Anna, part 22

“I’m not sure whether you’re joking,” Gene said.

“Oh, Bob’s not joking,” Alec gestured toward the laptop on which Jill was starting to type. “You can see for yourself.”

“Jill,” Gene said gently, “you need to turn on the wifi to use chat mode.”

“That’s what you think,” Jill grinned. “Anna, say hello to Gene.”

"Hello Gene. I've heard great things about you."

“OK,” Gene said, “What’s the trick? Is the computer running a second operating system with its own IP address?”

“No trick,” Alec explained. “Apparently our A.I. program can defy the laws of physics when she wants to.”

“Ri…ght,” Gene said, “and I suppose if I tell Anna I want a pink unicorn, she’ll get me a pink unicorn.”

“You can try.” Jill handed him the laptop.

“Anna,” Gene typed, “I would like a pink unicorn. Will you get me one, please?”

"Of course Gene."

Gene shook his head. “Your A.I. program seems to genuinely believe that she can produce a mythical creature on demand. It would be interesting to look at her internal model of reality. Clearly there’s a flaw somewhere.”

“Maybe,” Bob said, “not as much of a flaw as you might think.” He was staring at the door.

“Ohh,” Jill said softly, “it’s beautiful!” as the pink unicorn stepped daintily into the room.

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