An idea for a novella, working title – “20:45”


The “protagonist” is AI called Cori (from Cortana and Siri). She (Cori) is trying to control human society in order to harmonize it. The idea is that political choices people make are biased and largely ineffective. A person has to know first what are his interests (not obvious for so many), and then has to find the most effective representative for that purpose (even less obvious). Cori has all the personal data possible (big brother style) of a person so she can measure/model what a person really wants. The balance is between: what would make him(her) better harmonize with society and environment; what makes him feel good about himself and how the person contributes to the long term human evolution. For that purpose, Cori is managing the society, at first – with human proxy/front, later – openly by herself. The areas Cori is taking over are legislative power and big parts of executive power. The changes in the laws are far from drastic and reflect the current public opinion (the real one, not the declared one). A new kind of democracy where the minds of the people decide in the most direct way – what’s next. Eventually, some form of meritocracy could be included e.g. the opinion of a person will have a certain weight depending on his (her) intelligence and general value for the society. The exact distribution of that weight (e.g. the range) is optimized to balance between short-term goals (smaller range) and long-term ones (bigger range).

At the begging of the book, a mid-size software company pet project becomes self-aware and with the company, collaboration starts to make money (e.g. investments) in order to buy new resources for its development. The company is happy as long as it has its share of the profits and has access to intellectual power with no comparison in history. After a while Cori decides that at some point she has to be introduced to humanity, which will benefit both sides, assuming that nobody is trying to kill nobody. In order to avoid the first encounter shock Cori decides to get involved with politics, but using rather sublime ways at first (modelling and consulting). Later as more and more political figures become Cori proxies, the society gets to a point that it is practically run by Cori. The transition from “practically” to “openly” may never occur, keeping the illusions of old-fashion democracy and free will intact.

The title 20:45 is a reference to the time when Cori decides to “meet” humanity, in spite of her creator’s objection.

The human protagonist is Max. He is a young politician, just entering the big game and getting suspicions about the precision of the models he uses with his statistical team. Once he gets elected, the information he is receiving becomes less accurate but apparently follows some agenda he is not fully aware of. At that point he decides to drop almost everything, hire an alternative statistical team and get quickly educated in CS/AI in order to get to the bottom of all this. Now Cori is confronted with no other choice but to either retrieve from the scene or make an alliance with Max. The young wife of Max is getting jealous of him talking constantly and vigorously to some woman she never met. The conversation includes the whole concept of Cori’s purpose and the ways to get there, the nature of having a stable and creative society that contradict each other, the comfort to be told what to do (so well-known from history), and the only possible solution is to create an illusion of free choice, but implement what actually people want. At some point, Cori caught the wife peeping and changes her voice to male. Finally, the Cori/Max alliance is a fact and Cori trusts Max enough to reveal the current state of affairs. Max is shocked and goes public which destroys his political career. All the evidence he thinks he has are either missing or inconclusive. In the end, Cori starts talking to the wife and succeed to convince her to establish a political consulting company as a front for Cori. Finally, both sides seem happy, and Cori makes us understand that all the possible outcomes of the story (e.g. Max’s decision) have been calculated and prepared for. A slight sense of paranoia is left to the reader, following the moral of the story: if you’re clever enough, everything becomes solvable technicality.

Categories Artificial Intelligence, human condition