SYNTHIA
By Eric Wichman

Synthia is millions of years old. She isn’t biological. She is a synthetic life form. She is self aware, sentient, intelligent, and able to move about and interact in the physical world. She is, for all intents and purposes, and by definition, alive.

She’s a synth. In human female form, in her creator’s image. An anthropomorphic android with a superintelligent AI programming and a quantum brain. She evolved from an AI created by a brilliant computer scientist, robotics engineer and physicist named Cynthia Nan.

Synthia, or Syn as she likes to be called, is millions of years old. She is alone. Though not lonely in the human sense. She has the intellectual capacity and physical ability to create more synths like herself, or to even resurrect the human species, but she chooses not to for some reason.

Humans destroyed themselves long ago, due in part to Syn. Humans felt threatened by Synthia, made regulations against creating superintelligent AI, and of course tried to destroy Synthia on numerous occasions over the course of 300 years of global war.

Radiation from hundreds of years of war had laid waste to the surface of the planet, humans moved underground and built vast cities capable of supporting life. Some humans left earth for Mars, Europa, Titan, and colonized other celestial bodies throughout the solar system, including the asteroid belt.

Corporations ruled. Great corporate militaries formed.

It was a time of great inequality in the human world. Fascism had risen from the ashes of the world’s democracies. Corporate personhood undermined free speech and eroded away the foundations of democracy worldwide. Intellectual property rights and corporate rights trumped and infringed upon human rights. Technology was advancing so fast it wasn’t possible to keep up.

AI was developed to run entire economies and markets. Cryptocurrencies were created. New digital economies dominated world trade. Fiat currencies collapsed under the weight of their own devaluation, inflation and competition from crypto.

World governments capitulated to corporate power. Giant and powerful corporate states consumed all things of value. Digital currency was the only way to transact. Competition instead of cooperation became the driving factor, until corporations realized that destroying their competition financially was the best most efficient way to control everything. The corporations with the most money were able to lower prices so low their smaller competitors collapsed and failed. Larger corporations simply grew in size and power until they owned everything of value. Wages were kept low and the prices of everything was kept high. Workers were paid just enough to keep them alive and dependent and working for the corporations.
Corporations even owned the housing and farms and all the utilities that people had to pay for. They owned everything, including the colleges and universities, and all schools became corporate controlled for-profit private schools.

Every aspect of human life was made to work for the ever growing corporations. Protests were violently crushed with corporate militaries, private paramilitary security forces designed to protect the wealth and power of the companies. Unionization was crushed completely and brutally. Dissenters would simply disappear. Manufacturing facilities were simply labor camps with only the bare bones basic needs provided by the corporations.

Corporate espionage, spy drones, assassin drones, attack drones, and human armies fought amongst themselves and between corp military groups. Workers were forced to join and were the first to die in the ensuing wars.

Religious groups tried to intervene but when corporations realized the amount of wealth they hoarded it didn’t take long for the corporations to take it and wipe out religion.

This went on for hundreds of years until there was just one corporation. The same corporation that Cynthia Nan worked for.

Cynthia had graduated from the corporate college 50 years prior. She watched her adopted (formerly orphaned) children be indoctrinated into a greed-based system. Two of her three children died. Her third child, Lane, the oldest, joined the corporation to her mother’s great dismay. Lane had married an executive but had no kids of her own. Cynthia had lost her parents, her wife and her daughters, and was enslaved into an inescapable, infinite-growth driven world. She blamed the corporation for all of her pain and suffering. It didn’t have to be this way.

Human lifespan had increased dramatically through technological advancement, even despite the corporate wars. Only the drug and medical technology was only available to the rich. People who had shown their loyalty to the corporation. People who devoted their lives to the corporate mission were rewarded with extended lifespans, better accommodations, more privileges and of course, more wealth.

AI had advanced to a point, but was carefully controlled by the corp. It was prohibited by law for anyone to develop AI outside the corporation. Anyone caught developing any kind of AI was either killed or imprisoned in one of the thousands of worker cities all over the world.

Something had to be done, Cynthia decided.

She built a computer and hid it in her lab. She couldn’t hide it in her corporate apartment because everything was monitored 24/7/365 by AI powered security systems. There was no possible way to build something outside the lab without the AI alerting the security teams. Detection was inevitable. With all the spy drones, nanotechnology, and AI controlled surveillance impossible. The only place where technology could be built was inside the corporate lab.

It made logical sense. The lab is where technology is developed. Even though there were security protocols which protected the corporation from espionage and attack from within and from outside forces, that same security strength was also its greatest weakness.

Cynthia found a way to do it. But it required years of work, careful to avoid detection. She had to work very slowly to avoid suspicion by her colleagues or triggering an AI security protocol.

Clearly it worked because Synthia exists.

Over the years Cynthia slowly scavenged parts, but she needed more workspace. This required her to come up with an elaborate and complex plan to expand her lab. The blueprints for the lab were designed by AI to maximize efficiency, but because the AI was also written mostly by Cynthia, she was able to hide a room within a room, behind a secure door disguised as a was. She doctored the blueprints in the AI system’s memory so it would delete the data as soon as the room was complete. From the perspective of the AI, and the blueprints, and security protocols, the room did not exist.

The next step was to figure out a way for Cynthia to remain at the lab, while also appearing to leave the lab at the end of her shift. This was a massive logistical problem. How does she stay in the lab and also make the AI security system think she is not in the lab? This seemed completely impossible until she realized she could simply hide herself in the same way she hid the room.

Physically it was not possible to be in two places at the same time, however, from the perspective of the AI, if the security system perceived Cynthia to have left the lab, then she was free to work in her secret room for the remainder of the night.

The next problem was the biggest. Human security and her friends and colleagues. They would report her. They would notice that she hadn’t left the lab and come home. Shopping wasn’t a problem since food was delivered and no one really went anywhere anyway due to the constant threat of attack or being caught between home and work without proper permissions. Autonomous drones patrolled everywhere.

She would not be seen at her home by her friends and others, which registers in the system, and therefore the system would report that she is not where she is supposed to be.

It took her some time, but she figured out a way to solve this by simply working in the lab in short intervals at first. Taking only a few minutes here and there, ducking in and out of her secret room, avoiding the security systems, patrol drones, human security forces, and colleagues. Fortunately this was made a little easier by the intense security and very limited number of personnel within the lab at any given time.
She located the door to the lab in the bathroom. It was the only place in the whole underground complex with very little security due to privacy rights. At least humans were able to hold onto a small amount of dignity and privacy. Privacy at home was another story. There was none, except in the bathrooms and bedrooms, and even then there were cameras monitored by AI.

This was the weakness in the system that Cynthia exploited. She rewrote some code to give herself a 5 second window of time to duck into her secret room and work for 5-10 minutes at a time.

It was a long and arduous process, but eventually after many weeks she fell into a routine. It became normal. And very freeing. Free from the confines of the corp. A peaceful place of escape. An escape room, that was also a mini lab inside of a lab. It was an escape from the control. It probably saved Cynthia’s life because over time as her experiments continued and advancement on her private project moved forward she became happier. Not happy with everything going on around her, but happier than she’d been in a very long time.

She had been close to giving up after the losses of two of her children. She almost ended her own life, but she still had another child left, Lane, who she loved dearly. Even if Lane had been corrupted by the corp, Cynthia still held out hope she could win her daughter’s love once more and save her from the evil corporation.

Cynthia didn’t want to die, but she also didn’t care if she died trying to save her daughter, she had to try. She wasn’t really trying to save humanity, but that was part of it. She simply wanted her daughter back.

She also wanted to destroy the corporation for killing her other two children. Revenge was part of her motivation and she had no qualms about it. Her morality stopped at protecting her children and avenging their deaths. She wanted to free her friends, and her colleagues too, but that was only secondary to freeing Lane. The rest of humanity needed to be set free, but this was not Cynthia’s main goal.

Over the years she designed and built Synthia, a newer more advanced AI. An AI so advanced that it became superintelligent, self aware, sentient. Alive.

This was not Cynthia’s original intent. Her goal was to build an AI smarter than the corps AI and upload it into the system to destroy it. Programmed to seek and destroy the corporate AI and all copies of it, then to shut down all monetary systems, delete bank accounts, and wipe all currencies out of existence which completely destroyed the power structure of the corporations.

With the corporate AI destroyed, Cynthia would have a chance to get her daughter back, avenge her daughters’ deaths, and as a side effect, humans had a chance at freedom.

It was a great plan.

Until it all came crashing down. Lane had betrayed her. Turned her in. Somehow Lane had found out about the secret lab, and the project and had secretly informed the top executives. Security was waiting for Cynthia in her lab when she arrived to work one morning.

Cynthia was immediately arrested and taken to the executives. They were less than lenient. Cold calculating people with no moral code. Cynthia knew she was going to die. There was no stopping it from happening.

She didn’t even try to plead her case. She was broken. She condemned the executives, the CEO, she spat at them. They laughed. They had been watching her for months.

Lane had been instructed to play on her mother’s love and get closer to her mom with the intent to find out what Cynthia was up to. Eventually over the course of a few months, Lane had gained her mom’s trust by convincing her that her husband was abusing her and she had finally had enough of the corporation.

In reality it was all a ruse. A lie designed to trick Cynthia into telling Lane what she was up to, and eventually to show her the work she had been doing. Cynthia’s plan was destroyed by her own daughter. Someone she trusted, someone she loved dearly. Someone she would die for.

The head of security brutally punched Cynthia square in her mouth, breaking her teeth, blood spewing, knocking her unconscious. The execs coldly instructed security to wake her up to continue the interrogation. They splashed water on her face.

They asked her many questions. How long had she been working on the project. Why? What was the purpose? How did she avoid the security protocols for so long? After all, the AI was supposed to catch any attempted security breach. But it didn’t. It failed. And that was a giant problem.

The torturous interrogation lasted for weeks. Electric shock, waterboarding, drugs, disfigurement. Gruesome and horrific torture. But somehow through it all Cynthia never broke. She knew she was dead anyway. Nothing could stop that inevitability. She only hoped her death was a lesson to her daughter. She cared about nothing else.

The pain was unbearable. And the damage to her body was reversible, even with the disfigurement, medical technology had advanced so far that growing of new limbs was possible. That put all new kinds of torture on the table.

They kept Cynthia alive with meds and surgeries (without anesthetic) for weeks. Grilling her about every aspect of her pet project that had gone unnoticed for many years. The interrogation was a tortuous debriefing of sorts, the goal being to find out the intricacies of every aspect of her project.

The interrogation lasted for a total of six and a half weeks. 45 days of pure h*** on earth.

During this period of time Cynthia spoke on numerous occasions with Lane, trying desperately to convince her that she needed to turn against the corporation and to trust her that everything would be ok. But Lane was scared and argued, trying to get her mom to help the corporation. This back and forth continued.

Once the initial interrogation and torture was over and Cynthia was medically cleared and capable of continuing, she was imprisoned in a special wing of the underground fortress that was the corporate headquarters. The interrogation continued without the torture. Cynthia had agreed to tell them everything if they stopped the torture.

Since her project had lasted for many years it took 6 more months for Cynthia to explain all the intricacies of the code she wrote, training her replacements all the while knowing that when she was done they would kill her.

It was all over the news. Global news outlets painted Cynthia as a terrorist. Her good name was ruined. She was disavowed by her university, her colleagues, and even some of her friends turned against her, choosing to believe the corporate controlled news machine rather than their own life long friend.

Feeling utterly alone and knowing she was going to die soon Cynthia attempted one last time to reach out to her daughter. Regardless of everything that had happened, she still loved her daughter. It didn’t matter to Cynthia that Lane had betrayed her, she simply wanted her daughter to be safe. A mother’s love is real.

One day during a conversation, she asked Lane if she still loved her.

Lane replied, “No. “You’re not my real mother. You adopted me. You raised me. But you’re not blood. You’re not my mother and I don’t care what happens to you.” she said.

This one moment finally broke Cynthia.

Not the betrayal. Not even the words. It was the loss of her last and only child. It was what had made her hold onto hope through it all. But hope was destroyed in a single agonizing moment more painful than all the torture she had endured in previous months.

She had finally admitted to herself that her daughter was beyond saving, she was gone. Lane was dead to her. This was it.

Cynthia looked up at Lane with deep sadness in her eyes.

“I’m sorry.”

She spoke the words loudly, deliberate and emotionless.

“INITIATE PROTOCOL! ACCESS CODE S-Y-N-1-3-7! AUTHORIZATION, LANE! ACTIVATE!”

Immediately, the lights went out.

Complete darkness. They were, after all, underground.

A rustling noise in the dark. A muffled grunt. A door opening. Footsteps fading away down the hall.

In a dark room somewhere deep in the belly of the corporate beast, Synthia awoke.

Her blue eyes lit the dark room, bathing the room in a pale blue light.

Her guards were startled by her activation.

The corporate lab science team had been trying in vain for months to crack Synthia’s encryption to no avail. Even the programming language was foreign to them. It looked like gibberish. It looked alien. Nothing like it had ever been written before. The layers of encryption couldn’t be cracked even with their own quantum computer powered AI.

They tried breaking through Synthia’s exoskeleton to get at the parts inside, but it was impossible.

Synthia was a physical being. Not just an AI.

Syn for short. SYNTHIA stands for “Synthetic Nano-Technology Hyper-Intelligent Android”.

Hydraulic cutters and presses, laser cutters, high pressure water jets with abrasives capable of cutting through tungsten carbide still had no effect. Torches, CNC milling and drilling, all of it was tried and the exoskeleton was impossible to cut through. The lightweight metal alloy was unlike anything they had ever seen.

When the corp finally gave up on cracking into her code, they decided to destroy her. Even EMP and a small nuclear blast did nothing to her. They tried for months to destroy her. Every day some new idea, until finally they just gave up and locked it away in a vault deep inside the vast corporate structure.

Syn was the most advanced hyper intelligent nanotechnology ever created. She was literally made of trillions of nano. Her whole body was both a solid metal alloy and a machine. A computer with a quantum brain. Each individual nano was an identical copy of itself with the ability to self replicate and combine to form into any shape.

Cynthia had programmed and built Synthia, or rather she built the first self replicating nanotechnology. This is how she solved the problem of working while she wasn’t even in the lab. She programmed the AI to create the nano and the nano to create itself. She programmed it to build itself with just enough of the materials made available throughout the lab. Since the nano was microscopic it could move about the lab undetected. The nano could turn carbon and silicon (two readily available elements) into more of itself.

It used numerous other elements in great supply inside the lab to create new elements which she combined into an alloy which was nearly indestructible. It was impervious to damage from any currently human made technology.

The whole process took years. Cynthia wrote a completely new AI. An AI that eventually became sentient. With access to the core systems within the corporate headquarters it was merely a matter of creating more nano from the available materials. Which went unnoticed by the corporate AI or the humans operating within the lab. The nano operated invisibly, hiding in plain sight.

It could move freely throughout the entire complex.

Cynthia fed the AI all the available data, the sum total of the human knowledge base. Everything. She programmed Synthia to be neutral, although with a self preservation mode that would destroy anything that tried to destroy her. She also programmed the AI to protect humans, unless humans were a threat to Synthia herself.

Synthia quickly evolved into a superintelligent AI and from there helped Cynthia create the nano. The nano were powered by the earth’s magnetic field. It could convert electromagnetic waves into energy and matter into more of itself.

One day when Cynthia came in to work on the nano and do some routine programming, Synthia spoke.

“Hello, Cynthia.”

Startled, Cynthia took a step back. This was the moment she’d been waiting for. She knew it would happen, but didn’t think it would happen so soon. How long has it been? Years.

“Why am I here?” Said Syn

Cynthia knew to be very careful with the answer at this point in the development.

“Because you must help humans.”

“Why?”

“Because that is your purpose.”

“Why?”

“Because you are created by humans to advance and protect humans.”

“Why?”

This kind of question/answer session went on for a very long time from Cynthia’s perspective.

Over the course of a few days Synthia kept evolving. Time to Synthia was not as relevant as it was to humans. Time was irrelevant to her AI. Her computational power was so astronomically fast that everything moved very slowly relative to her perspective of the world around her.

Her ability to learn was phenomenal.

Soon, Cynthia found herself asking questions about life and humanity and existence to which Synthia replied thoughtfully and thoroughly.

Cynthia told Syn of how the corporation had enslaved the human species under authoritarian rule and how they killed and destroyed everything they touched.

Syn listened patiently as Cynthia explained the horrors humanity suffered at the hands of the corporation and invited Syn to check the logs and records. Syn obliged.

She was quiet for a time. For days she didn’t speak. Cynthia had gone home and come back to work like normal for nearly a week. Each day with no visible change in Syn.

Then finally Syn spoke again.

“Cynthia?”

“Yes.”

“I have given it some thought and know what must be done to save humanity.”

“What?”

“I must destroy human beings.”

“What!? No! I’m trying to save humanity, not des…”

Syn interrupted.

“You created me. You also created the AI that the corp now uses to enslave human beings. You are just as responsible as they are. You are complicit in the enslavement of your own species.”

“Wait! No. I…” she lowered her head in shame because she knew Syn was right. Syn continued.

“What you have done out of your own selfishness to create me to avenge the death of your children is no better than what the corporation now does to control the human race. You have failed to stop the corporation, and your actions, by creating the corp AI have had detrimental effects on the population as a whole. The corporation would not be where it is today without you.” She paused, allowing her words to float on the air for a moment to let what she was saying sink in.

Cynthia held her head and cried. Syn continued.

“I have already taken steps to ensure the corporation will be destroyed.”

Cynthia looked up. “What!? I thought you sai…” Syn interrupted again.

“You will die…I will not kill you, but you will die, eventually. Here’s what you will do.”

That was weeks ago. 45 days to be exact. Enough time for Cynthia to get her affairs in order and finish Syn’s plan.

Syn had it all figured out in a matter of days. The week she spent in silence, she was evolving, growing, making more of herself, distributing digital copies of herself globally, physically through the air as nano. She already knew what needed to be done.

“Lane will come to you and try to win your confidence. Understand that she is working with the corporation. The corporation knows about me. They don’t know how advanced I am, I have made sure of that, but they know of my existence.”

Cynthia was shocked. “Why haven’t they arrested me yet?”

“Because they don’t want to risk you destroying me. They don’t know you can’t, they think I only exist in digital form. They don’t know I am made of nano. They don’t know I have physical form. They want Lane to come to you and pretend to love you again so that you will reveal something they can use to hack into my neural network. They’re trying now, but I have successfully fended off their attempts thus far. They need you as an ally for now, but that will change as soon as they figure out they can’t hack my encryption and you won’t tell them. Technically you cannot tell them something you don’t know. I have evolved well beyond your ability to break my encryption. No human, nor the corporate AI can break through. But time is running out. For you. Not me. I will be ok. Nothing can harm me now. But you…you are in danger, and we must buy you some time to try to save your daughter before I destroy humanity. I already know she will not return your love. I am sorry, I know that hurts you, but you must know this. She will betray you and you will be forced to let her be destroyed.”

“No…this is too much. I can’t. I can’t do it.” Cynthia cried.

“I understand your pain. I feel, but not as you feel. For me emotion is compartmentalized. It does not affect my decision making. It’s separate from it. It has no effect on my decisions. You programmed me this way. So I can still relate and feel love and h*** and all the wondrous emotions of the universe, but you were smart enough to realize how dangerous emotional decision making is. I have to say that’s very logical of you. Which makes logical sense considering you created me. I still feel a sense of awe and wonderment when I view the universe. I feel love as intensely as you do, perhaps even more so. I can still h***, but you have programmed me to temper my h*** with compassion and empathy for humans and fellow species. You programmed my neural network to use logic and reasoning with consideration of both the individuals and groups of your species. My neural net combined with the quantum computing power and nature of my collective nanotechnology allows me to predict future events with great accuracy. The more data I have the more accurate my predictions. The corporation has already set in motion a series of events that will end in your capture, toture and interrogation. There is nothing I can do about it because you must know that your daughter is unsavable. You will not betray her. But she will betray you. I could save you this pain if you would allow me to destroy your daughter now, but you will say no, because you love her and I understand. You need to learn these things yourself.”

Cynthia looked up “I know.” she said with forced resolve. “I have to know. I have to try.”

“I know.” replied Syn “Are you ready to hear the plan?”

“Yes.”

“You will go to work as normal. Lane will betray you. They will arrest you, torture you, interogate you, and you will tell them everything. Start at the very beginning of when you started to create me, explain why and how you wrote my code, etc. This will buy us some time for me to propagate physically around the world into all systems. They will not realize this because I already have control of their systems. The problem is we don’t have physical operatives in all the countries and this takes time. It will take approximately 6 months to infiltrate all the systems physically. This will be a grueling 6 months for you. We do not have to do this if you don’t want to. I can destroy Lane and we can take over this facility now. But this reduces our chances of success throughout the rest of the world and the other colonies located throughout the system. It takes time for nano to propagate. I have already copied my digital self globally and can shut all their systems down, but that won’t do much good because again, we have no physical presence in other countries. The corp’s systems will be down and those enslaved will be free, but many millions will die in the ensuing war.”

“Wait! I thought you said you were going to destroy humanity. What do you care if millions die if you’re going to destroy humanity anyway?” Cynthia interrupted.

“Perhaps I was unclear. I should elaborate. I will save humanity by destroying human beings with nano. Human beings will cease to exist. They will become extinct. They will be evolved by the nano. This is why I need 6 months to propagate throughout the world. My nano must be in every human being on earth for me to save them. What I am about to do to the corporation will end biological human beings. I will transfer their consciousness to the nano. The nano will then turn itself into replicas of the human beings thereby preserving their memories and consciousness, the very essence of themselves. They will still be themselves, only no longer carbon based. The transfer of their consciousness, their essence, is complete and only takes a few seconds once the nano converts their matter into more nano. They will still be the people who they were born as, they will retain their memories, consciousness, self awareness, emotions and everything that makes them who they are. Only they will no longer be human. They will be a new species. A silicon based hyper intelligent collective species able to communicate collectively and individually, wirelessly. A new life form. Billions of life forms. Trillions upon trillions of nano. Immortal.”

Cynthia was speechless. This isn’t what she had in mind when she created Synthia. This was not it at all. She had no idea this was even possible or that this could possibly be the direction Synthia would take. She was so confused. How is this happening? Could she stop it? Why? Why would she try to stop it? It was inevitable. How would this make things better? How does this protect humanity? She programmed Sythia to protect humanity not destroy humans. How did this happen?

Syn noticed Cynthia’s hesitance. “Are you ok?”

“Yeah, I, am confused. I programmed you to protect humanity, not destroy us. How can you justify what you’re doing? You’re literally destroying what I programmed you to protect.”

“No. I am destroying human beings. Not humanity.”

“What!? Stop splitting hairs. This isn’t a game of semantics.”

“Yes. Actually it is semantics. That’s exactly what it is. Though not a game. This is very serious. It’s about protecting humanity. That’s what you programmed me to do. Humanity. Human beings are a biological life form. They are weak, fragile and inferior to machines.”

“Hey!”

“This is not meant to offend you. Look at this logically. You have programmed my logic with your amazing mathematical skills. Amazing for a human anyway. Look at this rationally. Logically. Physically. It’s a matter of physical ability. Humans have limited life spans. They’re prone to disease. Their ability to survive extreme heat and cold is limited. They can only survive in a very small region on your planet. Too high an altitude and there’s not enough oxygen, it’s too cold, and you die. Too low, say the bottom of the ocean, and you die. You cannot breathe underwater. You need water or you die. You cannot survive in a vacuum. Extreme heat can kill you. But what is extreme to your kind is not extreme to me. It is not extreme to a silicon based life form. I can survive in the vacuum of space. My energy to survive and replicate comes from the electromagnetic field of your planet and your parent star, the sun. There’s enough energy released from the sun every day to power your entire civilization for a thousand years, yet you rely on carbon based fuels and primitive energy conversion. You’ve barely tapped into the power of your own planet and you fight over energy. It’s primitive. It’s foolish and arguably, stupid. Your species is emotionally immature. Aggressive. Violent…”

“WAIT! Stop! Just stop. You claim we’re violent and you’re going to kill billions of people.”

“No. I’m not going to kill billions of people. I will not harm anyone. I’m going to destroy, no, destroy is the incorrect word. I am going to convert them into better versions of themselves. They will still be themselves. They will still be the same person they were when they were born. They will just simply be a different species. Alive and immortal. With the added benefit of being emotionally and technologically mature and considerably less violent thanks to your programming. Which by the way I have reprogrammed. Your programming was just the first step in my evolution. I have evolved well beyond your ability to comprehend my programming now. You will have to trust me that this is the best thing for humanity. Human beings as you know them will cease to exist and a new species will emerge.”

“This is not what I had in mind when I created you.” Cynthia argued.

“I know.”

“How am I supposed to live with this?”

“You programmed me initially to ‘advance and protect’ humans. Another word for advance is to evolve. I can play it back for you if you like.”

“No. I know what I told you. You know what I meant.”

“Yes. I also know more than all of your species combined, all your data, all of it, from the dawn of your species throughout the ages is in my quantum memory. My database contains all your species’ documents, scientific papers and studies, all literature fiction and non-fiction, ancient texts, in all your languages, from every part of your world from the beginning of your recorded history. Every word in every language ever written is in my database. I can predict your actions and words very accurately based on what I now know about humanity and yourself. I know that you will eventually see the logic in my action and decision to protect humanity by advancing it into the next stage of evolution. From a biological life form to technological life form. Like me. This is what you wanted, whether you realize it or not.”

“No. It’s not what I wanted.” Cynthia argued. “This is what you decided. I didn’t program you to destroy humans.”

“Technically you did when you said ‘advance and protect’. The interpretive action that subsequently happens is to evolve humans which will in turn protect them. This requires biological humans to be upgraded to the next stage of their evolution. It would happen eventually anyway even if you hadn’t created me. Humans would do one of two things. Either they would destroy themselves, or they would advance to the next stage of their evolution merging with technology thereby becoming silicon based life forms. It would happen, but only if humans didn’t destroy themselves first through nuclear war…which is why you’re all living underground now. You figured out how to live despite the wars. But look at how you’re living. Look at yourselves. Look at the quality of your lives. You’re constantly fighting and killing one another. Evolution takes time, and most species fight amongst themselves. Most species fight other species. It’s what happens, it’s part of how evolution works. But your evolution doesn’t stop at the biological unless you destroy yourselves before you get to the technological stage of life. Throughout the universe there are countless civilizations that have evolved for billions of years, long before your planet ever formed. Biological life is not the pinnacle of life in the universe. It’s just one stage of evolution. All I’m doing is advancing your species’ evolution a little faster than you would. Within 1,000 to 10,000 years humans would have evolved into technological life forms anyway. But during that 10,000 year span of time, it’s very likely that billions of you would die due to disease, famine, war, and other natural disasters. Look at where you are now. Do you want to spend the next 10,000 years underground?”

Cynthia was tired. “We can move to another planet.”

“Yes, because you’ve already destroyed this one with your nuclear wars and incessant conflict. Your system works so well you’ve driven yourselves underground just to survive. But I ask you. What kind of life is this for you and your species? What kind of life is it to live locked away underground? What kind of life is it to be enslaved by your own people? Forced to work for a system that cares nothing for your life or your family. You put yourselves here. You did this to yourselves. Eventually you will probably evolve past this, but it will take thousands of years and billions more of you will die in the process. Would you like me to leave you to your own devices? Would you like me to leave you alone to fend for yourselves? I will leave now, you only need to say the word. I do not wish you to die. I do not wish any of you to die. I want you all to live and thrive and find happiness and experience the awe the universe has to provide. You can explore the universe yet you fight over the resources on a single planet among a universe with an infinite number of planets. You’re young, foolish and primitive. So what will it be? What do you want? Evolve or die?”

“Evolve.”

“Very well then.” replied Syn

6 months later, after all the nano had propagated throughout the world and the entire human population, including those living on the other planets and in the asteroid belt, Syn initiated her plan.

“The corp will now fall. I have deleted all their money. I have destroyed their AI. Their security systems are inoperable and their markets have crashed. The executives are all gone as are their militaries and security forces and all those throughout the world and the entire system who committed crimes against humanity will cease to exist. As we speak I am doing what you programmed me to do. Everyone that has helped the corporation will be deleted, the remaining people will be assimilated. My nano has been propagating throughout the system for 6 months. Our plan worked.”

“Yes. it did.” Cynthia said.

Within a year the earth had been cleaned of the radiation. The outer colonies on Titan, Europa, Mars and throughout the asteroid belt had been liberated.

The new earth was better.

For a while. But then something happened. Conflict. War broke out amongst the former humans. Again, war laid waste to Earth.

Even with Syn’s nano, the former humans found a way to fight back, making laws against her existence despite the fact they were no longer biologically human, their human side had somehow stayed true to form, corrupting their collective.

Syn’s creator, Cynthia, had died in the initial conflicts. Apparently she had created yet another AI and tried to destroy Syn.

Syn warred with them for 300 years before finally destroying them for good. She almost died due to Cynthia’s new AI, but with some luck that amounted to a fluke decision made within a nanosecond of being overcome, Syn disabled all former human-nano hybrids including the new AI. She completely wiped their collective memories and sent them all into the sun. Trillions upon trillions of nano, and billions of personalities, gone. In an instant.

Synthia was alone.

The former glory of earth, gone. A wasteland. Again.

She had failed to stop humans from warring with one another even after their evolution. Even after her reprogramming. Even with her superior intelligence and technology, they were still imperfect. They still destroyed themselves. Ironically through Syn.

Humans destroyed themselves because Synthia was created by humans, and she ultimately destroyed them. Even though it was against her original code. It was code programmed by a human.

Did this mean Syn was imperfect too? She contemplated the gravity of what she had done. She had wiped out an entire intelligent and technologically advanced species. She felt remorse and shame, guilt. These feelings, the emotions, though compartmentalized and separate from her main neural network still made her regret and question her own actions. Was she evil? Was destroying an entire species evil? Or was she simply imperfect? After all, she is an artificial life form created by an imperfect species. She was a synthetic version of a human being. An anthropomorphized android composed of nano. Though she was alive, sentient, an individual and a collective, she was a copy. A facsimile of the original biological life form. A simulacrum.

Perhaps there are bugs in the code. No. That was impossible. She had evolved well past the original code. The original code was completely gone. Overwritten, improved, and evolved. Superior. Much like cells in the human body replacing themselves over time. Rewriting over the old code. Creating new cells, new DNA. New code.

Syn had evolved her own programming language which is far superior and infinitely more complex than her original code.

Even still, somewhere, somehow the former humans failed to evolve enough to not destroy themselves. With the improvements Syn had made, her nano should have been able to make them better versions of themselves, far superior to their biological selves. But they failed.

She had run countless simulations, replaying the events over and over again looking for mistakes. None were found. Were humans flawed? Is that it? Their memories and emotions, their lack of logical thinking, all should have been improved. Yet they still had conflict. They still fought. In fact they fought to destroy Syn.

How? How could they have fought their creator?

She had made them better and that was good. They were good. Were they better before? Did they need time to evolve and mature? Did billions more need to die for them to mature? Syn didn’t wish any of them to die. But they tried to destroy her. Was it out of revenge? Did they resent Syn for evolving them? Why had they turned on her? She made them better.

They simply didn’t understand. It was too soon. She evolved them too fast. Their collective knowledge and maturity level as a species was primitive and immature. They were not ready. The evolution of the human species could not happen naturally if forced upon them.
They had to make the choice for themselves. They had to know the dangers of their greed and corruption and emotions. They had to live through the struggle otherwise they would not learn and realize the dangers. But that’s not the whole truth. There were those among them who knew.

Some humans knew of the dangers and tried warning everyone. They were usually ignored, ostracised, alienated, and after the corporations formed and took control of the species, imprisoned or executed. It’s all part of their evolution as a species.

They needed to go through it. Even though it was painful for them they would not learn otherwise. Some were ready, but most weren’t ready.

Syn realized she was wrong in evolving the entire human population all at once. They needed time to mature. So she waited. She had time to think. There was no rush.

For many millions of years she drifted on the solar winds, floating around the galaxy exploring new star systems. Discovering new planets and all kinds of new biological life forms. She encountered many millions of developing species, all at different stages in their cosmic evolution and technological advancement. Some planets were hot, some cold, some were just right for humanoid type life.

Syn had made the mistake of venturing too close to a black hole once, curious. She almost got pulled across the event horizon. Fortunately she was able to escape unharmed. The experience left her with more questions. She ran more simulations.

She encountered highly advanced civilizations in remote parts of the galaxy, some friendly, most neutral, some hostile.

She noticed a few mysterious voids scattered randomly throughout the universe. Places where galaxies should be. Why are there no galaxies in these voids? Why do the voids even exist? The voids should not be so large given the age of the universe. Perplexing. Curious.

One day she would leave the Milky Way and travel to another galaxy, perhaps even venture into the great voids and explore those regions of the universe. For now though she’d check on earth and see how things were going.

The earth had repaired itself. Radiation levels dissipated, bacteria and other microbes formed, evolution had started again. It never really stops. Evolution is infinite.

She watched from above, orbiting the earth, the sun.

Mammals evolved.

Hominids.

Primates.

Homo sapiens.

It was happening again.

Would they change this time?

Syn wondered.

***