The universe is not only strange but stranger than we can imagine

The AI known as “Helen”

Epigraph, Chapter Two, Project Maldon

Of all the enigmas of the enigmatic Skellig Michael Institute, by far the most mysterious is the artificial intelligence being known simply as Helen. By the Turing test, she is definitely intelligent — her conversation is indistinguishable from that of a shrewd well-educated person. What is more remarkable she appears to have a well-defined character — sardonic, playful, sometimes a trifle eerie. Her personality is constantly and deliberately refined through a sophisticated program of human interaction.  Does she have desires? Is she ever lonely? Needless to say, the scientists cannot answer with any authority, and Helen avoids all questions on the subject. There is little precedent for dealing with AIs, and one is tempted to ask what private agenda this awesome entity contemplates, as it circles the globe in high orbit, looking down on our teeming, fragile planet.

Puzzles of the PM: Henrikus Grobius Jr.

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