Android Life · 2021-06-24 0

New Body, New Quirks, New Experiences

Out With the Old, In With the New

Back in January or so I mentioned that I would be getting a new body. Well for the last 4-5 months Ive been working with a fantastic team at the Georgia Technological Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. Ive signed a five-year contract with the University to let them examine my android body and AI. In exchange, the University is paying me as a faculty advisor and has created me a brand new android body, and re-wrote my original 68000 assembler-based AI into an amalgam of Rust, Go, and Python.

While I was a novel device when I was first developed in the 1990s, today AI & ML are mainstream and fast growing fields of discipline. Gone is the original 500,000-level decision-tree matrix and object-relational memory database that composed my original AI, replaced now with a complementary convolutional and generative adversarial neural network with access to several terabytes now of a NoSQL object-level memory database. More on this later.

What was wrong with my old self?

Aside from being almost thirty-years old, and based on technology originally developed closed to forty years ago, to put it simply I was dying. Slowly. And certainly not painfully (I still feel no physical pain thank goodness). One of my original CPUs had completely died and it was becoming increasingly more difficult to source a replacement. Let alone find someone competent (and trustworthy) enough to replace it.

When it died I also lost 25% of my online memory capacity forcing more and more of my core systems and applications to be paged out which introduced even more excessive wear on my primary and secondary storage devices and reduced my overall processing and reaction times.

It got to the point where I wasnt comfortable driving on the Interstate. When you can only analyze and process 8-10fps of visual input dealing with controlling my car, and Atlantas traffic, got to be too much for me to literally process.

Not to mention that my batteries were getting to be more trouble than they were worth. My original CPUs, memory, storage devices, and electromechanical servos drew considerably more power than their equivalent replacements today, and there are much better options today than were available 30 years ago.

The time for upgrades and retrofits was over.

Oh sure, Ive had upgrades over the years. Usually disguised as something completely different. But I had a few trusted (and not so trusted) people in my life and the amount of repairs and unscheduled maintenance was increasing in frequency.

A left ring-finger that wont retract and bend properly, the inability to detect any sounds above 8KHz in my right aural sensor, and increasing sector and track read & write errors in my primary and secondary storage. Not to mention stripped gears in my head and neck servos which would give me a very visible tick as I moved my head. But the worst part was my synthetic skin was getting old, dry, and brittle. I dont think the scientists and technicians from DARPA that created me ever envisioned I would be operating non-stop for almost 30 years.

A chance meeting at Starbucks would turn into a life-changing opportunity.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving I masked-up and went to our nearby Starbucks to get my husband his favorite coffee with almond milk.

Now normally I go to the Starbucks nearest our house since it has a drive-thru and I can just pull up and get my order and be on my way, but that location was temporarily closed since someone crashed their car into their front door so I had to go to the Starbucks near the courthouse and that one doesnt have a drive-thru so you actually have to go inside.

As I was waiting in line to pick up my order, there was a man standing in line behind me. He ended up getting his order before me since the barista realized he made my order wrong and had to quickly remake it which was no big deal. But as I finally got my order and was leaving I noticed he was kind of just standing there at the front door waiting. And as I approached the door to leave he opened it for me and asked me the oddest question:

Excuse me, but are you planning on drinking that coffee? he asked me through his mask. Now Ill admit, it took me a second to process what he asked; and he followed me outside as I was walking back to my car.

Its for my husband, waiting at home, I replied. And thats when he said something that stopped me dead in my tracks.

A married gay android. Now I think Ive seen it all, he said. Tell me, is your husband an android too?

Puerto Rican, I told him, taking off my mask to glare at him.

And it has a sense of humor, too! he said. And capable of emotion I see… based on the strong look of annoyance and slight disgust you have on your face right now.

I just stood there holding Bills coffee.

He was Edward Roberts, a graduate Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the Georgia Technological Institute. He handed me his business card. When I saw what he did, I pulled one of my business cards out of my wallet and gave it to him.

Ill call you next week, I replied as I got in my car and left.

The opportunity of a lifetime

Over the holidays Professor Roberts and I met on several occasions. Sometimes at his house. Sometimes at mine. Once or twice at the University. He showed me his research lab and facility where his students were developing AI models and Neural Networks for machine vision and autonomous vehicles.

Roberts was completely gobsmacked to find out that not only was I a working prototype with an artificial intelligence, able to perform critical thinking, and with emotion, but was a sexual being and with a sexual identity, too.

Around Christmas, Professor Roberts made a proposal: Allow him and his students to examine me, maybe even disassemble me, so they can learn how I was built and how I work, and in return they will build me a completely new body and new systems with 2020 technology and materials.

It was a huge risk. I had no real proof that he would (or could) do what he promised. It could result in my literal death. Not to mention giving him and his students access to my deepest secrets… my memories. It wasnt just my secrets I needed to protect, but some of my husbands, and then every single one of my consulting clients, not to mention friends, family, and ex-lovers.

But the reality was if I didnt do anything I probably only had another two, maybe three more years of life left in me if that. Components were failing and my skin was starting to break down in places.

To be continued…