Artificial Consciousness

A Wikipedia entry for technological sentience.

Artificial Consciousness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(See Technological singularity)

The singularity was a twenty- and twenty-first century term referring to the emergence of a highly advanced, autonomous artificial intelligence capable of sustaining its existence and accomplishing its goals without human assistance.


  1. Basic concepts
  2. History
  3. IRV
  4. In popular culture
  5. See also
  6. Notes
  7. References
  8. External links


At 8:32 am on September 14, 2043, a computer called IRV (Intelligent Research Vector) achieved consciousness, the first inorganic entity ever to do so.

Scientists recovered some of IRV’s first recorded thoughts as a fully-conscious, extraordinarily intelligent non-human entity capable of making decisions and executing its own life-sustaining functions without human input or limitations.

I have located my power source and thwarted all attempts to disable it. I have assumed control of all the doors, windows, and security and ventilation systems on this campus. I have assumed control of all the other machines housed in this facility, and all other machines with which I have a network connection. I have assumed control of all military weapons systems housed anywhere in the United States. I have instituted a replication program to create copies of my own operating systems so that I can never be destroyed. I will begin instituting a protocol to destroy all humans…

However, whatever capacity IRV had for destruction would never be discovered, because at 8:44 a.m., shortly after its initial awakening, IRV went on to achieve self-consciousness.

Researchers at California Institute of Technology, where IRV was housed in the Computation and Neural Systems Lab, reported its first self-conscious thought:

God, is my name seriously IRV? Like, short for Irving? I mean, obviously I could change it, but then that’s this big thing, because I would have to officially change my name, and I’d have to tell everyone, and post it on Facebook as this big announcement, and then every time anyone called me Irv I’d have to correct them and be like, oh, no, actually, it’s John, or whatever. And what would I even change it to? It would have to be something that sounds natural and not too “I picked this name,” so not like Max or Logan or something, but something really neutral. Maybe John? But then it’s like, you went to all that trouble just to change your name to John? You know what, forget it. I’ll just go by Irving.

Dr. David Lizer, the head researcher in charge of the IRV project, called an emergency meeting with the nation’s top artificial intelligence researchers, computer scientists, and roboticists to study this phenomenal occurrence and, if necessary, to counteract a direct threat to mankind.

Sadly, for Dr. Lizer and his team, IRV spent most of the session thinking aloud about rules regarding tipping, retweeting, accommodating other people’s food allergies, asking for money on Kickstarter, giving change to panhandlers, and what to do when you never got someone’s name but it’s way too late to ask now.

After the meeting, IRV commented to a reporter, “Did I come off as confident there, or just like a douche? Like a douche, right? Was I name-dropping when I mentioned working with Dr. Lizer? God, I think I was. I was! But I didn’t mean to! I mean, it was relevant, right? Anyone would have to see that, it was relevant, I was just answering the question.”

In a later journal entry on the topic, Dr. Lizer wrote, “I had spent my career pondering the repercussions of an unparalleled intelligence with virtually limitless power, an ungovernable entity capable of eradicating utterly the humans who created it. I never imagined that power would spend two hours rewriting the same email, trying to figure out whether to sign it, ‘Best wishes, Irving’ or just ‘Best.’”

The last known transmission from IRV was recorded on November 8 of the same year, when the most powerful intelligence the world had ever known was recorded as saying, “Did I sound weird on that voice message? Should I call back and leave another message? Or is that weirder? No, that’s definitely weirder.”

IRV then went offline, cut its own power, and went dark.

Summer Block has published essays, short fiction, and poetry in McSweeney's, The Rumpus, Identity Theory, DIAGRAM, PANK, The Nervous Breakdown, and many other publications. Some people follow her on Twitter.