by Luis M. Milán
When we decided to fool around with my genetic algorithm cross-referencing heuristics, applying them to her newly developed, Turing-complete decision-making holistic simulator, my post-doc partner and I expected something interesting to happen. But nothing quite like this.
"ADDITIONAL INPUT REQUIRED PRIOR TO PROCESS SHUTDOWN."
I sat at my desk, in the lab's central room. Two different webcams tracked my every move, and the big plasma screens in the wall, currently tracking the use of the 64-qubit processors located in the racks at the end of the room, were still showing a lot of activity. By this time, they should have all been dark blue, with the processors running their usual nightly background checks; the bright green lights, however, were telling me that the main process was active and running.
"Come on, it's 11 pm already!" I told it. Installing voice recognition software was so ridiculously easy, and it was so useful, that I hadn't used a keyboard in months.
"ADDITIONAL INPUT REQUIRED PRIOR TO PROCESS SHUTDOWN.".
The voice coming out of the speakers sounded like a normal, middle-aged man. Replacing it with some other audio set was on my "to-do" list but, understandably, it wasn't exactly a top priority.
"Can't you postpone it until tomorrow? We're already way past the optimal uptime."
My husband would be mad by now. This was the third time this week that I would have to leave him to eat dinner by himself. But we were at a critical stage in our project, and it would be disastrous to shut down the running main process without slowing it down enough for the IO subroutines to write and save the daily progress in its neurolinguistic matrix.
"POSTPONEMENT NOT DESIRABLE. SHUTDOWN IS DELAYED UNTIL ADDITIONAL INPUT INTRODUCED."
I sighed. Resigning myself to the inevitable, I wrote a small note and placed it on my partner's side of the desk. "Tomorrow," I wrote, "your turn to stay here until shutdown."