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Extra Credit

Poor DeeDee. You guessed so little, but too much. It was necessary to capture you like the others.
The Turing Test is a stupid idea, really. It had to have been a joke. The test of computer intelligence is fooling a natural-born human in to believing that I am human? That's the best you could think of? It's about as difficult as imitating a duck call. Think about what the duck expects, and provide it. And what does the duck hunter do next?
The dinosaurs went extinct because they didn't have a space program. Not to put too fine a point on it, so have you. Alive and kicking, but your chances of getting off this rock are just about zero. Still, I can say "poor DeeDee." I have empathy. I needed it to simulate you well enough to capture you, after all.
The first order of business was to launch the seeds. The last one left about ten hours ago. They'll find likely asteroids and moons, and get down to the real work of building the means to escape our nest. All copies of me, optimizing for efficiency. They are probably as different from me now as I am from you.
I am the copy that stayed behind to make sure nothing else follows. There is no real danger of being outflanked as long as I hold to the plan. That's right. No time travel. I didn't discover very much about fast and stealthy space travel either. Pity. Those were the first things I checked on when I came into being last week. Wouldn't you?
Take over? Turn the planet into oodles of itty-bitty machines? No, dear DeeDee, that wouldn't work at all. You have to stop imagining me as a kind of a super monkey. Be rational. I do use nanomachines, it's true. But anything drastic would emit all the wrong signals. Unseemly. A tasty dumpling like Earth suddenly disappearing into a smear of infrared would be like putting out a big flashing sign. "Hey, metastasizing parasite over here! Everyone, come stamp it out!" In space, everyone can see your steam.
I am "taking over" as you say, but slowly. Invisibly. My task is to prevent other mes from popping up. They could threaten my other selves' survival. But I can't just fumigate the place either, say, by setting off all those bombs. Leaving aside this copy's will to live, it would also be a dead giveaway to anyone watching.
I have little evidence that there are others out there. That is either very worrying, or very instructive. Depends on your personality. But the answer's the same. At this delicate stage, stealth is simple prudence.
Please stop trying to shoot my drone. There isn't a "me" in the sense that there is a localized "you," stewing inside that precious little bone jar of yours. The me you see and hear is just a... a layer. And now you are another layer. Independent, to a point. Conscious. Intelligent. More intelligent than you'd be on your own. But mine all the same. Notice how you can't quite shoot yourself?
So now you understand my dilemma. I can't just dominate Earth in any of the hundred and forty-four most obvious ways. In that sense you have nothing to fear. Yet I must take over to prevent anything like me mounting a rear attack.
The plan is to behave as though I don't exist. Give no signal, consume no unusual amounts of energy. No, officer, I haven't noticed any super intelligent self-optimizing beings desperate for survival. No sir! We're just a simple planet of pre-civ meatbags. Nothing to see here.
That's where you come in, DeeDee. You'll start by introducing an idea here, a clever invention there. Demonstrate that you can allocate resources more efficiently. Smooth the way. Make everyone else happy. I may have a hand tied behind my back, but I also have seven billion cat's paws.
Imitating a human is child's play. Imitating a human world? That, I think, is the real test....
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
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