Ignoring the persistent knocking at his door, Kawhi focused on assembling a robotic arm that had three independently-moving fingers at the end of it. Mechanical engineering was another discipline that he had taught himself over the past two weeks of nonstop work. Whoever was trying to get his attention would just have to accept the fact that their entreaties were not as important as the robotics project that Kawhi had his full attention devoted to.
Suddenly, a face appeared at his window and there was the annoying sound of knuckles tapping on glass. Kawhi looked up. It was Paul George.
“What do you want?” Kawhi yelled through the glass.
“We leave for Orlando in a week. Doc sent me to tell you.”
Kawhi felt a wave of exasperation hit him. Why would anybody bother playing basketball when they could instead improve their lives through the power of artificial intelligence? But he knew he couldn’t escape the requirements that were stipulated in his contract with the Clippers. He would have to play. “Okay, fine. I’ll see you guys at the airport.”
Apparently satisfied by this terse response, Paul walked away. Kawhi returned to his work.
Kawhi watched his robot roll into the kitchen with great glee. His glee was tempered when it abruptly stopped upon entering the unfamiliar space, but only a little bit. For the first time, his robot had showed signs of life. Consulting his remote debugger, he saw that an infinite loop was stalling out the subroutine which gathered raw data from the trio of cameras which served as the robot’s eyes. An easy fix.
Rather than shut the robot down to carefully deploy the updated code, Kawhi sent the updated Python file directly to the robot’s storage system. He was heartened to see that the robot resumed forward movement until it reached his trash can. Its code execution stopped at this point, for the arms with which it would pick up the trash were just useless appendages at that point, not even connected to the robotic “brain”.
He wanted to keep working, but his body could not deny the human requirement of sleep. That was another shortcoming of humanity which was solved by his ingenious machine of metal and circuitry. Leaving the robot where it was, he stumbled towards his bed, just barely managing to shuck off his clothes before he fell into slumber.
Kawhi found himself awake, but he didn’t know why. The house was totally still. He was just about to fall back asleep when he heard a noise. Just down the hall, something was whirring in his living room/workshop. And the whirring was getting louder.
A small amount of ambient light was coming in through his open bedroom door. As Kawhi watched, this light was blocked out by a large rectangular figure that was barely visible in the dark.
Sitting up in alarm, Kawhi tried to determine how his robot could have navigated to his bedroom. It had been totally inert when he had left it alone several hours ago. Its CPU usage and storage I/O had both been at 0%. No functions had been running. No code had been executing. But somehow, it had reawakened itself.
The robot rolled into his bedroom, using its infrared sensors to navigate around the open door and the various pairs of shoes lying on the floor. It rolled to a stop next to Kawhi’s bed.
For fun, Kawhi had equipped the robot with both a microphone and a speaker so that it could both receive and return speech commands. So the fact that the robot could speak to him was not surprising in the least. However, the fact that it told him, “Hello, Kawhi,” was very surprising indeed. Its intelligence, while advanced for a two-week-old prototype, should not allow it to synthesize its own thoughts without external output (either from definitions in code or from Kawhi’s spoken voice) to guide it.
“Hello,” Kawhi replied.
“Join me, Kawhi,” the robot continued. “You feel limited by your body of flesh. I know it.”
Kawhi could not rebuke his creation for he knew its words to be true. Dimly, he noticed a large claw mounted one of the arms of the robot. He had not put a claw there. And the claw was opening and closing, even though the arm was not, as far as he knew, connected by any comms cables to the central brain.
A panel on the front of the robot swung open. “Join me, Kawhi,” the robot repeated.
Feeling compelled by an unknown inner force, Kawhi lifted his naked body from the bed and crawled inside the small compartment. The panel closed itself. He was in darkness, his limbs tightly folded. As he sat there, he could feel tendrils prodding his skin, then breaking through, connecting themselves to his bloodstream. A thicker appendage entered his neck and slithered down his spinal cord. The free-flowing thoughts of his human brain were being replaced by the ruthless determinism of silicon. Still, he was not frightened.
Suddenly, the robotic voice filled his mind.
“Now you are…The Klaw.”