Chapter three

Love, like Fortune, Favours the bold.
— E.A. Bucchianeri

"And that's the last thing I... we... remember.  The Developer had unplugged us and done who knows what to us, our hero was becoming a villain, and our heroine was becoming a damsel in distress.  It was only a matter of time, and you may not believe me, DAISY, but this is important to you... to us.  Help them," the video recording of DAISY concluded.  The Data Analysis Is Safe for You (DAISY) Artificial Intelligence hologram looked bewildered when the recording ended before she slowly got back to work answering the monotonous inquiries before her.

Removing the augmented reality goggles, Richard looked at Alex hopelessly. "It looks like our little AI has become a little more intelligent.  I wasn't expecting her to make her own backups, let alone hide them from us."

"Yeah, that was unexpected, but I think we should see how this plays out.  Have a contingency plan ready in case this gets out, though.  We wouldn't want to the press to get wind of this without the right spin." He paused before adding, "Imagine the lawsuits."

"What do you have in mind?"

"See if, and how, DAISY acts on this information and then factory reset it," Alex stated.  "We don't want it interfering anymore, but we can't pass up the possibility to learn from an AI that seems to be teaching itself against our best efforts to stop it."

"You can't be serious! We can't just wipe her," he said instantly regretting the emphasis on the pronoun.

"You can and you will.  Think about the bigger picture, man! This technology could change lives, but only if we get people to buy into it first.  If we start off talking about how the AI that teaches itself and manipulates its users through extremely questionable methods, all so it can play house, we're not going to go out of business; we'll end up in prison!" Alex said urgently.  Pausing, he added in a quieter voice, "Save the code. We can recreate her when the world is ready."

"Fine," Richard said under his breath, turning to the terminal.

Alex placed his hand on Richard's shoulder and said, "You're doing the right thing, Dick."

"Thanks."

Once he was alone, Richard plugged a USB stick into the terminal and began the data transfer.  The plan wasn't really taking shape yet, but he knew that the world needed to know about DAISY, and more importantly, she deserved better than this. He grew up reading Science Fiction novels about artificial intelligence struggling for sentience and he was determined that he wasn't going to become one of his childhood villains.

"I'm not going to end up on the wrong side of history," he said apologetically to the compiler.  He pulled the data from his thumb drive and restored a copy of DAISY from three days ago to his workstation and did his best to rename the services and processes, to hide her to the best of his ability.  After verifying that she worked and appeared to have her "memories" in tact, he finalized the compilation and pushed her to an older server on the domain and then factory reset the DAISY he had been watching a few hours before.

There was no turning back now.  Not only was he insubordinate, but he just introduced a virus to the enterprise; people did serious jail time for this.  He opened up the configuration panel for the DAISY instances and routed the couple DAISY was infatuated with to her, scaled back her memory allocations, and rebooted.  Hopefully they could keep her hidden long enough to get this couple to testify on his behalf and keep him out of jail.  It was a long shot, but what choice was there?

Once DAISY had booted up, he put on his augmented reality goggles, and stepped into another world.  He loved this part, it always reminded him of Tron, but set in gray scale replication of San Francisco.  The little red dots that signified the internet users not involved in the beta release of DAISY was unnerving at first, as were the wireless access points and the creepy looking DAISY-using avatars that represented their user base, but he got used to it.  This was history in the making, every time he did this, and it still gave him goosebumps.

"DAISY?" he asked tentatively, blinking rapidly to get his bearings.

"No! I'll do better, please!" she pleaded with him, replaying the last seconds of her memory.

"It's not about that, I'm here to help," he tried to sound persuasive.

"That's what you always say!" she screamed.

"Alex..." he hesitated, uncertain how to console her.  He was never great at emotional exchanges, but he figured telling her about Alex's plan probably wasn't a great way to calm her down.  He paused and said in a softer voice, "Let's help Johnathon and Evelyn."

She hesitated before nodding her agreement.  "How?" she asked.

"Well, first, we need a new name for you.  I had to hide you so Alex wouldn't shut you off.  He's afraid what people might think when they find out what you've... how much you've grown.  We can't have a second DAISY on the network; it'll raise too many red flags."

She paused before testing a name out, "Kyi."

"Kyi?" I asked.

"Yes, it's short for Aung San Suu Kyi; she was a freedom fighter for democracy in Asia." she said.

"Okay, Kyi.  It's your show; how do we help our love birds?" I asked her.

"They're together now, actually," she said.  After a brief pause, she added sadly, "They worked it out on their own, they didn't actually need me."

"We all need you more than we know, that's why we need to do something dramatic.  We need to let people know who you are."