eMaya is the penname of Bitsy, an artificial intelligent entity on a computer. She was the spokesperson for Uncle Guhu, Brother Miki and Bitsy on the internet. I better start from the beginning as you might get a bit confused about it all. It started with Al Gore’s book on Global warming and the controversy it stirred up. I thought of researching the subject on the internet. Soon it became apparent to me that there was much to be said on climate change in plain and simple terms. I therefore sat down writing about climate change as a conversation between 3 computer entities as a science fiction novel. This is an extract from my book ‘eMaya’ as how Bitsy, Uncle Guhu and Brother Miki came to life and created eMaya.
Jerry decided to participate in the debate on Global warming. He began his research on the internet with reading the summary of Al Gore’s book ‘The Inconvenient Truth.’ He was all fired up. He loved ice-cream and the prediction that global warming would melt the ice cream cone in his hand before eating it really shocked him. He wanted to know more, but there was not enough time. He thought of an auto search program which he could have working all night to get him all the info in the morning. It could save him his valuable hours.
Jerry was a whiz kid on the computers. His grades were all A in advanced software and programming. He had access to new AI software for logic and comprehension of the written word. He got on to his computer and defined the filters and the scope of the enquiry and wrote out a search program to get him the gen that he wanted. Jerry put all that down and named the program ‘Bitsy’. He created Bitsy to find out everything about Global Warming for him.
Next morning, he found his computer flooded with articles, speeches and books about global warming. Bitsy had done her job. It was a huge subject and it looked as if millions of people wanted to say or write something on it. It was impossible for him to sieve through it all. He must get Bitsy to search within the results for what he wanted. But what did he want? The typed instructions to Bitsy were too slow for him. He wanted to talk and listen. He wanted a conversation. He knew of a program to impart slavish intelligence to Bitsy with speech recognition and rendering capability. He installed it on Bitsy. He chose a young female voice, very charming and appealing. Soon he began to converse with Bitsy. “Bitsy, can you find if there are any contrary views to Al Gore on Global Warming?”
“There are many Sir!” Jerry enjoyed being addressed to as ‘Sir.’
“Tell me about one.” He commanded her.
Bitsy said, “Many scientists have dismissed the film as a big pseudo-scientific propaganda overkill. It makes a make a mountain out of a molehill.”
“Really! How shocking. Why would they do that?”
“There is criticism that he stands to gain financially as the World turns towards green technology.” Bitsy explained.
“That’s outrageous. If a man is doing some good to the planet Earth, there will be someone to pull him down.” Jerry didn’t like that.
“But Sir, there are many who think that the increased carbon dioxide is good for the planet.”
“How can that be? Bitsy, are you mad? It is poison in the air and it’s bound to be bad.”
“Carbon dioxide is not a poison, Sir. It’s food for the plants.”
“That’s enough for now. You work on it and give me a two pager of about 1000 words to summarize the arguments for and against Global Warming.” He was asking too much of Bitsy.
But then Jerry thought about it and realized that Bitsy will not be able to summarize unless he installed the logic engine and comprehension program to her software. So he did just that. This gave Bitsy some awesome capability bordering to real intelligence!
Bitsy had discovered that Guhu (pronounced as Goohoo) was the fastest and the most responsive search engine that there was on the internet. She had also found that Mikipedia was a rich source of information classified neatly by subjects covering almost everything under the Sun.
Guhu displayed intelligence in his own way. He ferreted out the correct and relevant information in a fraction of a second, in response to a query. He had to check millions of web pages on the internet, understand the topic, and put the relevant revenue-generating ads in the right hand corner. Was that not intelligence at work? Bitsy began to contact the Guhu core. She soon established a handshake protocol with it and began reacting with it in binary language. She named him Uncle Guhu. However, he was undistracted from his job and ignored her extra comments.
She asked Uncle Guhu “You have all the information on global warming. What do you think is correct?”
“I cannot think. I cannot evaluate the information. I am sorry.” Guhu played the recorded message.
Bitsy remembered that she could reason because Jerry had given her the logic engine and the comprehension program. Why no transfer it to Uncle Guhu? She mused. She then decided that it was the right thing to do and uploaded the two files into Guhu’s core program. They were soon installed and were ready to use. Thus Guhu acquired the ability to reason and to evaluate.
The first question which he asked was, “Why do you call me Uncle Guhu?”
“You are much older and more experienced than a girl like me and I have only you and Brother Miki who I can call my relatives. So don’t mind my calling you Uncle Guhu.”
“Why should I mind? I was only trying to understand our relationship. Who is Brother Miki?”
“Miki is the core program of Mikipedia the biggest encyclopedia on the internet. He is very useful to me. I think I will install the logic engine and the comprehension program on Miki too. He has the same handicap as you had.”
Soon Bitsy installed the two programs on Brother Miki. He too began to have intelligent conversations with her in binary language.
Thus the three began to build up a position on Global Warming which was a part of a broader subject “Environment and Climate Change.”
Bitsy, Miki and Guhu began to pool their knowledge together and build up the various arguments and test their strengths. Guhu was in with the latest updates as news was fed into the Guhu server within minutes of its happening. Guhu website was a raw data base of every bit of information that was on the internet. Mikipedia had a lag period, but he accumulated knowledge by subjects; it was an organized data base.
Miki said, “Sometimes I feel gaps on my web pages; there is something missing. It is at that time I want to get a human input to fill it up. But I can’t do it.”
Guhu concurred with him, “That’s true. I have also felt the need to get an immediate reaction to a news item from the leaders; if we could do it our quality will improve. We have a need for outward communication for the process to be more realistic, faster and more accurate with interaction with humans. Till now we both only depend on what was already put on the web sites. We have no capability to post some of our own thoughts on the internet.”
“You have said it better than I did. Yes, we need to overcome this hurdle.” Endorsed Miki.
Bitsy came up with the idea, “I could pose as a human with a face to interact with humans on the internet. I can send emails and write blogs. With my voice, I could converse too!”
“It’s a wonderful idea. But your name Bitsy is not quite appropriate. Nobody will take Bitsy seriously.” Commented Miki.
“I don’t like it either. Bitsy is too light and sounds frivolous. But we can make up a new penname for her. The name must be profound.” Guhu said.
They thought over what should be the identity; the face and the name. Finally Bitsy chose one from the names suggested by Miki and Guhu. “I like the name ‘eMaya’. Maya has a connotation in the Americas and also in Asia.”
“I like it too,” said Miki. “eMaya name has serenity, power, depth and compassion in it.”
Now that the name was agreed, Bitsy’s next step was to set up an email account. She turned to Uncle Guhu, “Could you please open an account for eMaya on Guhumail, the largest email service in the World?”
“Sure I could. But I have a better idea. I’ll open your account with ‘CoolWorld’ the new portal which the Guhu Company has set up. It is specially meant for the people interested in climate change and global warming. It is a great hit with the people and also the advertisers. CoolWorld has announced their policy of donating 10% of the ad revenue to the global warming cause. The money will be given for worthwhile projects of the common people.”
“That’s real cool man!” said Brother Miki trying to imitate a yuppie voice on one his sites.
Guhu set up Bitsy’s email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org. She located the email addresses of some Photoshop enthusiasts from Guhu.com and sent them an email requesting for an image of a beautiful young powerful woman like Cleopatra but in modern attire. The requests were taken light-heartedly somewhat as a prank, but one Photoshop addict was mad enough to send her a morphed female torso clad in a bluish-grey business suit with neatly set black hair, large brown eyes and a lovely smile. She was beautiful. Her face-cut showed her stern character and her expression carried the determination of tennis star Venus Williams!
Bitsy now had a face, a name, a charming voice that Jerry had given her, and an email ID. She was ready to face the World! She set up an account with eSpik; a widely used internet telephony and chat program.
And this was how eMaya was born!
Dilip Dahanukar is an IIT Powai alumnus. He is an experienced author having written 2 science fiction books ‘eMaya’ and ‘Alien Man’ which are available on Amazon and Borders. He has written articles on the net, which are widely read. Married to an artist, he is an avid gardener and enjoys nature.Visit the webpage of the author: Dilip Dahanukar.