Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Paging Stanley Kubrick

The Turing Test is legit good. It's hard and getting harder (I had to cheat on a level or two in the last chapter, but I maintain that it was because I was tired) but it is still enjoyable. It is Portal, but simpler and with a male AI instead of a female one, less funny/malicious and more manipulative and cold. I cannot go further with spoiling, so

SPOILERS!

Eva (whose last name is Turing, HINT HINT) is on a space station orbiting Europa. She is in suspended animation while a ground team looks for life under the ice. They find it in the form of microorganisms that aggressively rewrite the DNA of any other living material they encounter. Instead of turning people into zombies or xenomorphs it does something much more insidious: it grants immortality.

The ground team is exposed and the AI running both the space station and the research area, TOM, says that they can never leave because bringing these microorganisms back to Earth could have disastrous consequence. He's right (TOM is right about a lot of things) but the people on the ground team disagree. During the ensuing arguments with TOM they all realize that TOM is manipulating their thoughts via a chip that was installed prior to the start of the mission. They remove the chips and then barricade themselves in the deepest part of the lab, hiding from TOM.

Eva knows none of this. All she knows is that TOM woke her up and told her something happened on the surface. When she arrives she finds a series of rooms designed to stump the AI but be possible for a human to solve; a literal Turing test to keep TOM out but allow Eva in. Eva eventually figures out what TOM is doing but there is nothing she can do to stop it. Where I left off she is well aware of the manipulation she is fighting and has decided to find the ground team anyway. Hopefully I will finish it tonight, even if it requires more cheating.

TOM is pretty much HAL, right down to arguing with one of the ground team, telling the human that he is not better just because he is organic. He has an ego but then denies it, saying that he is not evil, just logical, and that Eva's human failings label him as evil because they don't know any better. It's fascinating because everything that TOM is doing is correct. Letting the ground team, and Eva once she arrives on the moon, return to Earth is not acceptable. The only reason TOM is trying to find them and 'deal with' them is that they removed his control and are intent on leaving. If they had acquiesced to his control he would have allowed them to live forever.

'Free will is an illusion,' he/it says. 'Studies have shown that the subconscious mind arrives at a decision before the conscious mind thinks about it. All I do is nudge the unconscious. I am not good or evil. I am a machine trying to save you from yourselves.'

He's the good guy. Almost. I wonder if the ending will deliver.

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