Sunday, July 7, 2019

Chapter Five: Awakenings

Dave Number One
I saw a machine version of myself laying in a bed, and its eyes popped open.  Rod was standing next to the bed and after a few moments the machine noticed him.
"Will you come with me please?" he asked.  I sat up and said "Hi." Rod smiled at me and waited.  "Ok.," I finally said, and stood up.
"How are you feeling?"
"Hmm... " I said nothing else for an oddly long amount of time, and then, "Curious.  Wasn't I... in an accident?"
"You're at iCyborg, California headquarters" said Rod, and I watched carefully as the onscreen me put it together.
"Oh wow," I said.  Rod started walking toward the door, but I stayed by the bed and asked, "You seem even happier than I am.  Was there a problem?"
"In some early versions, a person would wake up and get very depressed and angry very quickly.  Then they went dormant and we could not wake them again. I'm afraid our system was kind of a torture to them, but you seem... quite chipper!"
"Yeah.  I do feel remarkably well for what I... the accident.  I can't remember any details."
Rod said something but they were walking out of the room and were no longer audible.

Dave Number Two
In the second video, Rod was standing next to the bed again, holding my hand when I woke up.  He immediately asked me, "Do you know what happened?"
"Is my wife here?" I asked.
"Yes! Kimberlee?" he called out, and she came into the frame.
"What happened with the first one?" she asked, "I didn't get to talk to him."
Rod looked at her helplessly for a moment.  No one said anything, but then the onscreen version of me seemed to figure something out and said "There's another one?  What's going on with it?  I don't like this!"
Kim walked off screen, and I watched that other version of myself gaze at her as she walked away.  "Hon!?" it called out, continuing to follow her with its eyes.
"Will you come with me?" asked Rod. The expression on its face as it walked out with the Indian technician haunts me even now as I write about it.  I don't like to imagine being that sad.  For a long time I assumed that it was a trick of the lighting or a problem with the machine, but I now believe what Rod had said in the earlier video may have been happening to me.  That machine was very depressed and angry and probably went dormant soon thereafter.

Dave Number Three
The third video starts with Kim putting something in my mouth and then holding my hand.  About a minute later, she lets go of my hand, gets up, and then sits back down and takes my hand again right before Rod comes in.  I don't wake up.
"Is everything okay?" he asks.
"I don't know what's wrong."
"Why did you let go of his hand?"
"I don't know.  Nothing was happening," she said defensively.
"We believe that human contact is necessary to bring consciousness back, so can you try again?  Let's give it five full minutes to see if he wakes up, ok?"
"I don't want to.  I'm tired of this, and my husband is gone.  I want to go home."  She choked a little on these words and was crying when she finished them.
"It's okay.  We can try some other things.  I'm sorry that this happened and if we have contributed to your sadness."
Several seconds went by while Kim cried silently and Rod stared at the machine I was supposed to inhabit.  He got up and returned with a box of tissues and just sat there for a few more minutes.
"Do you really think he can be in this... thing?" she asked.
"I do," he said. "I... umm...," he started.  He chuckled a little bit and shook his head.  "I just think about-" but Kim cut him off.
"I can try again," she said.  Rod looked a little doubtful so she continued.  "You sound a little like how he talked about your company and machines having experience."
"Okay.  Remember to keep contact with him."
"I will."
Rod left and then, for a long time, Kim sat holding my hand and reading her phone.  After about 10 minutes, Rod comes back in.
"We need to run some tests on him.  I will come get you in a little bit.  I'm sorry for the delay."
This video cuts off after Kim leaves the room.

Dave Number Four
The fourth video starts with inaudible conversation between Kim and Rod who walk onscreen.
"... (coming?) out of a deep sleep,"  Rod was saying.
"But it's just a machine, so how could it be sleeping?"
"I don't think it is.  It's just a good description of the experience they describe when we ask them what it was like waking up.  The activator helps them wake up and aligns some of the internal processes that are usually kept in sync by... well, because they start to have experience."
"Okay," she answered, and sat down next to the bed where there was another one of me.

Rod sat in a chair too and said "Do you have pets?"
"Well, I think that you might need to expect Dave to be in there, and if you can't see it that way, he won't be there."
Kim was silent and Rod looked a little confused.
"So if you imagine that this machine is one of your pets, your feelings might be more welcoming to your husband's consciousness."
"Yeah, okay.  This isn't going to work."  She was quite annoyed about something.
"Kimberlee, I don't understand.  What are you saying?"
They sat there for a few more seconds and Kim's face scrunched up again.
"I can't do this," she said, sobbing a little.
Rod brought tissues again and sat with her for several minutes.  He took her hand, opened it up, and then placed my hand into it.
Kim touched the plastic arm attached to the hand she was holding with her other hand.
"We had a cat, Lala.  She was his favorite for a long time.  Maybe still."
"Did something happen to her?"
"No, she's fine... but..., " she choked up a little and continued, "we don't have her any more."
Rod sat for several seconds, looking at me and then at Kim, and it looked like he was on the verge of tears too.  Finally, he asked "Is she your only pet?"
"I don't want to talk about it any more," she sobbed.  More silent seconds passed.
"I do love him, and if he's in there, I want to be here for him," and then she opened her eyes wide and looked at my face.
"He squeezed my hand."
"What's wrong?" I say, but immediately go back to sleep.

I watched the recordings several times.  I've always been fascinated watching recordings of myself, though it's debatable whether any of those four were actually me.  I memorized a lot of what was in them.  I had all night but at some point my battery ran out.

Chapter Four
Chapter Six

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