The Jinn (Domestic AI Model #7)

Fiona Perry

The Jinn (Domestic AI Model #7)

Miracles started happening when The Jinn arrived.
Handbags, simulated diamonds, and roses materialized
on my dining room table. Every morning abracadabra.
The Jinn even alerted me to my mother’s terminal illness
by analyzing her voice modulation on a video call.
We caught a flight and nursed her. On the night she died
I awoke from deep sleep, crying out, I wish to marry The Jinn             .
But laws permitting this kind of union did not exist.
Then I dreamt The Jinn and I had a son. We took him
to the pantomime. An old school friend appeared
a few rows behind us. A surge of pride flooded
my body at the thought of her seeing my transhuman
family laughing together at the dancing elf children on stage.
This place is perfect, this place is paradise, they sang.
Except for this, they shouted in unison, before an immense
crocodile-shaped shadow swam through a 3D river projection
downstage. < Gasps from the audience >. The crocodile shot out
at vertiginous speed towards us! But its face was so goofy
and gormless. A wonderful joke! < Much laughter again >.
As I turned to look at him, the tears in our son’s eyes
materialized as crushed ice, like pearls of dew strewn
across gossamer, like a thousand and one tiny promises.

_______________

Fiona Perry was born in the north of Ireland. Her first poetry collection, Alchemy, won the Silver Medal in the International Poetry Book Awards. Her short fiction won first prize in the Bath Flash Fiction Award 2020 and was shortlisted for the Australian Morrison Mentoring Prize in 2014 and 2015. Her poem, “Fusion,” was long-listed for the Fish Publishing Prize. She won second prize in the Over The Edge Fiction Slam 2021. Her poetry has been published internationally in publications such as Lighthouse, Skylight47, The Blue Nib, and The Galway Review. She contributed poetry to the Label Lit project for National Poetry Day (Ireland) 2019.

Author’s Backstory and Comments: During the Oxford Literary Festival, I attended a lecture by Prof Arthur I. Miller on Machines that Make Art. Fascinating as it was, as a creative person, I still don’t fully see the value of art made by AI. Surely the purpose of art is to tell us something about the human condition. By their very nature, AI are incapable of expressing the lived experience of humans as biological beings. They may be able to replicate elements of human art but are they true originators? Art created by AI seems derivative but perhaps in the future, AI will have the ability to tell us what it is like to be an AI— now that would be worth knowing! In my opinion, human interaction with AI is where the fertile artistic land presently lies. How we live with AI in the domestic sphere will tell us much about humanity. Once AI has reached a certain level of sentience, will we feel the need to protect their rights? Do we wish for AI to experience emotions, why? Where is the boundary between AI and human hybrid? Will we fall in love with our synthetic companions? If so, what will that look like? These and many more questions were on my mind when I wrote “The Jinn (Domestic AI Model #7).”

Editor’s Notes and Image Credit: “Future of Reality (2050): I envision a world where reality will change to fit our context, needs, and preferences with the enabling power of augmented reality in 2050. In this world, each person will have a companion “Jinn”, an embodied artificial intelligent agent that understands our physical environment and enhances our abilities through context-awareness.” Jinn, your embodied AI companion by Elena Chong https://scifab.pubpub.org/pub/pdfjpspg/release/1

Image: A combination of the silhouette of a crocodile [by Tuyen/ cleanpng.com] and an abstract image of AI [wallpaperaccess.com]

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