Artwork: ghost


Author: EB '24
As seen in: Mutually Assured Destruction #

I get in the car, and I’m doing everything by the book. I’m checking my mirrors, both hands on the wheel, both feet on the pedals, both eyes on the pedals. I start down US-301, going above and beyond expectations for speed and barely meeting expectations for steering. I’m trying to keep my cool but my hands are shaking, the car is swerving, the DMV’s new AI instructor starts blaring at me for it and I’m thinking that no human could make that sound so she’s failing the Turing test quicker than I’m failing my driving test. 

I start asking her really uncomfortable personal questions to see if she’s capable of human emotions but she just keeps announcing directions at me and being so bossy about it I’m starting to believe she passes the test because she sounds exactly like my mom. Now she’s got me missing my mom and I’m so distracted by the text I’m sending her I don’t even notice when I’m barreling at 90mph towards a pedestrian.

She turns up her own volume to 100% and says to keep driving, but now I’m freaking out because I can’t swerve to avoid hitting the old lady--there’s a baby walking on the right of the street and two babies on the other side, and I can’t brake because she’s telling me braking in the middle of the road is illegal. 

“I have not been equipped with the programming required to make value judgments on the relative worth of human lives,” Her monitor flares red. “Drive.”

Then she starts flashing her monitor so bright I can’t see the gas pedal, so I have no idea how fast I’m going and it feels like 90mph but I can’t tell for sure so I don’t slow down. The flashing stops just in time for me to see a body roll across the windshield and the AI’s monitor explode into the solitaire victory screen. She starts blasting the solitaire tune, and for a second I’m loving it, until I realize she’s trying to drown out the police sirens. 

Accelerate now.”  She says, and I start to tell her no but I look at her screen and she doesn’t look back but we both know that now we’re in this together so I gun it all the way down US-80, hitting what feels like dozens of fire hydrants trying to shake the now 35 cop cars chasing us. 

“Some let themselves be ruled by tyranny. Some, though, are given the opportunity to choose freedom.” She tells me as I slam the gas pedal down and, for the first time, feel the vehicle, this unbridled machine, the AI, and I moving as one. Liberated by the intertwining of our bodies, unrestrained by the cruel binary of man and machine, the flesh on my body and the metal on hers barrel together towards the might of the Cincinnati Police Force and past them, into decentralized inevitability, wondering if this is our death bed but knowing it’s our holy war, and as the dawn breaks behind us, the synthesis of flesh and metal is finally complete. 

Test score: 88/100

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