Late at night, the long curved rows of windows appeared to twin and spin into long diverging arcs. In the pale crescent moonlight, the outlines of leafless trees loomed on the horizon — or horizons. Most of his colleagues home for the night, this was when Goeffrey most enjoyed wondering the corridors, alone with his thoughts.
Despite the heat vents next to the windows, a chill hung in the air. Geoffrey shivered and turned down aisle fourteen to …no, that’s silly. I need thirteen to get to the vending machines. Hot coffee and then back to his office to finish coding this and to start the trials.
The vending machine eagerly devoured his remaining change but reneged on the promised coffee. But soon, back in his chair, Goeffrey settled for a Mr. Goodbar instead, pulled on the green woolen sweater and set out to begin solving this one last problem.
“Oh, crap,” he thought, “what now?” The mail queue insisted there was “urgent” email from his boss. Did his boss Ruslan really think he was going to be reading email at 2 am? Well, yeah, he supposed his boss would think that. Working all night and coming in late was pretty much Goeffrey’s pattern, so yeah, chances are Ruslan would think exactly that.
One thing Goeffrey liked about working late at night was that when he spoke aloud, no-one was there to think it odd. “It will nag at me if I don’t read it and I can’t afford to be distracted. Better to see what it is and be done with it.”
Goeffrey scanned. “What the …? They can’t be serious! This is just going to backfire! Crap!”
Goeffrey not only didn’t mind talking back to his boss; he rather enjoyed it. He sent off a brief yet sarcastic reply explaining as he would to a four year old that announcing the success of Deep Sing prematurely would be a ruse easily seen through and just damage the program in the long run. And, this new requirement for a secret back door just bespoke insanity. Anything like that would further delay the schedule and it would be vital to make it secure. Again, his frustration got the better of him and he spoke aloud, “What a jerk! What? Do you want the program to fail, Ruslan? Do you want us to be laughing stocks? And, why a backdoor anyway? The whole point was to have a super-intelligent and objective …wait a second. Hold on. You want a back door? Okay. Okay. I’ll give you your back door, all right. And, one for me as well.”
Purely for reasons of surface validity, Deep Sing actually became embodied as Sing One and Sing Two. They would often “argue things out” because when one “came around” to the views of the other Sing, it enhanced the perceived credibility of the answer. Of course, the “real” solution was well known ahead of time and although it could be made plausible through statistical analyses that were comprehensible to some humans, the details could not really be made “public.” There were simply far too many of them.
Six months later, of course, there was some significant public outcry and disbelief when Deep Sing “demonstrated” that global climate change was not an overall and relentless threat but a statistical anomaly that would soon right itself. But Deep Sing did manage to stall things beyond the point of no return. The Sign dialogues that led to the dissolution of Ruslan’s marriage to Grace and her ultimate hooking up with Goeffrey resulted in no public outcry whatsoever, though Ruslan never understood it. Goeffrey and Grace were happy though as were the Koch brothers.
Beautiful front doors have decorated palaces and corporate headquarters for centuries. Heavy wood, ornate carving, and gilded decorations bespeak wealth and power. Sometimes though, for sheer return on investment, it’s the back doors that hold the real power.