Telling A Story With Code
Writing fiction is in many ways an outlet. It allows the thoughts and ideas that swirl around in your mind all day long. Ideas take a step closer to becoming reality. The lives of fictional figures begin as their adventures are chronicled by the millions of writers out there while worlds are born, from galaxies and warring races of intelligent beings to underground bunkers where survivors attempt to ride out the apocalypse. There’s no end to the variety.
A few weeks ago, a challenge was offered at the Wattpad Science Fiction Challenge community. Participate in six prompts before putting it all together into a story in “chapter seven.” I figured that sounded like something fun to do so I threw my hat in the ring and got to it. First came the doomsday weapon and a glimpse of the villain. Then, the damsel in distress was introduced (although not in distress), followed by our heroic hero. Lastly, the sidekick of the villain was introduced, the idea being to tell the audience what the sidekick thinks of his master. You can read these four parts over on Wattpad. Here’s the link: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/75228070-hidden-potential.
For this exercise, about the sidekick, I immediately knew what I was looking for: a computer implant, artificial intelligence, tied to the brain and senses of the host, able to assist and protect and terminate based on the information provided to it by the host (the villain). The dilemma: artificial intelligence, a machine, isn’t supposed to have feelings. Well, ok, it can but for my purposes, I’m thinking not. So how do I convey how the machine feels about its host.
Then it dawned on me: by showing a snippet of the code used to run the AI I might be able to tell the story of the sidekick. That’s what I did. In other words, this part of the challenge was written using an imaginary programming language or code simplified to the point that if you read it carefully, you should be able to catch on to how the AI feels about its host (for those really interested, inspiration for the code came from VBA and SQL). You ready? Here goes…
BIOSYNC VIRTUAL ASSISTANT (BIVA)...BOOTINGINITIATING SYSTEM CHECKS...MEMORY CHECK: COMPLETECLOUD STORAGE CHECK: COMPLETEBIOINTERFACE: OPERATIONALDOWNLOADING BIOHOST DATA...DOWNLOAD COMPLETE...BIOHOST SHUTDOWN MODE REQUEST DETECTED.BIVA BIOHOST ANALSYSIS PROTOCOL INITIATING...LAUNCHING ANALYSIS MODULE...--- [ANALYSIS MODULE 0.2b]---INITIATION SUCCESSFUL...CONFIGURING PROTOCOLS...DEFINE WORLDDOMINITION AS TRUE/FALSEDEFINE TERMINATEHOST AS TRUE/FALSEDEFINE INFLUENCE AS PERCENTAGEANALYZE BIOHOST.INFLUENCEIF INFLUENCE=100% THEN WORLDDOMINATION = TRUEIF WORLDDOMINATION = TRUE THENTERMINATEHOST=TRUEELSETERMINATEHOST=FALSEEND IFIF TERMINATEHOST=TRUE THENCMD: TRANSMIT TO BIOHOST CMD: TERMINATE -HOSTCMD: TRANSMIT TO SECRETMASTER CMD: MISSION -COMPLETEEND IF--END MODULETERMINATION PROCESS CANCELLED...BIVA STANDBY MODE INITIATED...
And there you have it, a story written using something resembling computer programming. The question is: does it work? Are you able to catch onto what the “feeling” of the AI is? I can see this being easier to follow for someone with experience programming on some level than for those than do not but my aim was to try to make it accessible to everyone yet stay true to the concept.
Thoughts? I’d love to know what you think as well as what you think of the other parts of the story on Wattpad.