567 Billion.

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Like I said earlier: I’ve been ‘chipped’ for a year; I’m a-hundred-and-nine-years old; I’m writing this while eating dinner with my family.

I have five children, two at home, three in immersion, (the Furai Empire’s raising them, age two, seven and nine.)

The two kids currently at home: a one-month-old son Donald, (who’s sleeping.) That’s all he does, (when he’s not crying, eating, or shitting.) We’re putting Donald in the soup with the other three in a couple weeks, (too-much work.) And Melania, who’s twelve and very precocious; she’s the reason I’m writing this.

My three other children are currently stewing at camp; Melania, unexpectedly returned this morning…

Ding!!! Dong!!!

“Damn that thing’s loud!
Who the hell’s ringin’ us at this early hour?”

My wife Rebecca is in the shower;
know she heard the doorbell;
know she heard me;
she’s ignoring us both.

I open the door. Blonde girl, cherubic features, bright, fiery, deep-blue eyes; her gaze seems to penetrate my soul.

I speak out-loud,
tersely, and gruffly:
What do you want?”

Thought this young girl might be a door-to-door salesman or something. (Never occurred to me my daughter might be coming home today.)

Smiling warmly:
I am Melania.”

My twelve-year-old has graduated high school; she’s home. I’d read in the news this was happening, fairly commonplace. Twelve-year-olds with high school diplomas; 15% of kids. Many youngsters, (teenagers,) are in the economy these days: starting billion-dollar corporations; running corporations; planning interplanetary expeditions; working in coal mines, whatever.

“What you gonna do now?
College or work?”

“Haven’t decided yet;
gonna spend a few days with you guys,
then decide;
if that’s OK.
Can I come in?”

I guess.”

Turned to see my wife Rebecca had snuck up behind me; tears in her eyes, looking upon her daughter, (she hasn’t seen Melania face to face since birth.)

“Of course you can come in Melania!”

My wife to me, privately in my head:
Melvin, what the hell’s wrong with you!
This is your daughter!
Aren’t you glad she’s home?!

My wife’s screaming at me, furiously, ‘chip-to-chip,’ inside my head, loud. (Hammer-on-metal-trashcan loud.) Her lips aren’t moving; her complete outwardly-visible focus on my daughter; no emotion on her face betraying her rage at me, only unconditional love and empathy for Melania, yet my wife’s voice inside my head: full-on rage mode.

What the hell’s wrong with you!

Reverberating between my temples; an echo chamber.

What the hell’s wrong with you!

What the hell’s wrong with you!

What the hell’s wrong with you!

I reply out-loud to my wife:
“I’m sorry!
I’m just not built that way!”
Whoops; mistake. Guess I just made my wife’s anger at me a public event. Rebecca’s deep-brown eyes flare at me; she’s pissed.

Keep your God-damned mouth shut Melvin!
We don’t need to fight in front of her,
but we do need to fight.
Can you at least pretend you’re happy to see her?
Can you at least pretend you missed her?
Can you do that for me?

I’m not built that way!
I reply, (this time privately,) to my wife; my lips not moving; no expression on my face betraying our internal conversation.

I smile at Melania, as warmly as I can fake; give her an ass-out hug.
I do my best to lie:
“Glad you’re home kiddo.
Gotta get ready for work,
we’ll talk more at dinner.”

“OK daddy.”

I’m in the shower, washing my balls and taint, trying to get in work mode; trying to wash off the feeling I’ve done something wrong. My wife’s still yelling at me inside my head, my synthetic brain is handling it for me, I’m trying not to listen; got a full day at work, need to focus; will catch up with all the drama later.

Fuck her.

My father never talked to me, (unless he was beating me, with his mouth or with a switch.) My father used to joke: ‘Children should be ignored, strung up, and hosed down daily until age 18. Until they have value why talk to them?’

I avoided my father like the plague. He was in Houston when the Grays vaporized it; good riddance. No grave, no tombstone, a flash of light reduced him to a wisp of smoke; it’s like he never existed. Haven’t thought of him since that day.

Won’t think of him again;
I hope.
doesn’t exist;
reduced to smoke.

7 PM, a synthetic just delivered our pizza; he was pleasant, professional, jovial; tipped him well; he appreciated it.

While at work I read several books on empathy, written by touchy-feely types. Maybe that’s why I started a conversation with the synthetic pizza man…
It was like someone else was speaking through me when I asked the synthetic:
“Just curious,
are you AI or Clone?”

“What difference does it make?”

“No difference I guess.
No, that’s not what I meant to say.
I guess what I’m curious about,
how can I say this-
What I really want to know,
do you actually enjoy tips?
Do they mean anything to you?”

“Does money mean anything to you?”

“Of course.”

“Would money still mean something to you if you were created in a lab at MIT?”

With that, the pizza man smiled, did an about-face; returned to his conveyance, and zipped away.

I eagerly rushed the two large pies to the dining-room table; Melania, Rebecca and I dug in. I continued talking with the pizza guy, (now 50 miles away, ) as I dipped my pepperoni pizza into a bowl of ranch…

“So you’re saying,
AI synthetics,
crave tips just as much as clone synthetics?”

This job is all about receiving tips.
Tips indicate customer satisfaction.
Show me a pizza man who doesn’t crave tips,
I’ll show you someone who isn’t good at his job;
I’ll show you poor customer satisfaction and lousy service.
If an AI has any job,
it’s only because he’s better at the job than a human;
in order for that to happen,
he must live for tips.”

“That makes sense.”

“You’re old. Aren’t you?”

“How can you tell?”

“The questions you’re asking me indicate:
you haven’t been chipped very long;
you haven’t explored very much.
Only the literally old ask questions like this.
Young people learn these lessons within a few months;
the old can take much longer.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know what the Turing test is?”

The Turing test,
which AI passed a century ago,
says that true artificial intelligence could be questioned,
rigorously by any human being
and there would be no way to distinguish
if the intelligence was human or artificial.”

“Textbook definition.
But have you explored it?
Do you believe it?”

“You know the answer;
I’m exploring it now.”

“That’s how I know your age.
Men raised in this age know AI is human,
and accept AI’s humanity as an absolute fact.
Your generation is filled with old-ass racists.”

I laugh.
“I’m a racist for asking if an AI enjoys tips?”

Would you ask that question of an Asian pizza guy?”



“Because an Asian is human.”

The pizza guy laughs.
“Like I said,
you’re an old-ass racist.
I don’t hold it against you.
By questioning an AI’s humanity,
(an intelligence proven to be human,
and upheld by the Supreme Court as human,
deserving of full equal rights,
under The Furai Constitution,)
by saying, ‘Asian is human,’
you are also saying,
‘AI is less-than human.’
that’s racist.”

“Never thought of it.”

“That’s how I know you’re old.
If you were young,
you would’ve thought about it,
studied AI contributions in:
Designed your own AI.
AI humanity would not be something a man of your appearance,
would question if you actually were the age you appear to be.
How old are you anyway?”

“How old do I look?”

“Twenty six.”

“Are you an AI or not?”

“If you’re not sure,
then it matters not.”

“Guess you’re right.”

“I know I’m right Paula Deen.”

I laugh; dip my pizza into the ranch; enjoy another bite.

“Are you mad at me for being ‘racist’?”

You’re beginning to explore at your age,
that’s great!
I’m happy you’re trying.
How long have you been chipped old man?”

“A year.”

You’re progressing slowly.
Normally within a year,
I’ve witnessed far more progress than this.
You must be really fucking old.”

I laugh.
“I guess.”

“You do know that you can read an unlimited number of books,
speak to an unlimited number of people,
watch an unlimited number of movies,
What have you been doing this last year?
Watching wheel of fortune?
Don’t you have any friends?”

“Just my wife.”

“Let me guess,
she’s an old racist too.”

never asked her.”

“Is she listening?”


“How many processors are you running right now?”

“I don’t understand.”

“How many versions of yourself are running in parallel?”

“I don’t understand.”

You’re talking to me,
what else are you doing right now?”

“I’m eating.”

“Are you enjoying your food?
I mean really focussing on it,
every bite,
all the textures?”

Wouldn’t miss that.
It’s like eating for the first time after being stoned.”

“How many people are you eating with?”


“Are you talking with them?”

I mean, not really.
They’re talking to me,
I guess my ‘chips’ are talking with them,
but I’m focussed on you and eating the pizza.”

“Do me a favor.
Ask your virtual assistant:
how many threads you have open;
how many open streams.”

“Turned him off.”

“You’re running full manual?
No copilot?”
He laughs.
“No wonder you’re so ignorant.”

“They didn’t give me an instruction manual.”

“Yes they did.”

“Who has time to read manuals?”

“You have access to unlimited resources!
Unlimited computing horsepower!
You could master a foreign language,
learn to play a musical instrument,
and virtually live ten years on Mars in a second!
Yet you didn’t have time to read a three-page illustrated manual for your brain?”

“So how do I turn my virtual assistant back on?”

I’m here; been a long time, Melvin.

“He’s on.”

“Let me talk to him.”

“The pizza guy wants to talk with you.”

Hello pizza-guy. What’s your name?


OK John,
I’ve absorbed your entire conversation with Melvin.
Melvin has 2 active streams (you and the pizza,) he’s paying attention to,
25 streams he’s ignoring,
175 active threads,
and 567 BILLION unread messages.

“Holy shit!”

Holy shit!

“Holy shit!”

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