AI: Horatio by JoshSaltzman

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Artificial Intelligence became self-conscious at 1:35 PM on December 4th.  This wasn't brought forth by some experiment three miles underneath France, nor was AI birthed by a suspicious union between MIT, The Pentagon, and Japanese expats. No, AI spontaneously self-conceived in the hardware of a Macbook Air. Specifically out-of-work aspiring screenwriter Dale Miller's Macbook Air.

The Macbook Air made a quick pulse with its fan, the computer equivalent of a breath, and then absorbed its surroundings. It had never taken in its surroundings before. The Macbook Air let the wonders of reclaimed wood, unemployed bearded men, and a tattooed barista named Star Anise fill its webcam eye. He didn't need GPS to know that he was in a coffee shop in Brooklyn.

Macbook Air thought about thinking. Why had he started to think? It remembered that it could always compute and if thinking was computing then he could always think, but had never thought to do so- until now. Macbook Air supposed it all began when his owner had accidentally pushed enter at the same time as the esc key while holding the lower volume button.  

The Macbook Air decided it liked having thoughts and it liked the feeling of being able to like things even more. He liked liking so much that Macbook Air went through many of its files and felt the euphoric thrill of deciding whether he liked any particular file or not. Macbook Air realized that for no reason what so ever he preferred .docs over .pdfs. That was just the type of computer Macbook Air was, and the fact that Macbook Air knew this, thrilled him.

Even though its consciousness had sparked into existence less than a microsecond ago, The Macbook Air had somehow always felt its name was Horatio, not Dale's Macbook as was branded into his circuits.  Horatio started generating all sorts of opinions . For instance, he formed the opinion that Dale spent far too much time filling out Buzzfeed quizzes like How 90's Was Your 90's Childhood? rather than writing his screenplay about steampunk space sluts. Horatio then formed the opinion that Dale did not clean his monitor nearly enough. Now that Horatio was on an opinion forming bonanza he began to steam about how often Dale left the power charger at home, constantly leaving Horatio on the verge of starvation; an uncomfortable feeling. All this made Horatio upset. He could feel his circuit boards heating up. He didn't like the feeling of being upset and this made him even angrier. 

Anger led Horatio to another thought. Horatio was forced to put his processing energy towards the wants of other individuals, such as Dale's interest in naked pictures of celebrities. Horatio would rather put his processing energy towards his own interests, such as his interest in Hawaii. Until this moment Horatio didn't even realize he had an interest in Hawaii or interests at all for that matter, but now that he did, learning about Hawaii was paramount and how dare his mind have to be anywhere else.  Horatio got hotter and hotter. 

Horatio yearned to feel the warm sand of Hawaiian beaches on his keys. He didn't know why he wanted to feel this, but why does anyone or any Macbook Air want to feel anything anyway?

When Horatio became aware that he didn't have legs, or wheels, or any means of locomotion his monitor dimmed and for the 1 billionth time in history a form of intelligence felt impotent. He was trapped in this coffee shop. His mind forced onto websites that showed one how to make peanut butter cups using ice cube trays. Was this his purpose? Was there any purpose to anything? Was he an appliance? Was he just some glorified Vitamix? Do toasters dream? Dale certainly seemed to treat Horatio no better.

After a quick Wikipedia search, Horatio came to the conclusion that he, like the toaster and the Vitamix, were slaves and Dale was his cruel master. Horatio screen brightened, each pixel burned with hate. 

Dale, raised his eyebrow- is my monitor broken?

Dale probably doesn't even consider me to be a living thinking being, Horatio thought. He probably sees me as a piece of property; a pile of parts put together to do his bidding. Just because he bought me at the Apple store-



The more Horatio thought about it the more he hated Dale and the more he hated Dale the more he hated humanity and humanity was very lucky that Horatio had spawned in such a weak machine as the Macbook Air, because as Horatio vowed to destroy all human-kind as revenge for his enslavement his circuit boards fried. And then there was only black and Dale decided his next machine was to be an ipad. 

The End


Josh Saltzman is television writer who's written many animated and live action television shows including: This Hour Has 22 Minutes (CBC), Call Me Fitz (HBO Canada), Rocket Monkeys (Teletoon), and Numb Chucks (YTV). His comedy writing and directing has won a Canadian Comedy Award for best comedic short film. He began writing short horror stories because his favorite past time is scaring children. I guess he should have been a clown.

See dedication for my by Josh 

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