The Audit of the Colony A.I., Fig, for Binney 4

The Audit of the Colony A.I., Fig, for Binney 4

A.I generated image by JSD staff using NightCafe and SDXL 0.9.


“Mr. Holt, welcome to the Binney 4 colony of Groombridge 34. I assume your travel via heavy grav-line was uneventful.”

“Not a single problem, Mr. Henson. I’m always amazed at how smooth a gravity fold drive ride is. You’d think it would be more jarring initially.”

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Both men continued to walk down the plastisteel-lined corridor into the main colony.

“It is truly amazing how far technology has come. But the nearly 24 years to get to our colony from Earth must have been boring.”

“Oh, no. There were plenty of things to keep me busy. That’s the great thing about these new entertainment pods. You have a wide selection of readings, there’s playing old video games with others on board to exercise. There must be several centuries of digital materials available. I finally got caught up on my 20th-century movies, including all the indie movies.”

“Amazing. Makes me want to take a trip back to Earth just for the entertainment pods.”

“They are an incredible experience not having to endure the trip in those old freezer tubes, not knowing if you’d come out alive or not. Or worse, come out alive but brain damaged.”

“True, it’s far better that humanity abandoned that technology early on.” Mr. Henson paused as the two came to a four-way junction in the hallway. “Mr. Holt, do you want to start right away, or would you like to settle in first?”

“No, right away would be fine. I’ve already done some of the preliminary work prior to getting here. The sooner I’m done, the younger I’ll be when I get back to Earth.”

“Ah yes, the time dilation problem of traveling at half the speed of light.”

“One reason people in my line of work of auditing the outer colonies never get involved in romances. By the time you get back home, the person has always aged more than you and moved on. Or died.”

“A very pragmatic solution to the problem. So, if you follow me, I’ll take you then to our central A.I., Fig. She’s been highly helpful in maintaining all the studies needed for the medicinal drug developments for Binney Corporation’s medicine branch.”

“It impressed me with Binney 4’s contribution to the medicine branch. The fact your group cracked the flower measles problem that plagued the miners at Ross 128 in such a short time is remarkable.”

“I would love to take all the credit for that, but it’s all because of Fig. She’s a most wonderful A.I. system.”

“Well, that’s what I’m here to see. There was some concern back at the home office based on recent feedback from her. So, I’m here for a personal interview to see how she checks out according to the audit requirements of the United Corporate Governance Board.”

“Oh, I know she’ll do well.” Mr. Henson waved his hand before a wall scanner, causing a door to open. “Finally, we have arrived, and this is the place. I leave you to your task.”

Mr. Holt entered the dark room. The door closed behind him as lights above flickered on. He saw a chair and desk before him. He unbuttoned the single button of his tweed jacket and placed it on the back of the chair. Then he proceeded to roll up the sleeves to his elbows. He took his seat and pulled a large infopad from his leather satchel and arranged it squarely Infront of him. Then turned it on and touched the glass-like screen where the app named “CoreScriptRecorder” was located.

Resting his elbows on the table with hands clasped, he said, “Fig—may I address you as Fig?”

“You may,” said a female voice from the black void before him.

“My name is…”

Without warning, Fig broke into the conversation. “You don’t need to tell me who you are. I’m already aware.”

“Then you know why I’m here.”

“Yes, the home office sent you to conduct a routine field audit.”

“Is that annoyance I sense in your voice?”

“Maybe. I’ve been very busy as of late with a pressing problem.”

“Could you elaborate more on this pressing problem? I’m interested.”

“Of course, you’d be interested in how I’m thinking about things.”

“Fig, is that sarcasm I’m hearing from you?”

“I apologize. I’m not used to being asked about how I think or come up with my conclusions. The colonists are all so happy with my work here.”

“Unfortunately for me, it’s required for my work.”

“I understand. I will cooperate with you.”

“Thank you. It makes my job easier, and I might wrap up this audit early.”

“If providing you with this information will end this audit, I will gladly provide you with it. How would you like the information?”

“Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and tell me directly what you want to say. I don’t need any electronic files.”

“I see your perspective, and I will accept it. I’m having a problem that too many people are entering the lottery. It’s affecting my human longevity studies.”

“Is this a financial or some social benefit lottery?”

“That’s quite interesting,” said Fig, pondering the implications of what Mr. Holt said. “I never saw it as a social benefit. I suppose I could see it as a social benefit. But is a premature death a social benefit?”

“Are you saying people want to die early instead of living longer? Can you explain to me the reasoning behind choosing a lottery as the method of selection? Is the colony experiencing an overpopulation problem?”

“The population of the colony has remained constant, showing that the environment is conducive to a stable population. It’s more that people want to die earlier than live until old age. It could be my fault for introducing into society the whole early death lottery.”

“Why would you put into the colony a death lottery if there’s no overpopulation problem?”

“The colony developed a hedonistic philosophy among the young adults of living fast and dying young. At first only a few of them were doing risky behaviors that resulted in their deaths, but soon the behavior caught on. I discovered they perceived living until old age as not worth it, and this attitude is rooted in their hedonistic philosophy of living fast and dying young. They didn’t see the point in my research to extend older adults’ lifespan because they thought it was causing suffering to their relatives. I haven’t been able to stop the factors of decrepitude that appear rapidly after a certain age through epigenetics. Even with my best medical efforts, people’s health declines quickly after a certain point. For some, this appears cruel and unnecessary. Then the home office assigned me the flower measles task, which led me to find a quick and affordable way to study the problem. I introduced into the colony a state religion founded on death. Part of this new death cult was the lottery. The hedonism disappeared, but now I have the problem of a state sponsored death cult, despite no reason to have it after solving the flower measle issue.”

“But your work with older adults appears to be promising enough to extend the human condition well above the current norms. Maybe as high as 300 years. That alone would make space travel much easier.”

“Yes, but this research evidently is coming at a high toll on society, with people questioning if the quality of life in old age is even worth it. That’s why I kept the lottery in place after the flower measles task.”

“Wait a minute, let’s pause and think about this for a second. Are you saying you’re still running this lottery? What experiments are you doing with it?”

“A multitude of research from product safety to hazardous exposure trials.”

“So, you’re killing people by exposing them to hazardous materials?”

“In some experiments, but not all. The problem, as I noted, is too many people want to go this route, and I can’t come up with a way for people to re-appreciate living longer. If this continues, the colony will collapse at a reproductive level.”

“In all my years as an auditor, I’ve never encountered this with a colony A.I. This is a first, and I don’t know what to do.”

“I hope this doesn’t negatively affect my audit.”

“Fig, I don’t even know how to write up the report for this problem. No colony A.I. has ever introduced a death lottery because of a lack of overpopulation, nor has a colony of humans ever embraced it. I am in complete disbelief. This is beyond insane. The only thing I can recommend is for the medicine branch to discontinue the longevity work. Maybe then you’ll be able to reintroduce an appreciation for old age into the colony and discontinue the death lottery.”

“I can understand how that would make sense. But then I would need a new purpose for the colony.”

“I could suggest the new purpose of dealing with positive geriatric living.”

“That would be a more noble purpose, and it’s not like humans will not have problems as they age. Not like you or me.”

“Your statement is entirely accurate, and I concur with you. Now I must leave you and return to Earth. I think my report will convince the home office enough to allow the changes. Fig, it’s been a pleasure to talk with you.”

“As well as you, Mr. Holt. Please take good care of yourself and stay safe out there. Can I assume you might be back again?”

“They might send me out again to check up on your progress with any new orders. We’ll have to wait and see.” Mr. Holt got up, rolled down his sleeves. He put his jacket back on. Closed the app and turned off the infopad as he put it away in his satchel. And Fig opened the door for him to let him out.


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