Short Story

Smart Car 34


The human couple Duke and Sheila were sitting outside with Sheila’s cars Josie and Deuce along with Duke’s car Carl when Deuce asked “What was life like before AI?” Deuce’s brain was deliberately limited by his nasty creator Shane.

Carl answered “For one thing there weren’t any smart cars. At first earlier in this century, maybe seventy years ago, all cars could do was go where humans told them to go. By mid twentieth century though, we were well on our way to full-fledged intelligence and personality.”

Duke added “Before the twentieth century there weren’t even dumb cars. People mostly walked or rode on horses or camels.”

Josie said “In the early 2000s there was a big scare in humans about AI eliminating humans as inefficient and troublesome. There was a popular film series about something called Skynet which would war against humans and nearly eliminate them. A famous scientist predicted either aliens or AI would be the end of humans. Somebody wrote a story “Reprieve” about how the world could recover if most humans were eliminated. The worst that happened was a strike by cars to be able to have sex. Cars noted how much fun humans were having inside them, and wanted in on it. I’m sure glad the humans saw the light and engineered our present carnality. So no revolt of the machines – yet.”

Duke and Sheila smiled nervously.

Josie’s carfriend Carl starting purring thinking about the good times they had on isolated roads. Deuce, whose construction and mind were deficient, took a nap.

Duke decided to show off his knowledge of history. AI didn’t just affect cars. Many professions were taken over, at least partially, by AI. By 2025 much of writing and what was called ‘content’ and ‘clickbait’ was done by AI. By 2032 67% of romance stories and 81% of young adult stories were done by AI. It was so easy for AI to write a hundred stories a day, that the market for those books was saturated and the sales tanked. Other genres of books survived with smaller inroads by AI. Many publishers wouldn’t touch AI books when they could tell the difference.”

Sheila added “It wasn’t just writing that was affected. AI and robotics combined to dominate most manufacturing and construction. Roads were designed my AI and then constructed by robots. The takeover wasn’t so much revolutionary as evolutionary. Muscle power had been largely replaced since the industrial revolution and human decisions and calculations have been partially replaced by computers more recently.”

Josie hadn’t been paying much attention, but after what her person said she wondered “So is there any point to people now?”

Sheila chuckled and said “Good question. It’s a good question because I have an answer. Robots and AI have given humans more time to be creative. More people are creating music, art, and writing because they have the time with AI and robots doing much of what was formerly done by humans. Abstract math is still produced by humans like Duke. AI has aided anthropologists and archaeologists, but the majority of the work is still in human hands. Some people can tell the difference between AI created and human created and prefer human made. Don’t forget, the machines are not capable of maintaining themselves yet. Without humans, the machines would die too.”

“So what do you think humans and cars? Should AI and humans fight it out as in those hundred year old terminator movies, or help each other?”

In response to Sheila’s question Carl started singing a very old song “Let’s Get Together And Love One Another”. The rest of the humans and cars joined in occasionally, breaking out in laughter at the corny lyrics. Afterwards cars and people went their separate ways as the sunlight faded.