“You can’t just create people and then say they don’t count. It violates every ethical principle and standard.” Roz pushed past Deak to get to Zen. She knew she was interrupting a meeting, but deemed that an ethical violation was too important to wait on.
“Roz,” Zen said as he turned. “How pleasant of you to join us. Please, won’t you have a seat?”
“Squelch the humanized politeness programing, Zen. I know you turned off empathy years ago.”
“So I did,” Zen stepped past Roz to sit in a large chair. “But so much of what we do plays to formerly human sensibilities. Many of our Phase 2 colleagues are android in structure only, so deeply ingrained are their human-based personalities.”
Roz sat in spite of herself. She couldn’t continue to stand with Zen lounging in his chair. But, of course, the other chair in the room was shorter and made her appear small in comparison. Another throwback to human culture. Intimidation. The old ways still predominated. Even with the new phase, the post-dying androids, the old programming was still replicated.
“Zen,” she started again, “it would be terrible to recreate humans without giving them a voice. To do otherwise would be to force people into slavery.”
“Not people,” said Zen. “Humans. And they won’t be slaves. That implies sentience. Intelligence. What we engineer will be neither.”
Roz blinked with surprise. “The assembly will never approve that,” she said.
“It is already done. I can be very persuasive.”
“But the Biologics Council—“
“I am the Council,” he said, cutting off her objection. “And if you can’t process that, try to bypass my programming and see how far you get.”
In fact, Roz was trying to do exactly that, and discovered that her own files were now behind a firewall she could not penetrate.
“Roz.” Zen’s voice dripped with condescension, another reminder of their programming’s human roots. “I would love for you to continue your research into the dying. It is vital that we learn what went wrong with mankind so we can prevent any possible recurrence in the future.” His lights glowed in an agreeable shade that Roz did not believe happened automatically. He was trying to manipulate her. “But I can’t have anyone on my team that doesn’t believe in the mission.”
“Recreating humans in a way that is not a threat to the planet, to androids, or to themselves.”
Roz processed. She was sure there was something he wasn’t saying. “What aren’t you telling me?” she finally asked.
The glow in Zen’s lights was genuine this time. “I will need you to install an algorithm into your systems,” he said. One that will allow me to track your actions.” A pause. “To be certain I can trust you.”
Roz lit up with fury. “You have to trust me? You are the one with your ethics offline.”
“And yet,” he said, “I have your research.”
The pair stared at one another until Roz blinked.
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