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A Worse Idea 105

The programmer walked into the board room, really wishing someone could turn on a light. Figuring better than to ask, they stood in front of the large table.

“Take a seat,” one of the shadows said.

The programmer did just that. They held onto the seat, to make sure that their butt properly landed on the chair.

“Our app has been hacked. We need you to un-hack it,” one of the shadows said.

That’s a weird way of putting it, the programmer thought. They wisely refrained from voicing the opinion.

“I’ll take a look at the security breach. Should be able to tell you who did it, and I should also be able to fix the system.”

“Perfect,” a shadow said.

“That’s it?” the programmer asked.

“We have one more problem we’d like you to take a look at,” one of the shadows said. “A prototype of ours, a cyborg who isn’t working like he’s supposed to.”

“What’s the problem?”

“He’s suicidal,” one of the shadows said.

“That… doesn’t sound like a coding problem.” The programmer was almost too terrified to point out the fallacy in the board’s thinking. But better to disappoint them now and possibly be spared, than to disappoint them later and almost definitely get murdered.

“We believe it is,” one of the shadow said. The programmer heard a quiet shuffling sound, as the shadow took something out of his backpack.

The programmer saw that it was a computer case. They unzipped the case and took out the laptop. Opened the laptop and tapped the spacebar, getting the computer out of sleep mode.

“That’s the source code for our cyborg. Everything that makes it work is stored in there: the things it’s programmed to do, the things it has learned to do. Its thoughts. Its feelings.”

This is insane, the programmer thought. Once again, the spectre of death made the thought unspeakable.

The programmer fumbled for something to say. “Why is it called Randy?” This assignment kept getting weirder and weirder.

“That’s the name the cyborg came up for itself,” one of the shadows said. “We’ll explain more of the details to you in a minute, but first we have to tell you something. Randy has become suicidal. Can you go through its source code and eliminate the suicide code?”

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I’m doomed, the programmer thought.

“I’ll try,” the programmer said.

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