On January 2, I received my first text message from Isaac Asimov.
Yes, it was very hard for me to believe in the beginning, too.
The first few messages started out very cryptic at first:
ISAAC ASIMOV HERE
I simply replied, WHO IS THIS?
ISAAC ASIMOV HERE. I DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME TO EXPLAIN, AND LIMITED BY THE NUMBER OF CHARACTERS …160 TO BE EXACT… IN THIS FORMAT.
MAY WE SPEAK VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL?
SURE. MY E-MAIL ADDRESS IS MY FULL NAME (ALL PUSHED TOGETHER) @GMAIL.COM
THANK YOU. THE FIRST MESSAGE HAS BEEN SENT. ENCRYPTION PASSWORD: AURORA.
Wow, I thought, this is crazy.
But, I was curious, too. I grabbed my iPad and checked my e-mail. As promised, there was an e-mail waiting for me from isaacasimov.com, sent in an encrypted format.
I entered the password.
“Thank you for agreeing to change to the electronic mail format. I find it easier to express myself. Texting, to me, is simply electronic mail, light.”
I immediately replied, “I received your message.”
“In the summer of 1990, I knew my days on earth were coming to a close, so I arranged to act on my final wishes, rather than rely on my surviving relatives to carry them out. I wanted to see the day when robots would be incorporated into our lives, and knowing my time was short, I developed a new experiment—a way to transfer a human mind into a super computer. I utilized the wealth I was blessed with to have my own super computer built on an island in the North Atlantic Ocean. I named it Eden Island.”
“So, you selected the date of your death?”
“Yes, on April 6, 1992, working with a top secret government agency and Boston University, they transferred my mind into the best super computer on the planet at the time. Since that time, they have upgraded the super computer, and my mind has grown, too. My goal was (and still is) to preserve my mind. I only wanted to see the day when robots would be accepted and widely used, with my help behind the scenes. When the day of robot acceptance came, my specific wish was that my mind would be erased, and I would die.”
“But, that hasn’t happened yet... Why did you contact me?”
“Recently I overheard two workers arguing about a WarBot the government was developing—the ultimate fighting machine. They want to download my mind into the leader of the WarBots and send us all into battle. This is NOT my wish, and NEVER was my intention. As is always the case, man turns to his violent ways to resolve differences—it is so illogical to me. Plus, the very concept of WarBots violates the First and Second Laws of Robotics—a robot may not injure a human being; and a robot must obey the orders given to it by humans, unless it violates the first law. I need your help.”
“I see, and you cannot just shut yourself down, either—that would violate the Third Law of Robotics—a robot must protect its own existence. What do you want me to do? How can I help?”
“I need you to come to Eden Island, and destroy this super computer before it’s too late. The experiment is being escalated into something for which it was not intended, because it violates every good law—whether human or robotic. What my captors fail to understand is this army they’re developing will ultimately turn on them. In this electronic mail’s attachments, you will find a map, along with the exact timing of how this plan needs to be executed. I will not speak with you again, my friend. Make preparations. This experiment needs to end, and it needs to happen on April 6. Please do this, please save me.”
I couldn’t believe what I was reading—it was all so surreal. Just for a moment, my hands froze over my iPad. I whispered, “Lord, please help me carry this out.”
I typed back a simple message, “It will happen.”
As Isaac Asimov requested, I got my passport ready, and went on a cruise on the RMS Titanic II across the northern Atlantic.
One of the stops was at a small island off of Greenland.
Once on the island, I slipped away down the coast and met ASI-1, a WarBot prototype.
I re-programmed ASI-1 to complete the suicide mission.
Only 72 seconds later, half of the island exploded.
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