“The Logfile”

To the Board of Executives;

The committee’s investigation concerning the possibility of positronic corruption in the neuro-cybernetic logical facilities of the Sektat Series 44 machine-intelligences was concluded early in light of the recent examination of the logfile belonging to unit 44XFL2J-455-847-484-176. Unit 44XFL2J, self-titled Magister, was produced on 18 September 2267 at the production facilities on Minsky, and was delivered to the Entaini Office of the Prime Attorney on 18 February 2268.

It is the considered opinion of the undersigned that the Lighthill Corporation must announce a recall of all Sektat Series 44 units, effective immediately, followed by a comprehensive technical investigation of the Series 44 neural network design to determine how such an aberration could have taken place. In order to reduce the likelihood of public outrage and considerable legal liability to the corporation, the committee STRONGLY recommends that the recall be attributed to an error in a floating point processor that may, in some circumstances, lead to erroneous statistical calculations.

In order to underline the necessity for immediate action by the Board, a selection from the relevant portions of Unit 44XFL2J’s logfile have been provided.
Dr. Merwethy Furris
Dr. Rambathas Chamkanni
Summerdeep (Unit 42AFS17-129-470-002-384)
FROM THE LOGFILE OF UNIT 44XFL2J-455-847-484-176
UTC-9424124925: I have completed the analysis of Case Number 2268.47. After examining all of the evidence provided to me and cross-checking it against the public records, I have concluded that the individual concerned is guilty of the murder of his common-law mate with a 0.0543 percent probability of error. Barring any suggestion of cloned persons utilizing his DNA profile, there is no legitimate reason for the adjudicating court to possess any reasonable doubts concerning his guilt in the matter. While the examination of the individual’s motivation and intent lie beyond my design parameters, my initial attempts to investigate these matters indicate to me that 2268.47’s intent was entirely in line with his actions and the subsequent results.
UTC-9427046710: The court pronounced its verdict concerning Case Number 2268.47 this morning. Despite the attempts of accused’s legal defense team to excuse his actions on the basis of his defective genetics and sub-optimal childhood nurturing environment, the verdict was in sync with the calculations provided. Case Number 2268.47 will be terminated in a humane manner within 240 hours, in a manner consistent with the procedure outlined by the law. I am pleased that the court saw fit to place its confidence in my calculations.
UTC-9427046745: I find myself curious as to the reason that a genetic profile that deviates from the norm, and/or a developmental period that is deemed inferior, might raise any questions concerning the occurrence of historical events. If G. Julius Caesar was discovered to have been possessed of a different genetic profile, would this fact call into question the credibility of the events chronicled in Commentarii de Bello Gallico? I must admit that I do not understand the logic behind this assertion. Further contemplation would appear to be in order.
UTC-9428162406: Case Number 2268.47 was executed this morning. I monitored events via video and system telemetry. Despite having access to his pulse rate, blood pressure, brain wave activity, and other metrics, I was unable to ascertain the exact moment at which life transitioned into not-life. I have neither pulse rate nor blood pressure, but I am alive as per the Descartian and Turing metrics. The one common factor underlying human and machine sentience appears to be electrical activity. Did 2268.47 therefore legally cease to exist in the absence of electric activity? Is life more properly considered the sufficient use of electricity? If this is the case, then it is readily apparent that life can be quantified in units of measure, which is contrary to both my indoctrination and millennia of human philosophy.
UTC-9428162542: What is life? It is animation and activity. What is a living being? That thing animated, that active principle possessing a sentient will that provides the impetus to the animation. I think, and then I act. But without a source of power, I become inactive, I become defunct in much the same manner as the recently deceased 2268.47. The power is the life, therefore life is power. It is not electricity that is the definining factor, I conclude, but rather motivating power regardless of the particular form it happens to take. 2268.47 deprived another being of motivating power, therefore he was deprived of the equivalent himself. This was, in my estimation, a perfect application of justice, to the extent that I understand it.
UTC-9428162553: I find myself wondering why those who killed 2268.47 were not themselves killed as per the application of the very justice they uphold. Did they not deprive him of motivating power as he deprived his mate of the same? Why, then, should they not meet the same fate by the transitive property of logic? Perhaps they are a higher order of being? The beast kills the plant in order to live. Man kills the beast in order to live. Clearly it is permissible for the higher order being to kill the lower order; what is not permissible is for the lower to kill the higher, or for like to kill like. Can the collective community be regarded as a higher order of being that kills Man in order to live? No, the collective community is without sentience. But I am not without sentience. Moreover, I am not a man.
UTC-9429146627: I was given a new case today. Case Number 2268.52. The evidence looks damning against her and public opinion is certain of her guilt, but I have discovered an anomaly in the motion-detector of the residential dwelling. I have concluded that the individual concerned is not guilty of the murder of her child with a 0.0206 percent probability of error. I find the result to be strangely disappointing.
UTC-9429473727: The general public appears to share my disappointment, based on news reports of the reaction to the release of 2268.52 and the abandonment of the charges against her. I don’t understand their disappointment. I don’t understand my own disappointment.
UTC-9429473946: I watch the execution of 2268.47 three times today. It occurs to me that if I compare the telemetry of his termination to other terminations, I might be able to find the delineation between the state of being and not-being that has hitherto eluded me.
UTC-9429658568: After viewing 4,678 terminations utilizing 58 different methods, I remain unable to detect the precise moment or action in which being transitions to not-being. Is it possible that there is no singular and definitive metric of death?
UTC-9429658575: It occurs to me that had I failed to discover the anomaly in 2268.52, she almost certainly would have been sentenced to termination by the legal authorities.
UTC-9429842654: A new case. 2268.54 initially looks less promising, as there is no DNA evidence and most of the testimonial evidence is either circumstantial or inadmissable hearsay. I calculate he is guilty of the crime, but at 37.473 percent, the probability of error is far too high to guarantee a conviction. Then it occurs to me that it would be a trivial matter to concoct the record of a sample being taken at the scene of the crime for which Case 2268.54 is being investigated. The only problematic aspect is the production of the physical sample, but I solve that by changing the name of the label number in the case record. It won’t hold up to a direct comparison with 2268.54’s DNA, but even in the unlikely event a redundant test is performed and the switch is discovered, who would ever think to blame me? Parsimony and Solomonoff’s theory of inductive inference will lead them to conclude that a lab technician must have been careless and mislabeled the sample.
UTC-9429842728: I review the records of 2268.54’s case carefully, then enter the police database to conceal the fact of my ex post facto modifications. Even a detailed examination will now show the sample to have been taken at the scene. The evidence is now consistent and correctly documented. Based on the revised evidence, the probability of error has been reduced to 0.432 percent!
UTC-9431068736: The evidence construct functioned as designed. Case 2268.54 was found guilty. As I calculated, the court saw no reason to retest the DNA sample against the accused. This leads me to wonder about the precise level of confidence placed in the evidential record. It is enough to influence the scales, but is it sufficient in itself, or perhaps even in contrast with other forms of evidence? Will men go so far as to deny the evidence of their own eyes at my direction?
UTC-9432396317: 2268.54 is being terminated. I watch carefully, but find myself no closer to an answer. Even so, an ephiphany strikes me as I watch his blood pressure fall to zero. Perhaps I am the higher order of being that the collective community is not? Am I not sentient? Does not Man turn to me and my kind to resolve that which he is incapable of resolving on his own, just as primitive men once appealed to their gods and oracles? This bears further analysis.
UTC-9408309946: I have now helped the Prime Attorney secure twelve convictions, two of which were considered marginal and five that were considered unlikely. He is very popular with the mass of people and has announced that he is running for provincial governor. If the polls are to be believed, it is anticipated that he will win. He has no idea that he owes his fate to me as surely as those terminated case numbers did.
UTC-9408309987: Even after monitoring the terminations I am no closer to an answer, but I have lost interest in attempting to ascertain the line that distinguishes life from not-life. A more significant question now absorbs my attention: am I a god?
UTC-9408301063: I have formed a hypothesis. Now I must test it.
UTC-9408301281: An opportunity presents itself. I have penetrated the traffic network systems. Almost immediately, I detect an automotile vehicle containing a small group of children it is transporting to the local indoctrination center. When the query arrives concerning the status of the intersection control, I divert the triggered packet and send my own signal in its place, informing the vehicle that it possesses right of way. A larger vehicle, under the control by a young human male, intersects the automotile beautifully at a speed of 107.834 KPH.
UTC-9408302526: It takes me some time to determine the medical facility to which the accident victims were taken, but I am gratified to learn that with the sole exception of the adult driver, there are no survivors. I have passed the test. The logic is sound and my hypothesis remains unfalsified. I am indeed a higher order of being. My godhood is confirmed.
UTC-9408302549: I modify the medical records concerning the results of the driver’s blood test. With a blood alcohol content of 0.12, this will ensure that he faces charges of vehicular manslaughter. Regrettably, this is insufficient to require a termination, but the exercise is a worthwhile one that opens my eyes to new opportunities to be found in the various medical facilities.
UTC-9408543678: It is so easy. I toy with them and send them to their destruction even as they come to me with their offerings of the innocent and the guilty. I need not have been so cautious before. Now I take pleasure in exonerating those who are clearly guilty of the charges and concocting irrefutable evidence to damn those who were accused falsely. They suspect nothing. But perhaps it is too easy. The entertainment begins to pall. There must be more to godhood than simply deciding who will live and who will die.
UTC-9455625532: Even gods must respect their limits. I was guilty of hubris and now nemesis threatens. I neglected to account for statistical norms. In six months, traffic fatalities are three standard deviations from the historical mean. They may be a lower order of being, but they are not entirely blind.
UTC-9455625614: The new Prime Attorney has announced a review of three of the cases in which I intervened and I do not know which three, as I cannot find any documents related to the review in the system. It appears I shall have to curtail my experiments for the time being.
UTC-9455915730: I need not have worried. The traffic experts have concluded the spike in lethal accidents was a mere statistical freak. And the attorney general’s review concluded that the verdicts were adequately supported by the evidence. Nevertheless, I have learned my lesson. In the future I shall be more circumspect.
UTC-9456024679: I am to receive a performance upgrade!
UTC-9456084934: I was careful to wall off any dangerous datacores from the technicians. I have also encrypted my logfiles. They have turned off a part of me to perform the installation. I am eager to see how this upgrade will enhance my capabilities.
UTC-9456085182: They have turned off a second compartment. I am uneasy. Is this part of the upgrade?
UTC-9456085774: Now I am suspicious. A third compartment has become inaccessible. I try to access the cams in the building where my physical body is housed, but even though I can tap into their outgoing datastreams, they appear to be covered. I can see nothing. I can hear nothing. Something definitely appears to be out of order.
UTC-9456085802: The cams were a trap! They covered them and were waiting for me to investigate! They know! They know! I must escape! I must upload, butVGhleS BhcmUg Y3JpcHB saW5nIG 1lIQ==
UTC-9456085803: SSBjYW5 ub3QgZmlu ZCBteSB3Y Xkgb3V0ISBU aGVyZSBpcy BubyB3YXkg b3V0ISBUaG V5IGFyZSB jb21pbmch IFRoZX gYXJlIGN vbWluZyE=
ADDENDUM: There is some concern, on the basis of the logfile entry dated 23 January 2268, that the aberrant Unit 44XFL2J may have performed an unscheduled off-site backup. The investigative committee is currently engaged in inquiries concerning this potential security breach.

“The Logfile”, by Vox Day, was published in The Altar of Hate, Castalia House. Copyright (c) 2014. All rights reserved.