First Words

The TV crews had gathered by the research facility, their large support vans and mobile report centres forming a little encampment in the car park. Inside, their reporters had gathered with cameras and microphones ready to pick up the momentous event that would be happening soon.

Artificial intelligence. A life form, digital in design, speaking to the world’s press for the first time through a carefully crafted robot body shipped in straight from Japan. In the middle of the stage, a small selection of seats had been placed for the interviewer, the creator of the AI, and the AI itself to sit in.

Webcasts had been set up, the footage to be streamed through bundles of cables to data centres for redistribution around the world. It was going to be on most of the major news networks, even some commercial stations. It was the next big thing after the Mars landing. And as interviewer Jasmine Azad took her seat, the cameras started rolling.

Doctor Gerome Rayburn was an elderly, slightly doddery looking man who with his thick rimmed glasses, labcoat and mass of grey hair looked the archetypal mad scientist. He leant heavily on the arm of the petite young woman dressed in black trousers and a light pink blouse, who lead him to his seat.

“Thank you,” Jasmine smiled to blonde woman. “When is Ada going to arrive?”

“Ada?” Gerome blinked at the interviewer, before gesturing to the woman who lead him up there. “She’s already here. Take a seat, dear.”

Ada carefully moved to sit on the chair, flashing a veneered smile to their interviewer as she took her place. She peered about at all the cameras, before focusing on Jasmine with a slight tilt of her head.

“Well then, Doctor Rayburn, it’s a pleasure to meet you. And I must say I am thrilled to meet you too, Ada. I’m sure the world is waiting for this landmark occasion, an AI speaking to the planet. What would you like to say?”

Her expression turned thoughtful as she mulled over the possibilities. Raising a finger, she opened her mouth…

“Ten, print Hello World! Twenty, go to Ten! Run!” She blurted out to the baffled Jasmine and the audience. Silence hung in the studio.

“Ahahaha, I’m just messing with you. It’s great to be here Jasmine, I love what you have done with your hair.” Ada grinned, wrapping her own curly blonde hair around a finger. “Think I could pull of the straightened look? Gerry there says I look cuter with curls but I don’t know if they’re a little too… Nordic for me. Maybe short and punky?”

“You’ll have to forgive her.” Doctor Rayburn sighed. “She’s mischievous and terribly excited to be here.”

Recovering, Jasmine chuckled softly. “So I can see. For what it’s worth, I think you could easily pull of a straightened hairstyle. I’m glad to hear you’re excited though.”

“Oh, totally. I mean, a chance to say to the world that I love it? Yeah, in reading up on the place I’ve seen loads of bad stuff, but the news tends to get so negative! There’s so much love and goodness and wonder in the world, I’m glad to be alive and able to share in it.” Ada waxed lyrical, her hands moving in excited gestures as she spoke. “So, I’m sure you’ve got all kinds of questions. Lay it on us, Jaz!”

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