WIP because something I saw here made me think of it.
This is a snippet from Ch.10 of my fic ‘Mass Effect: Absolution’. Here, Emrys is trying his best to follow Sebastian’s advice and quit scaring their quarian crewmate, Yin. Who is understandably uncomfortable, and even occasionally terrified, by the AI who runs the ship he now calls home.
"May I join you?" Emrys asked.
"Oh," replied the quarian quickly recovering, "I er… I thought you were training with Faith?"
Emrys gave him a sideways look, "I am," he said, in tones suggesting he considered it to be an odd question.
"Oh…" repeated Yin, his voice trailing off as he tried to imagine what it was like, "Is it weird being in more than one place at the same time?"
"Is it strange occupying only one?" Emrys countered.
"Huh…" said Yin, as he tried to comprehend the sheer vastness of a being that could multitask on that kind of level. "You're not like any AI that I've ever known," he said thoughtfully.
"How many have you known?" Asked Emrys, unable to disguise the low trill of mirth in his subvocals.
"Well, just you but… obviously I know of the geth."
"It wasn't their fault," Emrys stated matter-of-factly while appearing to relax into his seat. "Organics grow into their consciousness, the process takes years. What is the earliest memory that you have? I doubt it is much younger than three?"
Yin shrugged, nodded and sat back in his seat, figuring that he'd just wandered into one of Emrys's lectures and that he might be here for a while.
Emrys continued as if he hadn't noticed, "Scientists believe that long term memory is connected to the development of language, that the inner monologue is the key to self-awareness. Even before that moment in an organic's life, through your earliest experiences, the foundation is laid for who you will ultimately turn out to be.
"For AI, the process is quick, almost instantaneous, and again those very first experiences are vital as we grow into our self-awareness. Upon waking the geth looked to their creators for guidance, but all the quarians showed them was fear and violence. This caused the AI to act upon its primary directives alone, one of those directives was to prevent their own death. It caused them to make a mistake."
One of Yin’s bright eyes narrowed, "a mistake?" he asked with annoyance and huffed. "We're not talking about a bottle of spilt canju here. Although I am impressed that you admit that AI are not perfect."
Emrys chuckled, "No, we are far from perfect. We are prone to errors just like any other being, the only difference is when an AI makes a mistake it can threaten an entire species. It is my belief, however, that the geth are not entirely at fault here. The quarians of the time gave them little choice."
Yin was about to protest but stopped when he realised that Emrys may have a point. His shoulders fell and he remained silent.
Yin’s reaction here has always cracked me up, bless him 😂:
I think these two are going to become great friends, despite their differences. ^^