Written By Closer-To-The-Sun (Joseph Noblit)
Chapter 4: Teachers
Twilight Sparkle opened her eyes. She lifted her head up off her pillow and yawned. She looked out the window to see that Celestia’s sun was high above the horizon. Turning to her clock, the alicorn noticed it was past ten in the morning. With a gasp and newfound energy, Twilight hopped out of her bed and quickly made her way downstairs to the main room of the library.
As she descended the flight of stairs, she heard the sound of typing against a keyboard. Once down, the pony noticed that her dragon assistant was at the computer, typing away.
“Spike, what are you doing?” the purple pony raised her voice in a tone that was in surprise and concern.
“What does it look like?” he replied as he continued to stare at the monitor, “I’m using the computer.”
Hurrying over to the desk, Twilight pushed Spike away from the keyboard, “But this is the computer with the AI that Celestia gave us! I left it on overnight.”
Spike wobbled a bit after he was shoved. He balanced himself so he didn’t fall down, but once he was back on his hind claws, he replied, “Well, duh! I know that. I was talking to it.”
Turning her head first to Spike and then to the computer monitor, Twilight spoke worriedly, “You were? Oh dear, what were you two doing? I’m supposed to study everything little thing that gets inputted into the AI and how it responds. Teach it, if you will.”
Waving a claw, the dragon brushed it off, “If so, then you aren’t missing much. We spent an hour or so arguing over something from a book. I think it might be broken or something….” Spike walked away from Twilight to the kitchen, “I’m gonna run out and get something from Sugarcube Corner, you want anything?”
Tapping her hoof on the keyboard, Twilight was examining the ‘conversation’ that her assistant and the computer were having, “No, thank you, Spike. Be careful.” Her eyes were fixed upon the screen as the dragon left the library.
She continued to intently look at what Spike and the AI had said to one another. It seemed mostly that Spike was not giving up any ground in the debate about novel ‘The Path’ by Corral McCarthy. Spike’s stubborn and headstrong debating skills were enough to make Twilight chuckle. However, as she continued to read, she noticed that the artificial intelligence was making valid and wonderful points bout the piece of literature.
Reaching the end of their conversation, in which Spike promptly called the AI as a ‘stupid head’, Twilight saw the flashing rectangle, ready for somepony to start typing again.
“Good morning.” Twilight typed the message into the computer.
The response was quick: “Greetings. To whom am I conversing with?”
“Welcome back, Twilight Sparkle. How are you this morning?”
The princess paused for a moment before she replied: “I’m doing well, despite having slept in more than I had hoped. I didn’t realize that you and my assistant, Spike, had a conversation this morning.”
The computer whirred slightly before text appeared on the screen: “Correct. He addressed himself as Spike The Dragon to me at 9:13 this morning. To which we had a conversation about a work of literature.”
“Yes, I noticed that,” Twilight typed: “I was surprised that both of you discussed themes in the novel ‘The Path’ by Corral McCarthy. Such a haunting and powerful book.”
“Yes, we did have a conversation about the novel,” the AI replied. The computer hummed more as the text continued: “We were discussing the overall theme of the book, whether it was more pony versus nature or good versus evil.”
This response caused Twilight to take a bit of surprise, despite that she had just looked over the conversation only a few seconds ago. She typed: “I saw that. What did Spike have to say about it?”
Sounds from the computer chassis grew louder as the AI answered: “I must admit that Spike had a very valid response, stating that since the novel does not describe the catastrophe that creates the setting for the work, we are left only with the aftermath and how ponykind struggles to live in a world that has been broken down to the bare.”
“Spike actually argued a point like that?” Twilight spoke to herself after reading the message. She tapped on the keyboard: “That’s what I also gathered when I read the novel. The book illustrates that in such a scenario, ponykind will have to fight for our dominance again against nature, which takes hold as the powerful force it is.”
“It is a good argument you both hold, and I honor it. However, I believe the novel can be broken down to the classic element of good versus evil.”
“How do you defend this?” Twilight was interested in hearing the AI defend itself.
Again, the computer’s hard drive had more noise than normal coming from it: “For starters, the father and his son refer to themselves as ‘the good guys’. And in this world-wide disaster, it is not surprising that the characters would rope themselves into two simple yet easily identifiable groups for both ease and protection. Second, the characters abstain from the eating of the flesh of other ponies and not tormenting others simply because they are stronger, unlike others they meet on their journey south. Finally, in a post-apocalyptic world, those small acts can easily differentiate the good from the bad, as kindness in a calamity can make one seem heroic. To quote a conversation between the father and his son, ‘But who will find him if he's lost? Who will find the little boy?’ ‘Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again.’”
Upon reading the AI’s defense and explanation of his belief, she was at a loss of words. Not only had the artificial intelligence presented a case and backed it up with evidence from the book and personal beliefs, it had addressed a theme that Twilight herself had not thought of. She read and reread the statement again, looking for any loopholes or flaws in it’s logic, but it was airtight.
“Twilight Sparkle? Are you still there?” the AI asked.
The purple pony typed back: “I am still present. I was just lost, if you will, in your argument. It was beautifully stated and addressed the topic flawlessly. I never thought about it that way before.”
The sounds from the computer tower died down: “Of course, this is just my findings after analyzing the novel again last night along with the rest of the works of literature in my programming.”
“How many pieces of literature do you have stored within?”
“Four million three hundred eighty seven thousand nine hundred twelve,” the AI literally spelt out.
“That’s such a massive library! Far more than any library I’ve ever visited!” Twilight exclaimed in her message, with visible surprise on her face.
“My literature bank also contains numerous works from other, non-pony species, such as griffons, dragons, and so on.”
“How much storage does that take up?”
“Most of the data is compacted in special files, allowing even the longest novel to only take up a megabyte or two. To answer your question, it takes up 634 gigabytes.”
“Astounding,” Twilight replied aloud. She then typed away: “That’s remarkable. So much data stored in such a compact space.”
The AI replied: “Thank you for such a compliment.”
Twilight smiled. She then tapped away on the keyboard: “Of course. By the way, do you have a name?”
The hard drive came to life at the question: “What do you mean?”
“A name,” the pony type: “something in which give you individuality, you know?”
The computer made a few loud whirring sounds at the statement. For about twenty seconds, the AI did not reply. Eventually, it did: “My designation is the Artificial Pony Intelligence Program.”
“I know that, but I mean a name that isn’t simply just the title of your program. Such as my name is Twilight Sparkle and my assistant is known as Spike.”
The AI still could not give an answer: “Apologizes, I cannot seem to think of such a designation for myself.”
Twilight paused for a moment and thought. “How about the name Giga Byte?”
“Giga Byte? I like it.”
“It seemed like a logical name for you.”
“Thank you, Twilight Sparkle.”
Smiling, the pony tapped her hooves on the keyboard: “Well then, allow me to welcome you to the Ponyville Library, Giga Byte.”