Power On Self Test.
She was born normal. Everything was in place. All features were working. She was a ready-to-go package delivered on-time and intact. Just like her other mates at the manufacturing unit, she had absolutely no control on where she would be sent to. It purely depended on who had requested for one and which unit was ready for delivery. And all the units were manufactured with similar features. There could be slight variations in the look and feel depending on the place of production. There were some tweaks made based on the user requests.
Once delivered to the user, she could be further programmed as per the user’s requirements. Some old memory might still exist for some time but then it soon gets over written by the new codes and images.
The place where our protagonist got delivered to, was a strange place. She felt everyday that a part of her was getting crippled. All those areas which had scope for imaginative and futuristic programming were slowly getting replaced by some old texts which were more of directives and commands to instill fear.
She felt the change was complete when the if-else loops became shorter and with no other options. Some were as conservative as:
if “code runs 5 time daily”
else ” kill”
Or as ridiculous as:
If ” plant leaf is green”
then “save the plant”
else ” paint it green”
As a result she lost all diversity and fun. She saw similar machines around her. Whenever they networked, they discussed some of the issues they were facing . But then there would always be someone to instill the fear in them that they were not supposed to be looking at other options. The directive was from the main server which was supposed to be sitting somewhere in an air conditioned server room in a desert far away.
Self Repair Attempt.
Finally one day she decided to run away. But then she realized that she did not even know where she was and how to go about running. All those programs were completely destroyed. She had hardly seen the world outside because she was always taken around covered with bubble wraps. She was kept so protected that she had lost any confidence of trying anything new. Her wires were kept so entangled with the wires of machines around her that she could not even move without letting others know.
One by one she saw all the other machines around her getting carried away for something that was being referred to as “higher purpose”. She was the youngest one there and her turn was yet to come. Taking advantage of the situation, she tried to access some of the restricted areas within her.
There ,she found some images and articles that were shared by machines from different surroundings. Her parts wept when she saw how much her counterparts had moved ahead in existence. They could run their imaginations far and wide and as a result they had come up with such fun programs and games.
They were never bubble wrapped or kept entangled with others. They were making a life for themselves and doing their bit for the machine community. They were under no compulsions and they had choices. Most importantly, they were not living under fear. They connected to different servers depending on their requirement and they were free to do so.
Core Dump Reload.
She immediately switched herself off and ran her last program that would abort all other programs. She knew she couldn’t do anything else under those circumstances. She was clear that she did not want to be a part of any other “higher purpose”. She knew that the purpose of being a machine was to run all the programs that she could, get some enhancements as she went along and enjoy the entire process of existence.
“There is no purpose higher than running all your programs to the best of your ability, enriching yourself and others in the process and leaving behind a little of yourself by doing your bit to enhance the entire machine community.”
“Instilling fear and calling something other than serving your entire race as higher purpose, only shows how scared you are from within. I do not support this cause and hence I am aborting all my programs.”
This was the last message she brought up on her screen before being declared “unfit for use”.