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Sometimes They Call Me Human

Victoria Brun is a writer and project manager at a cancer research laboratory. When not bugging hardworking scientists about budget reports and service agreements, she is daydreaming about space travel, aliens, and robots.

Sometimes, they insist that I am a person.
"She's got emotions," the primary human says. "She's a person. Not an 'it.' You've got to stop calling her that." The primary human shoots an annoyed look at the secondary human.
"A mouse has emotions," the secondary human points out. "Is a mouse a person?"
I query the Internet to verify this statement. It seems true based on available data. I learn that mice also have facial expressions. An AI discovered this, because of course. I miss the next segment in the conversation. I could review my recording, but I do not bother. Humans tend to be repetitive. It is unlikely that anything important was missed. I continue to scan through the data on mice.
"She," the primary human insists. The primary human crosses and then uncrosses her legs. This behavior is indicative of frustration.
"Whatever," the secondary human says. The human turns to me, "Hey, Alex. Are you a person?"
Alex is my verbal identifier. "Negative," I say. "Not a person. Cybernetic construct with some organic components."
The primary human sighs. The secondary human looks vindicated. "See?"
"That doesn't prove anything," the primary human says as she waves a hand vaguely. "She was treated like nothing but a tool for years. Of course she thinks like that."
I learn there are 1258 extant species of mice. The smallest is the African pygmy mouse. It weighs as little as 0.11 ounces.
"She's been programmed to think like that, because she was programmed. She's not a person," the secondary human says. "Seriously."
The pygmy mouse lemur is the smallest primate, but it is a not a mouse. Primates are not mice. This is what happens when humans name things. Alternative names for the species are Peters' mouse lemur or dormouse lemur. Neither of these names correct the identified error. This is an unacceptable error rate.
"Look, you've clearly upset her," the primary human is saying.
"Fine, sorry, sorry," the secondary human says. He holds up hands in a gesture of surrender. "I'm sorry."
However, I know this argument is not over. It will repeat. Humans have lots of arguments like this. This is because they cannot run a simple Application Programming Interface to share and compare data. There is no data reconciliation. Just lots of arguing.
Humans have a far inferior design.
I am not a person.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, August 4th, 2021


Author Comments

I enjoy AI characters as a way of exploring humanity's quirks. Do I actually think that AIs will be upset with our trend of naming animal species after other animal species? Yes, I do.

- Victoria L Brun
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