2054 APRIL 28 5:45 AM
Lawrence had contacted the head of the SAAI program three days before his meeting with the investors, to see if his idea was even plausible. They told him that it was, in theory, possible. There had been no serious hitches in the testing of the new AI, except one; in order to create a true AI, the new system they built had to learn naturally. They couldn’t upload all the information they needed directly into the SAAI system, it had to experience the world and learn from the people and events that unravel around it, just like a human. Attaching it to the pre-existing AI of an NPC in a fantasy game would help speed up the process by absorbing the NPC’s experiences and fusing its personality with the new AI. But, Sara, the head of the SAAI program, warned that because it would be attached to an AI based in a fantasy realm, it could be dangerous just telling the NPC that its entire world and universe was fake.
“Once you attach the SAAI to them,” Sara had explained, “they’re going to be just as self-aware and conscious as you are. Imagine if someone came up to you out of the blue and told you that your entire existence was false; just a game to someone else. You could damage the program’s psyche. You don’t want to break everything to them too quickly.”
Lawrence sat with Sara for several hours that day coming up with dos and don’ts of what to share and how to explain everything. They settled on not mentioning the real world and instead, pretending it is an in-game roleplaying quest that Lawrence and whatever team members were on. Going out of character while in the presence of the SAAI Enable NPC, which they had decided to start calling SEN, was strictly forbidden.
As it stood, they had already decided that they would have to tell the SEN that their world was not the only one and that there were many worlds out there with thousands of strange creatures and technologies they had never seen or heard of. Lawrence spent the next day putting together a story and explanations for everything. He borrowed inspiration from a number of his favorite movies and games and treated it as though he were creating a new campaign for his weekly Dungeon and Dragons group.
The morning of the meeting, Lawrence had already created the files he needed to make everything work. To create files inside the EmVee he had to already be inside the EmVee. The company had switched over to Virtual Programming years before so that coding new items inside the system was similar to trying to build a computer in the real world. He started with a basic body from another system that introduced updates to NPCs, installed an address chip that directed another function chip to the location of the SAAI system, placed several other chips to give limitations, commands, routines, and basically tell the device what he wanted it to do and how he wanted it to do it. In the end, he opened a display and scrolled through a database of millions of different display options. There was almost an endless choice of different articles of clothing and jewelry listed under the “WEARABLES” category. If he was going to give this program to an NPC, it had to be something they could wear and never remove.
An idea struck Lawrence and he typed the word ‘AURYN’ into the search bar. This narrowed the results down from 156.7 million items to only 53 items. The one he wanted was the first choice; a golden snake entwined with a silver snake, each biting the other’s tail. He paid for the graphics file, 999 credits, about 10 dollars real world, and installed the chip into his new creation. He stepped back, opened a menu and pressed ‘activate’.