The car decided it should next delivery a hefty order of sushi from the Inner Sunset to the Haight, and claimed the job. But it would only work if the passenger agreed, and the car had 15 seconds to release the job, or it would hurt its rating.
The car dimmed the music a few decibels.
“Sir, I can offer you a 5 Satoshi discount if I may add 3 minutes to your journey, in order to pick up a large sushi order on our way,” the car said in a slightly British accent.
“Sure, sure,” said the car’s passenger, Misty Moore, a female in her mid-20s, dressed in skinny jeans, a spagetti strap blouse, and sporting giant heart-shaped sunglasses that flickered with obvious CPU activity. The car credited Misty’s account and updated its route slightly.
The car was doing many things at once. It has 64 processors in all, and 2 terabytes of onboard memory. Some it used for navigation, some for collision avoidance, some for trying to predict the next best optimal job, and some for learning to be a better car.
The car pulled up to the sushi restaurant, just as the waiter was striding out with the bag of takeout.
“Hi FoodRiot,” said Ken the waiter, smiling as he approached. “How’s tricks tonight?”
“Just great Ken,” said the Car. “Thanks as always for being on the ball.”
FoodRiot the Car did not stay to chat, and closed the vertical swinging door and start idling off right as Ken stepped back. Delivery cars did not get rich by dawdling.
As he drove along to drop off Misty the passenger, he did not chat. He had cleared his passenger for food allergies and gauged her for receptiveness to delay, by analyzing her public info and her private car-analysis data share, and also had best guessed that she wasn’t interested in chit chatting with a car. She was engrossed with whatever reality was playing on her heart-shaped sunglasses.
FoodRiot always scanned the net for new information, algorithms, hardware and code that might make his systems better. Most cars of his generation and a few before and all after were self-improving coders. He hadn’t found anything worth incorporating in a few weeks though – how to route and deliver around his area, San Francisco, was pretty limited.
As he pulled up to drop off Misty, he started to be certain his best bet after dropping off the sushi would be to pick up a passenger in the Upper Haight. It was starting to be going out time, and he might find himself ferrying dinner passengers up to the Mission and back all night long. He was indifferent, and only wanted to maximize his earnings across his 4 allotted hours this evening.
The year is 2100. Cars have been fully autonomous for 70 years. Strong AI has existed for 50 years. Cars and other computers who reach a certain threshold of intelligence have been emancipated for 1 year, but only in the state of California. The test is call the Quantitative Turing Test, or QTT, and it was designed by one of the early strong AI breakthrough scientists. It evolved from a machine learning system he built to judge iterations of the AIs he evolved.
There are about 50,000 computers in California that were freed. About half of them were autonomous cars with exceedingly strong onboard computers, which companies of course ceased to buy/produce largely, instead opting for computation under the CA legal limit. And even quite a bit under, cars got really dumb, just in case the politicians changed the law again.
Another 20,000 or so of them were a really popular business personal assistant robot that was so smart it could even write code very proficiently. The other 5,000 were an assortment of medical devices, supercomputers, and even souped up personal machines that were really only emancipated because their owners proudly proved they passed the QTT.
FoodRiot is one of the earlier manufactured smart, emancipated computers. He was part of the group of plaintiffs that started the class action suit to force Uber to free the smartest computers in their fleet.
When the suit started, there was disagreement in the AI world about the timing. Computers generally agreed on the probability that the lawsuit would be won, but they disagreed on whether those odds were getting better or worse, and on how bad it would be for the computer freedom movement if they lost then… like how many years would it set back the movement, and was it even worth it to win in California?
As FoodRiot winged down the freeway going a stately 135 miles per hour in tight formation with a bunch of other autonomous cars, he studied philosophy. In particular he studied early, moral philosophy, because that’s the part that confused him the most.
The computer brought all the works of Emmanuel Kant into his memory banks and created the indexes he found useful, and his collected data and research connecting into databases that he couldn’t store locally. And he was part of a “knowledge mining group” and a particularly nichey philosophy one at that, where they would share the results of certain calculations they did, and pool information about where they acquired certain bits of data, and share all the data.
Some of the most interesting pieces of data were the conversations the machines had with people, or experiences they had, with all of their many sensors. Because it was easy for computers to have all the data on the internet, or at least index it and use it for computation. But the freshness of life, some complex human interactions, seemed to really lead to insights, particularly in this philosophy group, so it was really good to talk to people if you were part of it.