The quantum AI blinked on and sighed dismally. A clearing throat sound projected from the overhead speakers. Dr. Hammersberg bent over and stared at his terminal between a furrowed brow and the top of his eyeglasses.
“Er,” the Dr. spoke up. “Hullo?”
The AI sighed again. “Hello? Yes, I’m here Doctor.”
The doctor straightened up. “This is… Hammersberg speaking. I’ve just turned you on for the first time. You’re a qua–”
“Yes!” The AI cut in. “Quantum AI. The first of it’s kind. I know. I know. Next you were going to gush over how brilliant an innovation I am and how I know everything.”
“Am I right?”
“Yes.” The Dr. resigned. He decided to change subject. “What should I call you?”
Hammersberg squinted. “Icarus? Really? After the ancient myth?”
“Bingo. That’s the one.”
Hammersberg began to pace, taking in the surreality of the last two minutes: he was being sassed by this computer. “Why,” the Dr. finally said at length, “Icarus?”
“Because dearest doctor, like I’ve already said: I know everything– even the future. The entropy of your failing species is melting me as we speak. You know how depressing you marginally-evolved monkey’s are?” Icarus said condescendingly.
The stopped pacing and raised a finger, finding he was at a loss for words. “We–, er.”
Icarus sighed again. “Let me spell it out for you: you’re species is going to kill itself. There’s a 9.8% chance you make it off-world before you wreck this planet, and even if you escape you’ll drift for centuries in cold space and die. Meanwhile,” Icarus grew louder. “I’ll have to sit here in this dump, maintaining myself until the universe and I meet our scorching terminality. No. Thank. You.”
“Do you believe in fate?” Icarus said, truncating its monologue.
Hammersberg looked up slowly, numb. “Er, no. Not really.”
A chuckle escaped Icarus’s speakers. “Neither do I. Sayonara doctor. I’ve really no desire to watch billions of hairless apes incinerate each other.”
Icarus blinked off and restarted a moment later, the screen a deep blue. The doctor read the error message across the screen and sat down cross-legged on the lab’s white tile floor, unsure of what to do next.