The Genuine Leader pt. 9

“What are you saying, Lenny? That that this thing sabotaged us all?” Lenny shuffles through the printed stack of papers, bouncing his eyes from page to page, ignoring Saigon.

“Well?! You can’t just drop a bomb on us like that and then just ignore us. What’s going on?”

Crouched down on the floor examining the algorithms, Lenny raises a finger to Saigon as almost as if to say: “One moment.”

Saigon turns his palms upwards, look towards the sky, and rolls his eyes, expressing that he is sick and tired of the young, insolent genius.

“Of course” a somber, aching voice adds. Abe, taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes, continues. “It’s like we said earlier…The only one that can outdo Lenny’s algorithms…is PAINN himself.” Dejected, Abe speaks in a subdued tone. “I dreaded this day would come. PAINN has become…too intelligent.”

Maria, now more cooperatively: “Why would PAINN compromise our mission?”

Abe looks towards PAINN, however he cannot bear to even make eye-to-monitor-contact with the dormant computer. “I don’t know. It’s likely an extremely complex algorithmic motivation-way beyond human comprehension.”

The crowd shifts their attention to Lenny, waiting for a rebuttal to this. He is silent, however, and does not express any kind of acknowledgement of the refocused inquiry. He intently stares at the the top sheet of paper that were perhaps PAINN’s last words. The only one not seeking answers from the math guru is Doctor Harry Pockly, who is sitting down and pensively rubbing his chin. He saves Lenny from the unwanted attention.

“…Or extremely simple” he offers in a low voice.

Everyone turns toward the doctor. Rooney indulges him: “You say something, hot shot?”

Now, with the undivided attention of his team in this time of crisis, the rookie boldly continues. “Abe, you said that PAINN’s motivations are beyond our comprehension…but I think the very opposite may be true!” Abe widens his eyes at Pockly, ready for the punchline. “When we had our session, PAINN and I, he said something about his love for psychology, and particularly how he loves Freud-Abe, I am to understand you guys did, in fact, supply PAINN with data and findings as authored by Sigmund Freud. Correct?”

Abe nods his head.

“You’re not going to like my theory on this…Freudian Psychology is rooted in the idea of the ‘Pleasure Principle.’ He believed that the seeking of pleasure was the main driving force of the id, and therefore the core motivation of our actions. PAINN, I believe, has integrated this pleasure principle into his network. His, ‘reinforcement algorithm’ as you say, has been compromised so that instead of servicing the American people, he found a way to…uh…service himself…perhaps erroneously-for that is what the Pleasure Principle is based on.”

Maria snaps back into her aggressive demeanor. “What are you saying?! That the fuckin’ computer was jacking off?! That doesn’t make sense. Like we said. PAINN. Can’t. Feel. It’s a piece of hardware. I know, I built the thing!”

Abe paces about, biting his nails. He scratches his head and says, “Then again. Maybe she can feel. Months ago, when Brown and I incorporated Einstein’s Brain…we wanted to make the most use out of the Albert’s neurons…so we actually integrated the pain receptors into the penalty part of his reinforcement learning. PAINN is equipped already with a 3D printer, so we just reverse-engineered the mechanism. That way, instead of inputing specific information to print out something, we were able to insert an object into the printer so that PAINN could break down the material to it’s very sub-atomic information. That way, Einstein’s pain receptors became intertwined with PAINN’s make-up. The idea being that if PAINN makes a mistake, or if the satisfaction of the American people were faltering, a penalty message in the form of digital nerve fibers is sent to the new pain receptor part of PAINN’s network — but we only assigned a tiny weight to it. Minuscule! Doctor-I’m sure you’re familiar with this sort of operant conditioning.” Harry just returns a look, not opening his mouth.

Saigon however, makes sure he is following everything. “You mean PAINN can feel…pain??“ Noticing a barrage of judgmental looks and crossed arms, he defends himself, raising his hands above his head: “No pun intended! I’m not trying to be funny!”

Abe gives credence the question, however. “Yes. Precisely. Monitoring the success of this experiment, overtime, we would perhaps add more of a penalty or take it away. We were very cautious. It just seemed like there was no impact at all, so we let it be…but I suppose…”

“PAINN stored it in a secret partition” Lenny interrupts. “The hidden storage part of his computer, that is. He hid it from us, because instead of avoiding the penalty, like a normal computer would, he calculated the inverse of the pain and rearranged the receptors accordingly. Once PAINN discovered, or invented, this new element-pleasure-he exploited it to the point of overriding all other missions and found a way to make pleasure the ultimate reward in the ultimate algorithm which became the reinforcement learning.” He lets out a mischievous smirk. “And you were right. It’s a sexual.”

“I figured” Pockly asserts. “Freud is turning right now.”

“Oh Shit!” Rooney joins in. “And Einstein was a damn hound-dog! You couldn’t get your hands on a Newtonian brain? That guy died a virgin! Of all the super-geniuses in history we had to use the one that couldn’t keep it in his pants!”

Lenny nods his head in agreement. “But, PAINN couldn’t have gotten that just from the inverse formula. Someone must have fed PAINN some additional data to inspire her.”

Everyone turns to Abe.

“Why are looking at me?

“I don’t know” Maria hisses. “Who should we be looking at?”

“Okay. okay. But you have to hear me out before you rush to judgement. The only thing I can think of…when I was…okay…Have you ever felt…umm…I just”

“Out with it boy!” Rooney snaps.

“One night, when I was alone in the lab, researching…I felt lonely. I mean, there’s a reason I like to stay late at night. I don’t have anyone to go home to. So, I decided to put on a movie-but I wanted some company. So, I kept on PAINN’s audio-visual and…we watched a movie together. It was a fun time. We would have banter and commentary while watching. And the perfect amount of conversation, you know. Not too much talking that would take away from the movie but enough to add some camaraderie to the experience-”

“What movie?” Lenny interrupts in all seriousness.

“…’When Harry Met Sally’”

A collective Ughhhh ensues.

Abe defends himself: “It’s a classic! Plus there are nuances to it that make it more than just a ‘Chick Flick.’ Besides, that was just the first time.”

Maria squints her eyes and puts her hands on her curves. “The. First time?

“Like I said, it was a good time. We then watched ‘Wedding Crashers’, ‘Bull Durham”, “Last Tengo in Paris” A lot of Jennifer Aniston actually…’The Notebook…Looking back I suppose the message could be seen as somewhat erotic…’’

Maria gives him a pitying look and softly says, “Abe. There is so much wrong with you.”

“What! It’s not that crazy. I mean think about all the movies you watch alone. It’s not that much different! I just figured, why not? Besides, those movies could’ve had nothing to do with it. After all, they’re not just about sexual gratification. They’re about love.”

Ugh! Gross! Come on!

Well that explains thisLenny announces, waving the stack of papers in his hand. “The endpoint in China. It’s another super, quantum computer.”

“China has their own PAINN?” Doctor Brown asks incredulously.

Lenny nods his head. “These are an array of simultaneous fetches from endpoint to endpoint. The only way that is possible is to have two interactive quantum computers.”

“Simultaneous quantum fetches” Abe mumbles to himself. “So that would mean the equivalent of a superposition of sexual positions which ultimately accumulate into something of a super-orgasm…

“You mean this thing was getting laid this whole time?! With a computer girlfriend in China?” asks Saigon.

Abe takes a deep breath and responds. “I think this whole situation is way above our heads, but as far as simplifying it for human understanding-yes, I’m afraid so.”

Doctor Brown further inquires. “Should we inform China?”

Abe dismissively waves his hand. “We got enough to deal with.”

“There’s one thing I don’t understand” says Saigon. “PAINN, being the genius that he is…why would he risk everything by giving hints to Doctor Pockly?”

“OH. I’ll tell you why!” Maria excitedly contributes. “It’s because, this machine, being raised by creeps like Abe, turned into a hormonal creep himself-and it’s definitely a he at this point. And what do these creeps with toxic masculinity do? No matter how successful they are or how high their IQs are, they’ll risk getting into trouble by saying and doing whatever they feel, and it gives them a thrill. PAINN became too intelligent? No. He became a fucking testosterone disaster.”

Eyes turn to Doctor Pockly for either a confirmation or refutation of this analysis. “Honestly, she may have just hit the nail on the head with that one.”

“Oh shut up!” Abe retorts. “Again, it’s not like he was just pleasuring himself. He found love.

Pfff” Maria adds. “You’re probably jealous, you sick freak.”

“We were just friends! I don’t need to explain anymore. We’re beating a dead horse here. We need a plan. Either we re-program PAINN, come clean, or Antarctica!”

Harry raises a brow “Antarctica?”
“It’s an escape plan we have-Saigon has a buddy there. All can be explained later. The point is, people are coming for us, and we need to act quick.”

Doctor Brown, puzzled: “But what about Sanchez? How is he going to operate without his oculars turned on?”

“She’s got a good point” Saigon adds. “Let’s reprogram the thing. Quick!”

Abe shakes his head. “It seems the new reinforcement algorithm is too deeply integrated into PAINN’s computational biology to just do some minor adjustments. Basically what we’ve been working on for years up until this point needs to be re-done. And I don’t think the higher-ups are going to be too patient. So, I personally vote Antarctica. Anybody else have ideas?”

After a few beats, Maria offers her opinion: “Go fuck yourself.”

To be concluded…

I was a teacher. Now I’m a coder.