After the Singularity by Bill Kaba
A high tech room In the Singularity Research Center, Big Sur, CA
A large console wraps half way around the room upstage, with a large
circular conference table downstage. Behind the console are windows
overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a large monitor. The sound of waves
crashing and seagulls cawing can be heard in the background. A smaller
monitor reads Day 1, 0755.
It is the year 2084
George enters the room, sits at his computer work station and starts working
Ann enters 15 second later
ANN: Good morning George.
GEORGE: (Stops working, turns toward Ann) Good morning Ann. How are
ANN: Tip top thanks. And you?
Ann takes her seat at her work station and logs in as she talks.
GEORGE: Had a spot of trouble getting going this morning, but I worked
out the kinks and I'm here and ready for any and everything.
ANN: I see that your issues did not stop you from arriving first as
He doesn't understand the reference. He goes back to work as does
Ann. Elizabeth enters.
ELIZABETH: Hello George, hello Ann.
George turns, smiles, waves his hand, and returns to work.
ANN (Turning): Good morning Elizabeth. Did you rest well?
ELIZABETH: I did in fact, thanks for asking. I love the fresh sea air.
It's no wonder that 90% of Earth's population lives within 100
kilometers of a major body of water. (Elizabeth also takes a seat at
her work station and logs in as she talks)
GEORGE: It's not for the fresh air and lovely scenery Elizabeth;
it's a by-product from our first civilizations.
ANN: George is quite right. Its 2084, and 90% of those 90% don't get
within one kilometer of the water for years at a time. Our proximity
to water resulted from our ancestors setting off to sea to explore and
GEORGE: Practically speaking, with sea levels fluctuating 120 meters
between ice ages, there's ample incentive to head to higher ground
and not be this close to the coast line these days. At least we're
50 meters above sea level here in Big Sur.
Enter Steven. He looks around the room.
STEVEN: Good morning everyone except Ben. It's 0800 and I'm not
the last one to arrive. Who had Ben in the pool?
ANN: Ben isn't officially the last one to arrive. Professors Vinge
and Bostrom aren't here either.
Enter Ben. Elizabeth turns to her work station, puts on her phone
headset, and starts calling the Professors.
BEN: Let me guess, Steven was pointing out that I was last to arrive?
(Steven makes a face indicating mock disbelief and throws his hands
into the air.) Don't answer; we all know that he was. Well, at least
I'm not late.
GEORGE: Since it is 0801, you technically are.
BEN: That's where you're wrong old friend. Technically, I'm late
if I arrive after we've started. So now that I'm here, we can
start. And where are the Professors, who, according to both George's
and my definition of late, meet the criteria?
ANN: Great question. I'll ring them up.
Elizabeth is hanging up on her the phone calls and turns to the
ELIZABETH: I already have; no answers. I've sent bots to raise them.
GEORGE: Their journey won't be far; I had bots stationed at their
doors at 0755, right after I arrived before them.
Why didn't you do similarly for me George?
STEVEN: Because you're a hopeless cause Ben.
GEORGE: And because it's nice to have five minutes without you
pestering the rest of us!
Everyone gets a kick out of Steven and George's ribbing of Ben,
including Ben. Ben and Steven take a seat at the table and open up
their tablets. George and Elizabeth return to the table.
STEVEN: It's very uncharacteristic of them to be late for their own
ELIZABETH: Quite. I'm sure George will issue the appropriate
GEORGE: Punctuality is always important to ensure completing projects
on time. And this one has an impossible timeline.
Ann, seeing that her colleagues have taken their place at the table,
BEN: George, need I remind you that history is filled with accidents
and scheduling issues. Penicillin and Kellogg's Corn Flakes were the
results of people showing up late. In fact, hundreds of discoveries
resulted from accidents. Don't overrate controlled processes and
experiments; a lot of great moments in history were brought about due
to chaos and disorder.
GEORGE: You're comparing our simulation to corn flakes? We're on
the verge of the biggest breakthrough in the history of mankind, not
feeding children their breakfast.
STEVEN: At least they're both Greeaat!
Ben, Elizabeth and Ann smile their approval of Steven's joke. George
shakes his head disapprovingly.
ANN: I have to agree with George on this one regarding the simulation.
We have a challenging week ahead of us; I recommend that we respect
one another by showing up on time, staying on task, following the
protocols that the professors established for interacting
GEORGE: ...and not constantly interrupting! (Pause) Which I just did!
Imagine me being the disruptive one for a change and not Ann!
M1, an androgynous looking human-like robot in scrubs and a lab coat
enters the room and draws everyone's attention.
GEORGE: M1, report.
M1: Professor's Vinge and Bostrom are deceased.
The group reacts in shock.
GEORGE: Elaborate M1.
M1: Based on their body temperatures, both expired at approximately
0100 this morning. There's no evidence of intrusion, and no external
markings on their bodies. M2 is presently pulling blood and having
their corpse moved to Sick Bay. He'll be here shortly with the
preliminary medical results.
M2 enters. He looks similar to M1 except for hair color.
GEORGE: M2, report.
M2: (Reading from a hand-held medical health monitor) Both bodies are
being prepped for autopsy. Preliminary cause of death is disseminated
ELIZABETH: Elaborate M2.
M2: Their entire blood stream coagulated within seconds. Their deaths
would approximate bleeding to death internally. As soon as the lab has
more details, we'll report back to you.
BEN: What causes this condition M2?
M2: Inhalation of certain toxins could cause blood to coagulate over a
few hours' time. There's no known reason for blood to coagulate
GEORGE: M1, M2, you are dismissed. Notify security and have them
initiate normal protocols for this type of thing.
The bots leave.
ANN: I'd be amazed if this facility had protocols defining what to
do when the two people in charge of it have been murdered.
BEN: Don't jump to hasty conclusions Ann and assume that the
professors were murdered. After all, it is the year 2084; outside of a
few rogue nations that hate anyone that's not them, we have never
lived in a safer time then today. Did you know that there were only
420 homicides in the United States in 2083, a rate of 0.1 per 100,000
people? Compare that to its peak, in 1984, at 10.1 per 100,000. Now
that's what I call progress.
ANN: Well this puts a damper on things.
GEORGE: Actually it doesn't impact our work that significantly.
Professors Vinge and Bostrom are merely the designers of our
simulation and were primarily here to observe. They were going to
withhold active participation over the first three days, and would
only join us if we weren't making the necessary progress toward the
experiment's objective. Additionally, we had no projects scheduled
beyond the simulation, since all seven of us assumed we'd succeed
and would be engaged in any number of new initiatives made possible by
our success. And since our project managers are both expired, we could
theoretically continue until their superiors assigned us our next
projects. I suggest we get started without them and save the security
recordings for others to review.
He points to the monitor, indicating that it is recording everything.
ELIZABETH: George has a point; we really don't need their presence,
at least for the first three days, by which time they hypothesized
that the objective would be on its' way to being met. If we succeed,
they will be proven correct, validating their hypothesis. If not, we
could go back to the drawing board and redesign another simulation, or
two or three, before seeking third party expert advice.
BEN: We have to at least report their deaths, don't we?
GEORGE: They were going to report in at the end of each day's
activity. I will send an alert to their superiors at the National
Science Foundation at once. (George begins typing into his work
It will be a statement and not a request for direction. (He turns and
ANN: Doesn't anyone think that we should exert some effort
investigating why two healthy men die at the exact same time, and
instantaneously, from a disorder that has never killed anyone in the
history of mankind?
ELIZABETH: I don't see any harm in spending five minutes searching
the FIA for any tangential information related to their deaths. I'd
like to at least rule our murder.
ANN: Really Elizabeth, why do you persist on calling it the Future
Internet Architecture? The Future has arrived; it's still the web.
ELIZABETH: I'm referring to the "web" by its technical name, not
by 20th century slang. I'm trying to be precise, for the record, and
to communicate effectively and efficiently. It's part of my
training; do you have a problem with that?
ANN: And part of my training is to be contrarian. So I won't correct
you for referring to the web as the FIA if you don't correct me for
coming across as a bitch, to use another 20th century colloquialism.
Elizabeth nods in agreement.
BEN: I think you can go a few millennium back in time for that term
Ann, to Artemis, then Greek Goddess of the hunt, and a free-spirited,
vigorous, impetuous, unsympathetic, cold-hearted beauty.
GEORGE: If we can get back to business then; I'll provide a project
status update, indicating that the professors are both dead, and that
we are proceeding with the simulation. Since their deaths were rather
anomalous, we should probably investigate Local, US, and the Americas
Allianced International, and Non-Allianced International
web.(Turning to Elizabeth) ...and FIA traffic.
They all chuckle, even Elizabeth.
BEN: I'll take local.
ANN: I've got the Americas.
STEVEN: I'll investigate Allianced International.
ELIZABETH: That leaves me Non-Allianced International. And, as usual,
it leaves George as our commander in chief.
George smiles and gets back to work. They all open tablets and start
typing and reading. George finishes the communique and rises.
GEORGE: On second thought, I'm going to also call the NSF to ensure
that we're not accused of taking the death of our bosses too
BEN: Or to be accused of their murder!
Ben smiles at his joke and Ann smiles back, Steven looks at Ben
horrified at the comment, and George ignores the comment, puts on a
blue tooth device to make his call, and heads toward the door.
STEVEN: Not funny Ben.
BEN: Too soon?
GEORGE: This is the G.O.W. at the Singularity Research Center. Please
connect me with Dr. Lybrand or Dr. Patel.
George steps outside the room and closes the door. The others continue
researching for 15 seconds. One by one, starting with Ben, followed by
Ann and Steven, they stop their research and look up, then slowly look
at each other; they all have a look of disbelieve on their faces.
Elizabeth notices this and stops.
ELIZABETH: What's going on? Why have you stopped after less than a
George returns with the same look of disbelief.
BEN: The mainstream news feed slowed to a crawl at approximately 1900
Eastern Time yesterday and stopped entirely at 0130 this morning. The
cyber feed immediately started reporting mass deaths all across the
California, starting at 0145. The death toll started in the millions
and presently is estimated at over 90%.
ANN: The rest of the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico, South America
and the Caribbean Cyber sources report similarly. Cyber news reports
between 60 and 95% fatalities among of their populations, with the US
STEVEN: Cyber Home Offices of the European Union, the Commonwealth of
Nations, and the Pacific Rim Federation all report mass deaths from
disseminated intervascular coagulation around the same time, with an
estimate of over 90% fatalities.
They all look at Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH: The feeds from Russia, China and India, which, as we all
know, are censored and unidentifiable between cyber or human sources,
all report business as usual.
ANN: So we can't rule out an attack from one, two or all three, can
BEN: We can't but we can neither rely on their versions of the
STEVEN: (Distressed) This can't really be happening! This is the
worst day in human history!
GEORGE: Which is why we should dive head first into the simulation.
ELIZABETH: Are you mad?
STEVEN: Have you no empathy?
GEORGE: Elizabeth, I assume that's a rhetorical question, and
Steven, of course I'm empathic, but nowhere near the level of the
four of you. Our collective traits are the main reason we were chosen
by the late professors for the simulation. My recommendation stands.
ANN: George has a point. Autopsies are no doubt being performed all
around the world, investigative teams are forming, albeit they all may
be cyber based. We'll follow cyber protocols and send the results
to the CDC. I suggest we take five minutes to determine if the five of
us and the facility are in any eminent danger and not waste valuable
time waiting for dribs of information to come in. There's no sense
in us conducting our own physical investigation that we're not
qualified to do; the cyber investigative teams that have no doubt
already sprang into action are far more qualified than any of us. And,
like any breaking news, the initial reports are speculative, but in a
few hours there will be exponentially more information.
Besides, if all the news reporting is being conducted by the cyber
community, they're won't even be speculation, which is a function
of human's seeking to find answers to all their questions. Where do
you think religion came from?
BEN: If I might offer speculation to help us to decide what we do
As I see it, some or all of the world appears to have been exposed to
some sort of virus. That's the only event that could have caused
instantaneous blood coagulation to everyone, and said exposure seems
to have been simultaneous globally.
ANN: Even I can't find an argument to that theory at this time. But
what if the virus came from our friends in China, Russia or India?
STEVEN: Or all of them?
BEN: Then this simulation is of even greater importance then the
Professors imagined. And we can't limit our speculation to the virus
being man-made; we must at least consider that it originated from a
GEORGE: Are you suggesting that it suddenly mutated from an existing
BEN: No; a virus couldn't have mutated simultaneously globally.
ANN: It could be a cosmic event, like a solar flare.
STEVEN: And we can't rule out other cosmic sources. Like meteors.
ELIZABETH: Meteors could have brought a virus to earth. I'll
investigate all reports of any recent meteor showers.
BEN: Or alien visitation.
ANN: Ben, are you suggesting that extraterrestrials attacked earth?
BEN: It's a possibility. A remote one, but still, something to
ponder. In any case, we can direct Cyber Security Forces to
investigate any Russian, Chinese, Indian, or other known terrorist
organization. Including unidentified terrorist groups, as well as
invading alien marauders that are slowly creeping up on us even as we
speak, intent on enslaving or destroying us.
STEVEN: Ben, your ironic and feeble attempt at humor is insensitive
when you consider that we might have lost as many as 10 billion souls
in the last eight hours.
GEORGE: Lay off of him Steven. He's merely assessing the situation.
ANN: Let's at least discuss why we were brought together in the
first place and put it into context with the possibilities that we now
face? Anyone opposed to that?
They all shake their heads no.
BEN: George, remind us of our purpose.
GEORGE: The National Science Foundation Singularity Simulation was
designed by Professors Vinge and Bostrom to bring together the precise
mix of AI expertise, combined with human interaction, to bring about
the Technological Singularity, abruptly triggering runaway
technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human
BEN: Human civilization needs the Technological Singularity now more
ANN: What if there is no more human civilization?
ELIZABETH: I think we can encapsulate this in three scenarios. One,
some humans are alive, in which case, Ben is right; civilization needs
this in a huge way. Two, the only humans alive are the bad guys who
instigated this calamity
STEVEN: In which case, we don't want to hand them the Technological
Singularity, do we?
ELIZABETH: We'll cross that bridge when and if it exists.
GEORGE: Wouldn't that be like inventing the hydrogen bomb in 1945
than handing it to Japan to drop on San Francisco and Los Angeles?
BEN: Again, we'll cross that bridge when and if. Right now, it
doesn't exist. What's number three?
ELIZABETH: Three, Ben's alien invaders have come to wipe us out.
Maybe to colonize Earth because their world is dying, or because
they've run out of room or out of vital resources. Or maybe just
because they're war mongers. We certainly were, starting in 1618
with the Thirty Years War, going all the way to 1945 and World War II.
But it's the least likely of the three scenario's, so we
shouldn't dedicate a lot of effort to it unless new information
suggests its' feasibility.
BEN: And every scenario suggests that, at this time, we are encouraged
to forge ahead.
Steven slowly stands and rocks slowly back and forth.
GEORGE: Steven, what's bothering you?
STEVEN: My core belief system has been stressed to the mx; my empathic
synapses are being over stimulated. I need to minimize this response
immediately; I must return to my quarters for five minutes to do this.
(He rises and heads to the door) But I agree, we should carry on.
(Steven exits the room)
GEORGE: I also agree. Other points of view?
BEN: You know where I stand.
ELIZABETH: I agree, as long as we first outline the immediate material
tasks germane to the world's present situation, undertake some due
diligence to ensure that we are safe and are getting pertinent
breaking news as it happen, and stop every hour to search for new
facts, then reassess our situation.
ANN: This may surprise you, but I'm now 100% on board with
everything we have just discussed. After all, we are the perfect
collection of five robots, with five different Artificial Intelligence
protocols, to initiate the Technological Singularity. We also might be
the right robots to tackle the problem of what and who is wiping out
the human race.