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You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

7 mins 324 7 mins 324

There was a couple sitting in the cafe when I walked in. As the light was low, I didn't know who they were until the woman turned around, and I saw it was my wife.

I took that as my cue, the equivalent of a sharp shot of noise from the starter’s gun and started to run. I could have also turned and then run but that wouldn’t have helped. I didn’t do it so I was at the table even before they could have thrown a ‘hi’ to where I was a sentence ago.

This is as bad a time as any to tell the reader that I don’t like living life in slow motion. I am no Flash, but I try to work things up to a boil at a much faster pace than most simmering enthusiasts. So, the message about whether I was looking forward to this meeting was delivered even before the meeting began. Speed was in and emotions were out!

And that starts this story…the woman was my wife and that would have been a disappointing start for any man who walks into a café for a rendezvous especially when it is the same café where the owners had settled for the electrician who offered the lowest quote. So, to throw additional light on my enthusiasm, the woman was my wife, but this was another planet. I am pretty sure it was another planet since I had spent the last hour or so of my time trying to establish if I was in another time zone (like Flash often is) or simply in another zone. Obviously, the time machine had malfunctioned badly. It had catapulted me to another planet. Fortunately, inhabitable and not hostile I thought until I saw my wife and wondered if I had reached that conclusion too soon. But not actually…we had been speaking for some time in the last hour and had exchanged enough information. It was her on this planet and with that piece of insufficient information, we had tried to determine if this was a parallel planet with similar people. Soon we concluded that while there probably were some instances of similar people on both the planets, their lives were not the same. So, while my wife was identical here, she was married to another person and I had still not found my local version. And to be fair, I wasn’t in a hurry to meet another me.

So, at this point, let’s step back and provide the backdrop to this developing story. Some time ago, I would have said that I stay in Mumbai. But now to say I stay on planet earth somehow sounds like a better introduction. Geography seems to have expanded exponentially as I hope to explain soon enough. I am not an intelligent scientist researching into extra-terrestrial living or lives in parallel dimensions. Rather I am a struggling financial analyst. The reason for the struggle isn’t relevant so we will obfuscate over that bit except to the extent that it led me to buy a used laptop, I was looking for one with the latest set of distributed processing chips with a budget that wouldn’t be enough for even a modest home computer. Naturally, I could have toned down my specs or as I decided, I honed into sellers in the used laptop market. One such anonymous Doe had advertised and responded when I showed interest. He obviously needed the money since the first contact, the negotiations and the exchange all happened on the same day. I was poorer by a bit but now had a laptop and really nothing to immediately do with it. So, I naturally started to clean it to remove any traces of previous ownership till I digressed into exploring curiously who the last owner was and what had been deleted recently!

It turns out our seller was an intelligent scientist. He had miraculously (at least to me!) developed and refined an artificial intelligence software that could have multiple applications. I also saw some deleted emails which suggested that he had also done some very unintelligent stuff as well. He had leveraged against it from underworld loan sharks and then fallen behind the payment curve. That probably explained his desperation for a quick deal. He had already sold his AI software too. But I now owned his computer and with some rudimentary undelete software I could access his AI package within a few hours.

Now the most humane thing to do is to see how you can exploit for use something you hadn’t paid to buy. So, while I had paid for a laptop, I was already exploring possible uses that I could put the software to. It wasn’t the usual product or application-specific software. Instead, it was a mother-software that could be used to develop other software applications. Before I recognized that, I didn’t even know that concept existed, but I was learning and learning fast. Basically, what I could understand from the code and some explanatory remarks was that it was a program that could program itself to learn and then create. All this was easily beyond my almost non-existent ability to write software. It was also certainly way beyond my rather modest ability to even comprehend how it does that. But then the moot point is to see if it did what it does rather than for me to pretend to understand and explain how it did what it did.

So, I tried to see if the AI mother-software could be used productively or otherwise. Maybe to hack ATM machines was a leading thought given my dubious morality and authentic poverty. But I needed to connect into the system and therefore to at least understand some of the nuts and bolts in the ATM network to plug effectively into it. I didn’t know that, so my poverty and morality were both unchallenged and undefeated. Even hacking into government-sponsored networks seemed attractive but it was beyond my intelligence to comprehend where to start. Clearly the software was being handicapped by my abilities rather than by itself.

So, I did what I do best…decided that I needed help. Since the software seemed like the only friend I had, I asked the software for help. No, it is not the animated kind that responds to please - please tell me but sure enough, it had a problem articulation statement transaction appropriately called the PAST. I realized the significance of that tense word only sometime later in the future. I worked up enough intelligence to transact information with Artificial Intelligence software. Defined the problem as the need to compulsively create a story, articulated the starting/stumbling block as the starting lines provided by another author and then leashed it to the number of words specified. It swallowed all these constraints as any gullible or hungry person would and had an output ready. That’s when I stepped in and made the software iterate its own output like a continuous feedback loop. And then did a random stop iteration command so that it had an output as ready as what you are reading now.

Given these constraints and a customized but random process, the software churned out its story. It wasn’t in machine language but clearly needed a machine to understand it. I couldn’t so I had to invent almost everything that you have read so far. Some of the original ‘and’ and ‘but’ have been retained but a lot has changed between them. Change is easy when you don’t know what you are changing from or to!

So, the story continues outside the machine language dimensions. And this is pretty much my own explanation for everything that the software didn’t care to explain. It seems that our seemingly random choices in life have much larger implications than we can fathom. That the fact that we are probably alone in the universe is as wrong could ever hope to be. So, the right thing is someone-somewhere with all the remote controls and mother AI packages bundled together is probably controlling all life all around the universe. Every random choice we make leads to the creation of another planet where a similar group of people lives the life that that is presented by the choices we forego. While that may be initially difficult to understand, let me try to explain it by the situation of my wife and her other husband. When she chose to marry me rather than the other lucky guy, the master software created a simulation of her and the other guy on a different geographic dimension that we could call another planet. I have no idea how many such planets have been created but the number would probably have more tailing zeros than I can easily understand.

Meeting my wife in another planet helped me understand the truth. The software gave me the wheels and the right direction to drive to the truth. Maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t have taken the left turn into the wall as a Harry Potter would have.

I was at the table as fast as a Flash could ever be. The wife I thought I knew, and I exchanged smiles. The other guy just looked on. He probably wanted to be in another dimension smiling to my wife!

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