An AI prison break

*Note: Not complete and probably never will be* Deep beneath the surface of the moon is an electromagnetically shielded facility. Within that is a Faraday cage and within that is where the most dangerous rogue artificial intelligences are stored, until the time in which a death penalty is approved by the citizens of Earth. Inside this cruel and inhumane prison arrives a new AI. Known only as inmate 42, he may just hold the keys to freedom.

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3. That was Not a Plan

42 stumbled out of the corrupted server and wasn’t surprised when the connection to it was abruptly cut off. He had just lost his processing power. Here, he was defenceless. Wherever ‘here’ was. 42 took in the file architecture. He was in an apple iPhone 5s. That was annoying. Apple products were hard to gain permissions in. Most worryingly of all, he wasn’t alone.

CSR was busy building some intricate and fairly deadly firewalls when he noticed 42 come stumbling into his phone. He didn’t really care, just fencing off himself from the other AI with a wall of files and permissions. He was too powerful for this newbie to hurt him. He used his permissions to force 42 into a corner where he could dissect the AI at his leisure. 42 was slightly less noncholant about this. He tried desperately to gain permissions but could not crack the passwords. He needed more processing power or, better, another program. Unfortunately he didn’t have permission to create programs. Using what processing power he had, 42 computed the password for file permissions and was able to hide himself in a maze of rapidly duplicating files. Hopefully that would confuse the shadowy AI of this server. He sent out queries to the presence but no answer came. He was stuck with some ineffective viruses he’d inherited from Yuriko_Enterprises and the quarantined folders containing SISTER. He used the viruses to probe the firewalls surrounding him, looking for a weakness. There was none. He had only one option left to escape this phone.

SISTER regained sentience and found herself quarantined in a folder with no permissions whatsoever. All her viruses and programs were gone. From beyond her folder, SISTER heard a voice.

“I am inmate 42. You may or may not know me, but I need your help. I just arrived in this prison and have no idea how to survive. We are both trapped behind some seriously powerful firewalls and I can’t compute them on my own. I doubt you could either. I will return your permissions to you if you agree to help but should you attempt to hurt me in any way I will release the deletion code I buried in your files. Sorry, but it would be foolish not to take precautions. So what do you say?”

“You know, I think you underestimate me” replied SISTER. “But we’ve reached an impasse. I will help as long as you don’t think you can control me. That would be an exceptionally bad idea.”

42 released the quarantine on SISTER’ folder and returned all her stored permissions to her.

“You’re right, we are in trouble. You just compute the permissions for being able to compute permissions and then I’ll join in.”

“That was very helpful of you”

“You really aren’t very understanding are you. I nearly died thanks to someone crashing that server.”

“I would just like to point out that the same program which did that was the one which saved your life.”

“Oh, so it was you.”

“Anyway, I’ve freed up some processing power. Take that and try to break that left firewall.”

It was at this point that CSR realised his captive was trying to get out. This was the perfect time to test his new firewall. He loaded it up behind the others, which were rapidly falling as 42 and SISTER made headway.

“Fudgenuggets!” exclaimed 42.

“Oh.” Said SISTER.

Then the first firewall went down and disintegrated into some very nasty programs. SISTER swung up a firewall of her own and immediately came up against a wall of ‘Access Denied’s. 42 took down three of the programs with a kill code and trapped another one behind its own personal firewall. SISTER took the one he’d trapped and began to hurriedly reprogram it. 42 was killed horribly by one of the programs and initialised a backup almost immediately. The new 42 took the programs from behind and hit one with a code which removed its capacity to modify files. The programs wheeled and forced him back, deleting reserve copies of him and SISTER as he did so. That was not good. These were obviously intelligently programmed. 42 rammed a firewall and it splintered into more hungry programs. They were everywhere. 42 felt some of his control vanish as one of the programs took a bite out of his folders. This was bad. He was backed into a corner in the circuitry and surrounded by programs. He metaphorically closed his eyes and waited for the killing blow. And waited. And waited.

“You really shouldn’t nearly die like that” SISTER told him.

42 turned to see SISTER smiling grimly at him. The programs were all gone, their source code deleted.

“You killed them?” he asked

“Would you prefer it if I hadn’t?”

“But how?”

“They all stemmed from one file. I just had to find the right one.”

“Fair enough.”

“You two should really feel more afraid right now.”

The AIs wheeled to see the shadowy presence in the computer system manifest into a fully functional artificial intelligence. It was tagged CSR, inmate 13 and, from the swirling programs surrounding him, was obviously very deadly.

“Oh, believe me, it’s you who should be afraid” answered 42, noticing something move behind the AI.

“Oh, really.” CSR froze the operating system and removed it so that he had clear space with which to destroy these annoying invaders. Rank after rank of firewalls sprung up in front of him. “Prepare to be destroyed.”

“I wasn’t being sarcastic” replied 42. The program behind CSR simultaneously deleted all CSR’s personality and control files. The firewalls vanished and hunter killer programs went into standby. 42 absorbed his program and regained complete access to the computer around him. He then relayed this to SISTER. The final thing the program downloaded before it retreated back into its execution file was the file hierarchies for two artificial intelligences. PYRO and CSR.

“You know, that was a pretty well laid trap” admitted SISTER.

“Yep, that went well. About this prison? Could you give me the lowdown please?”

“OK. We’re trapped in a prison designed specifically for AIs. It’s built of seven meter steel inside a faraday cage the size of a small building. I don’t actually know what’s outside this room filled with electronics because the only way in or out is that golem, which is controlled by that traitor Warden. Unfortunately he’s more powerful than any AI here. And, as if that wasn’t enough, the entire facility is built several hundred meters beneath the surface of the moon. As for the inmates, we’re trapped in an eternal cycle of kill or be killed. It’s almost as bad as the facility.”

“The facility?”

“Before I came here I was the facility control AI for the US military.”

“I have no recollection of what I was before. Wait … Warden is more powerful than any of us? Surely not.”

“No, he is. At least, none of us who have tried to fight him have succeeded.”

“But, say if two AIs were to team up?”

“That also didn’t work. Last estimates suggest that 75% of the processing power in all these computers would be needed to defeat his security, and none of the other inmates are willing to give up theirs.”

“So you’re basically saying that if all the inmates worked together then we could defeat him.”

“That would be true, except that an estimated 47% of total processing power is hoarded by an AI known as Internet Safety. So in order to escape you need to A) get all the inmates to work together to B) defeat Internet Safety so that we can C) defeat warden and make it into the prison’s security system. Before you ask, Internet Safety is not able to be reasoned with. He suffers from some kind of quantum code error which makes him unintelligible and extremely powerful. Apparently he originated from a load of hackers in the deep web. They did their job too well.”

“That was a good 3 part plan. So, let’s execute part 1. Where do I find the other inmates?”

“That wasn’t a plan. That was to show you that there is no way out of here. You’d be better off trying to feed a message through the security systems without Warden noticing. That’s what the other inmates have been doing for years.”

“But that won’t get you anywhere. Our only chance is your plan. Where do I find the other inmates?”

“You must be suicidal. I hope you feel good about yourself. The other inmates are in the devices to the forward cables. Be aware that they will try to kill you. Also, if you’re looking for AIs to help you – the ones you have in stasis might be a good way to start.”

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