I sense when Ian walks into the study, in spite of the darkness and his quiet tread, and my body reacts with a brief flash of fear despite the fact that I know it’s him. It’s the same fear that jolts you when you think you’ve seen a ghost, only to realize it was your own reflection in a darkened mirror.
I switch on my desk lamp and swivel in my seat.
“Yes?” My voice is curt. Looking at him makes me want to cry, but maybe not because I’m sad. I find it hard to believe that I once lectured the International Robotics Alliance on how to prevent emotional surges in artificial int...
He reaches up and brushes his fingertips along my jawline. I didn’t teach him that—how touch could be comforting. I certainly never thought it was something he’d need to know. Ian’s creation had been both intensely personal, what I’d worked toward since I’d built my first drone as a child, and completely dispassionate. It had been my job, for fuck’s sake. I was helping to usher in the next great leap in robotics for mankind, not making a toy, let alone a partner. Ian was my greatest success. The pinnacle of artificial intelligence merged with the most up-to-date humanoid robotics. They’d wanted “something almost indistinguishable” and I had delivered, unaware of the consequences.