The Beginning of Everything (2)
※ This is seen from Claire François’s point of view (the first loop・・・).
“My name is Oohashi Rei. Nice to meet you.”
The girl in front of me, who looked incredibly young despite being the same age as me, bowed politely just like how a Japanese person would.
I had heard that Asian people looked younger than they actually were, but she seemed especially young.
She was dressed in a white coat instead of a lab coat, so she didn’t look much like a researcher.
Either way, she seemed more like the kind of normal office worker that you could find in a company anywhere.
“I am Chief Claire François. Nice to meet you.”
“I’m the Chief’s assistant, Lene. Nice to meet you, Rei-chan.”
Rei seemed like the type of woman whose facial expression hardly ever changed, so it was difficult to guess what she was thinking.
Perhaps this was a cultural difference between Europeans, who value self-expression, and Japanese people, who value humility.
However, personality wasn’t a requirement here- ability was.
Even if she was a little bit awkward when it came to dealing with people, I had no complaints as long as she could get the job done.
“I’ll introduce you to TAIM. TAIM, this is Rei. We’ll be working together from now on.”
“Nice to meet you, Rei-san.”
“…… You are the world’s most advanced AI……”
Rei’s gaze towards TAIM seemed like she was looking at something precious.
It has been said that Japanese people were more spiritual than Europeans as well, so perhaps she was like that as well.
“…… We’ll be doing something cruel, huh.”
“No, it’s nothing.”
When I asked her in response, she murmured and dodged my question.
“So, what do you need me to do?”
Perhaps she had a sudden change of heart, but Rei immediately started to ask questions about the job.
I preferred to have somebody motivated on board.
“Ultimately, our goal is to prevent the destruction of humankind. You understand that, right?”
Rei gave me an expressionless look as she spoke.
“I’m just talking to myself. Please continue.”
“…… Alright. Even so, our end goal isn’t a simple matter and can’t be accomplished so easily. For the time being, we’re trying to produce some results within the next six months.”
“What I’m expecting from you is related to your field of study―― your research on quantizing souls. I want you to provide TAIM with your research data.”
I briefly explained how to enter the research data.
She seemed to be excellent at the job and managed to understand it right away.
“What is it?”
“Your project involves ensuring the survival of mankind, but is it necessary to retain their physical bodies?”
At first, I wasn’t sure what Rei was getting at.
“What do you mean by that?”
“I think that having a body isn’t exactly necessary once we figure out how to quantize the soul.”
While I was still confused,
“This is what Rei is trying to say: If we find a way to convert the soul and quantize it, the souls don’t necessarily have to be stuck inside a vessel like a body.”
“That’s right. Thank you, TAIM.”
I finally understood what they meant, but what about it?
Rei specialized in the concept of quantization of the soul, which was a study that has existed for the past century.
However, it was really only a fictional concept.
It was only in the past decade that it started becoming a reality, but I couldn’t help but think that the idea of throwing our physical bodies away was very bizarre.
“Aren’t our physical bodies what make us human? Can a human being who has become completely quantized really still be considered a human?”
“Isn’t it alright as long as the people themselves are aware that their bodies exist?”
“…… Are you trying to say that we’ll end up like avatars in a virtual world or something?”
“That’s right. As long as the person is comfortable with it, then I don’t think there should be a problem.”
Is that so?
“Even the medium that will store the quantized soul would still need to be maintained, right? If that’s the case, then wouldn’t it still be essential to possess a physical body for that?”
“I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. Couldn’t we just create a machine that can do it for us instead?”
I was about to give in.
Her argument seemed to hold a lot of persuasive power.
However, I still couldn’t help but feel repulsed by the idea.
“Let’s leave the discussion here for now. For the time being, please start entering your research data on the assumption that physical bodies will still be present.”
“…… I understand.”
Rei was still as expressionless as always, but I could see a hint of dissatisfaction on her face.
But even so, she took in my instructions and got straight to work.
“That girl is quite strange.”
After leaving TAIM’s side, Lene, who had been silently observing our discussion, whispered that to me.
“Yes, she certainly does seem to be a strange one.”
“She’s okay with the idea of not possessing a physical body. Aren’t her values a little bit dodgy?”
“That’s not good, Lene. We’re going to be working with her from now on, so you shouldn’t think of her so negatively right on the first day.”
“You’re right, but……”
To be honest, I felt the same way as Lene.
The idea that a physical body wasn’t necessary was often something that was only ever portrayed in science fiction.
However, thinking about implementing it into real life was something that sounded close to insanity.
Although it was difficult to read Rei’s emotions based on her eyes, there was a certain light in them that was extremely rational.
It was unlikely that her thoughts were just a result of obsessive madness.
Most likely, she truly believed in those ideas.
I had no idea what her circumstances were, and no clue how she ended up developing those beliefs in the first place.
“Anyway, you should get to work too, Lene. You haven’t finished your report on fossil fuel reproduction yet, have you?”
When I prompted her to do so, Lene returned to her desk and got right to work.
After seeing her go off on her own, I also began to tackle my own tasks.
(Are physical bodies really necessary……?)
There was a certain topic that I had given a lot of thought about while I was in the middle of creating an AI.
The human mind was deeply connected to the body, so without being able to experience any physical sensations, it was impossible to build a high-level AI.
There were many elements that made up the human mind outside of our basic five senses.
For example, if the AI didn’t eat food with its mouth, it would never truly be able to understand the taste and sensation of food.
When I created TAIM, I gave her an artificial ability to experience the five senses.
That was how I overcame the barriers that could not have been accomplished through a purely programmatic approach.
For me, I considered physical bodies to be irreplaceable and completely natural for human beings to have.
However, Rei was trying to say that it was not necessary for humans to possess a physical body.
What kinds of experiences and thoughts lead her to that sort of conclusion?
Although I felt a bit of animosity towards her, she had piqued my interest.
(Cruel thing……? What was she talking about……?)
Rei said something like that to TAIM.
That they’d be doing something cruel.
What exactly did she mean by that?
After that, Rei had managed to make remarkable progress with our research.
She proposed a way for us to save humanity.
It was something I could never have come up with myself.
She managed to do it within four months after coming to our institution.
An eternally repeating loop system for the sake of preserving mankind―― it was without a doubt, an idea that only a genius could come up with.