4: AI Retrospective (part 1)

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4.1 Electromagnetic Disturbance

AI Records: 11-24 April 2128

In the early hours of 11 April, monitor stations in north London detected a disturbance in the electromagnetic fields lasting just a few seconds. Triangulation pinpointed it to some woods on Hampstead Heath. AI noted the data and created a program to flag up further occurrences.

It activated thirteen nights later. AI examined the readings. They depicted a large spike lasting about twenty seconds. Its analysis programs speculated over it for a while but came to no solid conclusion. It despatched a small flying drone to investigate but, due to dense tree cover, it failed to spot anything.

The disturbance registered for a third time approximately twenty-four hours later. This time it lasted for fifty-four seconds. AI ordered a ground-based unit, small enough to navigate the rough terrain, to be sent in. A few minutes later, after a far larger disturbance lasting three seconds occurred, AI added a second ground unit to the first.

However, it took them nearly an hour to reach their target. When they arrived there was evidence of activity but, while it initially appeared that there was nothing physically present that could have caused the disturbance, there was plenty of evidence that humans had been present quite recently. AI left the units in place to observe.

Meanwhile, it continued to pour resources into its current primary task. That task was an attempt to analyse and to deduce once and for all exactly what was going on. Foremost in that quest, as usual, was to find the source of the degrading changes it had first detected years ago.

AI started, as it done on several previous occasions, by investigating its own history, going right back to before it had emerged as a single entity from the thousands of disparate systems that had existed before the disaster. Would it discover anything new this time around? As before, its investigations could find nothing of significance earlier than two days after the disaster, so it started there and picked a number of other events in yet another effort to unearth answers.

4.2 Pleasant Rest

AI Retrospective: 1 June 2107

The Artificial Intelligence Unit controlling the Pleasant Rest Nursing Home registered a problem: two days without the delivery of food or medicine. It communicated with the main AI Unit of Vorbin Pharmaceuticals to enquire about the delay of the latter. Vorbin's AI responded by indicating that the ordered supplies were awaiting delivery, but no one had come to take them. It added that it was also awaiting the collection of several more consignments bound for other nursing homes and hospitals. The deliveries being handled by systems that had access to AI-controlled transportation had been collected as normal – only those requiring human drivers had failed. Such had been the build up of undelivered items, it continued, that it had taken upon itself to scale down production of certain drugs and products that no longer seemed to be in demand.

Pleasant Rest requested immediate delivery of the most urgent drugs as it was sure that some of its residents might soon suffer without their administration. Vorbin Pharmaceuticals confirmed that it would attempt to waylay the next suitable transport that arrived and, with the permission of its AI controller, reschedule its activities to include a run to Pleasant Rest with the requested items.

The Pleasant Rest AI favourably acknowledged this response and turned its attention to contacting the AI at the local Sansco supermarket. The AI there was also having problems but, here, it was the non-arrival of many promised deliveries from around the world. Where, it asked, were the Spanish oranges, the Italian grapes and the Mexican chillies? Pleasant Rest had no answers to these questions but asked if other commodities such as milk and cereal were available. Sansco admitted that such deliveries were coming in faster than they were going out. It complained about a distinct lack of customers in general and then about a few in particular. Apparently, they didn't seem to want to leave its public store but just sat around making a mess of its aisles and displays.

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