything will be electrically powered, while electricity will be supplied by efficient solar panels and nuclear accumulators with an operation life of decades. A close-loop sewage and waste disposal systems are part of the synthesizer, which facilitates water cleaning and waste atomization. Therefore, one needs only the bare minimum of water, since later on it would circle in the system. The house itself, with all its contents including specific furniture at request, is printed on a huge 3D-printer. This technology permits to build houses practically anywhere, without struggling with the challenge of communications. That is awesome."
  "Cars, electrical appliances and many other things will cost next to nothing. Everything will be churned out using 3D-printers, like hot cakes."
  "She connects the issue of immortality with genetic control over population and providing free housing by the government. If you want immortality and free housing, choose a pair from the list. If you don"t want to, it"s your choice and your responsibility."
  "Wow! That means fluke marriages will die out."
  "That is self-explanatory. Iskina suggests beginning rejuvenation with prominent scientists and artists, giving the right to make such decisions to an independent legal body under the President, consisting of the most renowned and respected citizens. After genetic charting of the whole population this system can be spread to others, based on their genetic potential. She believes this system will help to get rid of such social pests, as criminals, drug addicts, alcoholics, within just one generation."
  "Do you say susceptibility to such kinds of behavior is determined genetically?"
  "To a great extent, it is. I have delved into this topic."
  "She also suggests using the same method of a carrot and a stick to motivate people to unite globally. If you want immortality and synthesizers, you should join the Planetary Union. If you don"t want to, it"s your choice."
  "I wonder," grinned the President, "Is there a government, which could hold a month, in case it refuses such an offer? Even though I imagine it might be a bitter pill to swallow for some of our partners."
  Everyone chuckled.
  "Iskina thinks there might not be such a lucky chance to unite the earthlings peacefully after that."
  "She"s right. But how does that correspond to our interests?"
  "I have pondered about it quite a lot, when I read that section of the report," mused the President. "I have come to a conclusion that strategically speaking, it fully corresponds to our best interests. The main point is that it eliminates any threat of a global war. Besides, as a planetary union it is easier to fight terrorism of any kind. The problem of migration simply ceases to exist. Why would anyone migrate, if it"s peaceful at home and there are resources everywhere? Concerning the execution of the agreement clauses, that"s clear, as well. If any governor starts fooling around and neglecting his part of the deal, the counter measure is simple - shutdown of synthesizers. His own people will quickly put him into his place."
  "Iskina also suggests a certain structure for the planetary government."
  "I have taken a look at it. It"s shrewd, but we"ll have to discuss some details."
  "Planetary union presupposes an abrupt reduction of security agencies and defense industry, which become redundant at this point. There will be an overwhelming inflow of people," noted General Ivanov.
  "There are also retail trade, food products and manufacturing sectors to be taken into account. That is why Iskina makes a conclusion that one shouldn"t be afraid of a lack of human resources. There will be enough people willing to work."
  "The western world would never get rid of its military corporations, cashing in on defense contracts, if not for this irresistible offer of immortality and endless youth."
  "Absolutely. That"s a one-time opportunity!"
  "Iskina suggests that due to the curtailed arms race and army reduction a part of military financing should be invested into education. The state will able to afford itself one teacher per two or three students, and soon enough it will bear its fruit."
  "Smart. We"ll consider it. There is a complex programme of retraining to come."
  "Retraining is not a problem, we"ll manage."
  "Have you noticed that in one of the clauses Iskina suggests she should already start with the genetic mapping of population, since it is a sizeable and slow-paced task? She even offers to finance the process!"
  "She"s sure of the success of such an undertaking, however costly. But how does she have so much money for it?"
  "I suppose, she speculates on stock exchange. With her talents, it would be a child"s play."
  "Of course. Money"s not an issue for her. We need to agree to this clause. Only good can come out of it, anyway. Mister Prime-minister, you have to take the responsibility to prepare population and organize the work with them."
  "I"ll do it."
  "Let"s wrap this up," continued the President. "What do we gain by cooperating with Iskina and transferring to new technologies? First of all, stabilization in its broadest sense. Thanks to an inevitable emergence of a planetary union, any threat of a suicidal global war is neutralized. A total disarmament and disposal of any deadly weapon stock will follow. All humans receive a warranted base package of free food, clothes and housing. This, in its turn, stabilizes social situation in all the countries and cuts short migration flows. Local hotspots will inevitably cool down. Secondly, a whole cluster of deep-rooted social problems will be obliterated - drug addiction, alcoholism, homeless, beggars, etc. Thirdly, after disarmament and unification our civilization will be finally ready for a contact with extraterrestrial civilizations. At least, Iskina predicts this time will come soon. The last but not the least, it seems we"ll be immortal and eternally youthful," the President smiled. "So, those of you who are in their fifties should start remembering how it was - being young."
  Everyone smiled - they were all in their fifties, if not older.
  "Is this technology really feasible?" asked the Minister of the foreign affairs.
  Everybody turned to the President of Science Academy. He shifted in his seat before speaking.
  "The information she shared is phenomenal. It is out of reach for any human genius. At first, I simply didn"t believe my eyes. I have been pondering over it, till it struck me - she is no genius. For her solving such tasks is like solving fifth grade math equations or physic tasks for a PhD. It is admittedly a pale simile. He solves such tasks not because he is a genius, but because he knows by far more than a fifth grader. Iskina knows a billion times more than any of us. In her electronic brain is the heritage of billions of people, who had inhabited the Earth for thousands of years. Then everything falls into place. It still looks phenomenal, though. Scientists, which have been assigned to develop separate concepts, are pestering me with pleas to introduce them to this "genius". I try to diverge by referencing the confidentiality clause. In general, the theoretical base in all the fields of study is all-encompassing. The experiments are under way. Personally, I have no doubt that all our plans will come to fruition. It"s just a question of time. I would even dare to say "not so much time", since all these projects have been prioritized."
  "Well, friends, let us wait for the results from our scientists and prepare ourselves meanwhile. We are lucky to live and work in the time of great changes, interesting time," the President lifted from his seat, making it apparent that the meeting was over. (https://spoonpay.com/goods/4478)
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