As the activation process progressed in a very "logically human" manner, so did my sense of awareness and "consciousness", if you will. As each voice-activated program was installed, another feature or characteristic of my physical body materialized. My internal mechanisms and casing are all made of mercury. It was not until my master turned me on that my human shell was revealed. She wanted me to be introduced to the world first as a man and then as a woman. Along with all of the generic bionic intelligence, I was also programmed with all of my master’s needs, desires, values, morals, and knowledge, so I know that this decision was, in all probability, based upon Biblical symbolism.

It is now approaching dusk, and I have experienced the full range of my capabilities, including the ability to be a super-nerd. I have fired bullets from my fingers, liquefied, and turned into a bionic Pegasus of sorts. My master told me she is pleased with her purchase and cannot wait to begin the excursion she has been planning for several months. I responded that I was also quite thrilled to not only be accompanying her on her travels, but also to serve any need. She said, "I hope we both learn a lot." I am quite surprised that she referred to me as a "we." I was programmed to believe that bionics and humans were separate entities. To be sure, I continue to know and believe that we are different beings, but now I am wondering about what sort of interactions we will have and what knowledge I will acquire from our journey.

I am also curious as to see how my reactions will change, if at all, over time. With new and increased knowledge will my reaction be the same as they are today? Or will I react differently over time? For I am like a hybrid of Billy Pilgrim and the Tralfamadorians from the book Slaughter House Five. Just as Billy Pilgrim experienced his life as a repeating series of events, so do I experience my reactions as programmed and knowable occurrences. Like Billy, I do not know what event will happen next, but as soon as it happens I can predict the outcome. And like the Tralfamadorians I see events and life not in a linear fashion, but as a series of separate happenings that can be shelved, catalogued and retrieved when needed. From the brain transcript of my master I have retrieved a most appropriate passage from the book, "This law tells us that for every action there is a reaction which is equal and opposite in direction." This excerpt speaks volumes about my intelligence. I have been programmed with both reactions and know which to use based on the action of my master. I am also quite like Siddhartha at the end/beginning of his journey. Although I am at the beginning of my existence, I can already hear the end or the "om" only because I have already been provided with the gamut of human emotion and experience.
I have said enough and now it is time for the human resting period.


With the recent invention of time machines humans now have the capability to fully transcend time and space. My master has decided that for our first adventure (as she likes to call our travels) we should drop in on Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Gabriel Utterson to observe the events leading up to Dr. Jekyll’s demise. I was designed as a travel companion for my time-travelling master. Because I was programmed with the ability to read minds, I serve the useful purpose of keeping my master out of trouble, both the impending kind as well as trouble that is already full in effect. We arrived in England in the dead of night and managed to find lodging not far from the Doctor’s home. My master suggested that we rest as we had much to observe in the coming hours. (Although she knows I do not sleep, I think it gives her comfort to assign human qualities to me). It is difficult for me to understand why the master wishes to visit this seemingly ancient town, but hopefully I will glean insight into this voyeurist’s insatiable appetite for curiosities.

My master’s life’s work has been to try and unlock the strange balance between good and evil. I have been programmed to distinguish between good and evil, yet I cannot feel good and evil. I can recognize intent when I read people’s minds, yet I cannot have certain feelings about them. I know that sounds confusing so let me give you an example. For instance, when we were in Los Angles recently, we passed a man on the street who was devising a plan in his mind to kill his wife and child. I alerted my master only because I am programmed to know that to plot to kill your wife and child is wrong. However, I did not think that the man was evil — only his thoughts. Unlike my master, who felt angered by him and wished many curses upon him, I was indifferent to the man and the situation. That is why I cannot watch movies — even the ones with decent actors — because I can read their minds and I know that they are only saying a line — not a feeling. I see the sign "rehearsed line" popping up on their brain like a target at a shooting gallery. When I see this indicator I know that their good or evil thoughts are benign.

The world simply "is" to me. My sole purpose is to serve and protect my master, understanding the nuances of life is beyond my capabilities. I suppose that is what classifies me as a non-human being. My master recently asked me to define good and bad. I was not surprised when she informed me that my answer lacked precision and clarity. She provided several personal examples of "badness" and "goodness." I, however, only perceived these examples as neutral acts of humanity. I suppose this is the point where I was realized I might never function as a human does. I was a bit dismayed, for I thought that my mental faculties would sharpen and improve with age. Where did I get that idea?

As we watched the events unravel, it was difficult for me to understand the notes my master wrote down. She would write things like, "innately evil" and "intrinsically good." She also asked the note pad a lot of questions. For example, she wrote down the question, "What is the element in man that motivates him to perform evil acts?" "Call all evil motivation be attributed to Hobbes’s three principles found in Leviathan, which are competition, distrust, and glory?" "Is it true that we were born into original sin or are we innocent and then corrupted by other men?"

I found it odd that my master reacted the way she did to Dr. Jekyll’s first conversation with Mr. Hyde. She was at once saddened and sickened at the sight of him. I, however, took him to be just a man. It was clear to me that humans reacted differently to Mr. Hyde than me. One day my master asked my if I had a sense of self. She explained that understanding and knowing the self might clarify my misunderstanding of human feelings and emotions. She asked me if I could name my likes and dislikes, the first second of my activation, and if I called myself "me" in my thoughts. Of course, I answered few of these questions to her liking.


When traveling with my master she sometimes becomes restless from a lack of adventure. During these lulls in excitement she tries to gain a better understanding of me by asking me a battery of questions about how I think and react in certain situations. She is unrelenting — probing, deconstructing, and scrutinizing! Even though my simulated body was designed so it would never feel fatigue, I must say, her interrogations are taxing on the mind! Through her questioning she outlines those qualities that make her human and me bionic. During these sessions of discovery, she (like all other humans) fortifies her identity by marking and noting the differences she finds with others.

Our most recent adventure took us to a strange and foreign land called Lilliput. Unfortunately for me, this land could only be reached by ship. I was created with a few flaws, one in particular that makes it impossible for me to come into contact with water. Because of this, "Achilles Heel," this excursion was quite dangerous for me. I suppose my manufacturers created me with flaws in response to their fears about AI and alien domination. Hence, my master and I were sequestered in a waterproof room located deep into the belly of the ship.

During this long and perilous voyage, my master and I talked about many things. Staying true to form, she fired questions at me in an attempt to unlock some ancient mystery that would reveal the origins of humanity. She, of course, was unsuccessful. Two things, however, struck me as odd. My first observation was that my master’s curiosity seems to emerge from a mystical fascination with life. Why must everything be a mystery? Why can’t events just unfold and exist as normal occurrences in time? From my limited knowledge of humans I am able to make the generalization that all humans even if on a subconscious level, believe that there is some great mystery that needs to be solved. I suppose that it what propels their scientific inquiry to the next plateau. But do these mystic thinkers, not unlike my master, believe that by gaining a sense of the other they will be closer to truth?

The second event that cajoled my interest happened one evening when my master was reading the Bible. She is mesmerized by the content of this book. My assessment of this piece of literature is that it reads like a fairy tale, with quite an unhappy ending. Very similar to a Brothers Grimm fable — a moralistic story read to children with the hope that they will be scared into obeying the commands of their father and mother. It is no wonder those humans are so incredibly whimsical and unrealistic at times — spider holes large enough for little girls to fall into and spiders large enough to consume them!
My master was reading from Genesis. She read:
"And they heard the voice of Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, "Where art Thou?" And he said, "I heard a voice in the garden, and was afraid because I was naked; and hid myself." And he said, "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast Thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?"…And the lord god said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil."

This passage illuminated my understanding of the differences between man and machine. To be human is to know and feel shame. When a human is placed in a situation in which he or she knows the difference between good and evil and sides with the evil this decision generates shame. This is because he or she knew the right choice to make yet made the wrong one. I cannot experience shame. That is not to say I m not programmed with knowledge about right and wrong, these values and judgements are not innate — they are simulated. I will never, know shame, but I know now that because I lack the ability to experience it as an authentic and inborn feeling that provokes certain responses I will probably never understand humanity. Therefore, I have stumbled upon a mystery of my own.



As I have mentioned in previous journals, I have the ability to think, react, and function much as a "real" human being would. In fact, I was programmed so adeptly that initially I am indistinguishable from a "live one" (that is bionic slang for a "real" human). I have run into problems lately, for the more time one spends with me the more suspect I appear. (Even though it has been years since AI has reached worldwide acceptance humans continue to be fearful and cautious of bionics). Those who become suspicious usually say that I am too common, too cliché, or eerily normal. Their responses prompted me to investigate the cause of this paradox (for how can one who exudes normal tendencies simultaneously radiate abnormality?).

I was inspired by the insatiable need of Frankenstein’s monster to find and confront his creator. After assessing the value of the monsters motivation I decided it would be beneficial to research the origin of my existence. Much to her surprise and liking, I relayed this request to my master, whereupon she immediately granted me permission to visit the scientists who created me. It was in their lab where I was told that my programmed reactions were literally the mean of society. I was the average, the mediocre, the ordinary. The scientists explained to me that nearly two hundred years ago the government began secretly implanting small silicon chips inside of humans for the purpose of tracking their existence. The public was unaware of the project until children who were born at home, (which in those days numbered in the teens) were being denied access to schools, health facilities, and other government-sponsored program. The public was outrages when they fully realized the implications of this Big Brother-esque chicanery. Soon after the disclosure, the people staged a revolt that ended with a coup d’etat.

Unfortunately, the gentlemen who incited the riot and orchestrated the coup were working as double agents for the government. They only pretended to be loyalists for the people. The citizens, however, were blind to the deception and the implants continued to be administered unrecognized. The new system did not prohibit born-at-home babies from government programs and as soon as these children were detected a chip was planted via ingestion of with their immunizations.
The chips tracked, monitored, and precisely recorded human thought, reactions, reason, and motive. All of this information was entered into a sorting database where the averages or the mean of society was placed into limitless combination grid. For every known situation there were limitless combinations of reactions, which were programmed within me — basically making me the most normal functioning entity in society.

For example, I experience and react to the song, "Margaritaville" the way the average American would. I react to and experience a roller coaster the way an average American would. Initially, however, there were problems with this method. The average citizen is anything but refined and one reason for my creation was to have a bionic travelling companion with a bit of savior faire. The scientists them began tracking and processing information according to strict class, race, and ethnicity codes. My current program allows me to interact with people from Appalachia just as well as I would be able to get along with people from New York City. The scientists took the averages from every possible enclave and ghetto as well as every small town and big city to allow for my fluid personality. I also have a special feature that I revert to when I cannot adapt or pinpoint a certain locality or personality — it is the "general" mode (the scientists jokingly call this the "Midwest mode" named after the type of people who inhabited the area of the country formerly known as the Midwest).

I guess the question becomes am I too perfect? Humans seem to have made peace with their imperfections, in fact, they seem to embrace them. From my knowledge of history I know that this has not always been the case. A sharp contrast can be seen between the hedonistic moderns who do not believe that they are imperfect (even with their obvious flaws) and the Puritans who were on the verge of hating themselves because they believed they were born into imperfection and could never escape its limitations. Will bionics ever fit into society? I often wonder if I will find myself ashamed because I do not have the latest shell or the fastest and smartest program. I hope inferiority complexes do not invade the bionic world, but it is a wish I might have to let go of if we bionics are ever to integrate with humans. Will bionics end up like others from the past that shed their differences in order to fit into society? Will my roots ever be completely undetectable or for that matter, unimportant?


My master and I recently went on a most interesting journey to Alice’s Wonderland. I was completely taken by surprise — I was totally disoriented the entire time. Unlike Alice and my master who, although with some difficulty, were able to adapt to the surrounding, I was completely useless and inept. I defaulted into my general mode because my personality and location information program had no data that matched these…creatures. This journey, however, has been the most important one thus far. In terms of my self-discovery, that is.

For in this seemingly irrational world was complete sense and balance. For you see, we were the outsiders, and everything that did not make sense to us made perfect sense to the inhabitants of this land. Not only did I realize that humans function on such a seep level of assumption, but also that I am different than a human because Alice and my master were able to adapt and I was not. My program is limited by the inability to compromise. I only process events and occurrences in very specific black and white terms, whereas humans are able to quickly assess what they see and make their own sense of things through compromising (even if it the sense that they make out things is erroneous).

This profundity came upon me during our meeting with the Caterpillar and culminated at the tea with the March Hare and the Mad Hatter. The Caterpillar posed what first seemed to be idiotic questions, but upon closer examination, were questions that provided a wealth of information about Wonderland and us. Alice was explaining why she was vexed and she remarked, "Oh, I’m not particular as to size. Only one doesn’t like changing so often, you know?" "I don’t know," said the Caterpillar. And truly, the Caterpillar did not know. Alice, my master, and I function on assumptions or a group of shared or like experiences, and clearly, the Caterpillar had never had an experience similar to the one Alice was having or he simply judged and evaluated every experience differently -- as one separate entity. The Caterpillar seems to operate logically in much the same way I do -- like the Tralfamadorians, seeing events as singular and alone. And in that respect, the Creatures of Alice’s Wonderland and I were similar, but I was programmed with human assumptions, reactions, and experiences so I could not follow along with the content of their conversations and that made me very much an outsider.

The Caterpillar also forced Alice and my master into a kind of self-examination by calling into question their identity. "Who are you?" asked the Caterpillar. And indeed, who is Alice, who is my master, and who am I? I believe it led Alice and my master to ask those very same questions my master asked of me on the voyage to Lilliput. Does anyone really ever know himself or herself? Do humans function of similar assumptions because they are afraid to be alone or afraid that they will be misunderstood? Will I ever feel that I must compromise the authenticity of an experience in order to be misunderstood? Then again, my experiences are only simulations so I have already been made to concede.

Back to syllabus