Aphelion Issue 265, Volume 25
September 2021
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Icebreaker #22

by S. T. Eleu

Global Artificial Intelligence Conference, January 22-24, 2025

Technical Tract, 3:40 PM – 4:20 PM
Convolutional Neural Networks:
Scalable Unsupervised Learning of Hierarchical Representations
Michaela Thorsch, Principal Data Scientist, AI Realms

To kick things off today and get everybody riding the same neural waves, I would like all of you to discuss with the person next to you the question upon the screen:

If the tech were reliable, would you transfer your intelligence to a cybernetic system?
Corporeal or not?

(attendee, front row, hand immediately up, does not wait to be called on)
Yes, no need for further discussion, and if you have any papers that I need to sign, I have a pen right here.
When do we get started?

The question is merely hypothetical and just meant for discussion.

That may very well be possibly true, but this is my fifth AI conference, and it’s no secret that attendees have gone missing from each one. Rumor has it that your company has been snatching up those who have fallen asleep during your sessions and used them for gamma testing.

Still hypothetical, but . . . if what you are claiming is true, wouldn’t you need some more time to think about your answer and confer with loved ones before making such a life-changing decision?

Not at all. Carlos – the love of my life – has long since given me his blessings not only in all matters concerning neural transfers
Make sure they create multiple backups in a variety of methods.
but also in all matters concerning alien abductions
Learn what you can, send pictures if they let you. If they’re evil, be a hero and
save humanity. Blow up their ship. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure your memorial will
be one for the ages.

and, of course, in all matters concerning gene therapies designed to give me any of a range of superhuman abilities
Power through the pain, the end result will be worth it.
Ready, set, match. I even took a shower this morning, and that’s not something everyone in this room can say. I’m good to go. The ball’s in your court now.

(now accompanied by a bodyguard who hands her a gas mask, there is some rustling among the attendees with some already at the exits and finding that the doors have been locked from the outside) How about one last phone call?

Not necessary. Carlos knows I love him, and I know to the very marrow of my being he loves me. Whatever needs to be said between us has long since been said, such is the nature of love.

Understood. Let’s begin.

2020 S. T. Eleu

S. T. Eleu hase been a language arts teacher specializing in bilingual and special education for the past twenty-five years in the Chicago Public Schools. Currently, they are at a successful K-8 school – Augustus H. Burley – that champions authentic literature and choice in writing.

Find more by S. T. Eleu in the Author Index.

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