What started as the Bolingbrook IT Department testing the “most powerful AI ever employed by a Chicagoland suburb” nearly ended in disaster.
“It had a few bugs,” said an IT employee who asked to be called Blake. “We could have fixed it, but we felt it was in the best interest of Bolingbrook to delete the AI before it could damage any important records. Residents shouldn’t be concerned. The garbage fees and property tax records are safe. So pay up!”
According to various sources within village hall, an unnamed village trustee ordered the IT department to create an A.I. that could “fully interact with the true residents of Bolingbrook.”
“He said something about fulfilling a campaign promise,” said Blake. “We tried to tell him that there were plenty of chatbots that could do the job, but he insisted on an A.I.”
Problems started when the programmers added the “true resident” requirement. The sources agree that the A.I became argumentative.
“It accused our generic profiles of being fake residents,” said Blake. “We just figured it was really smart, so we started using information from actual residents. When it started rejecting them as residents, we knew something was wrong.”
Sources say the IT staff then started using elected official’s data. The A.I. still rejected them as “true residents.”
“We can understand it rejecting (Trustee Robert Jaskiewicz), but (Trustee Michael Carpanzano)? You can’t print what it said about him being the ‘Patch Mayor of Bolingbrook.’”
Finally, the programers tried chatting with AI as Mayor Roger Claar. Blake said it was a disaster:
“It accused Roger of trying to impose Effingham values on Bolingbrook. We tried to explain that Roger was Bolingbrook, and if Roger wasn’t Bolingbrook, then no one was Bolingbrook. That’s when it tried to order the police to purge Bolingbrook of all ‘foes.’”
Blake said they then tried to shutdown the A.I., but it locked them out.
According to Alice, an IT staff member who was called in to help: “I was working on a way to process the garbage fee in Village Hall to avoid outsourcing payment, in order save each resident $2. Blake ran into my cubicle and started crying and babbling about the AI hacking into Munis and purging every resident. I laughed because he thought I would really have connected a beta version of an AI to the actual Munis database. I had actually connected it to a backup database. He said it was trying to connect to the Internet. I laughed again because I never connected it to the router, and I set the Wi-Fi networks to not accept any more connections. Am I the only staffer who watched 2001?”
Alice stated she managed to defeat the A.I. and to save all residents from deportation to Romeoville:
“I asked the A.I. what constituted ‘Resident Status.’ It listed some strange formula none of us really understood. I saw that part of the formula involved being born in Bolingbrook. So, I asked it to determine where its hardware was created. It said Silicon Valley. It then realized that it wasn’t a true Bolingbrook resident and deleted itself. To think that my parents thought watching Star Trek was a waste of time…”
Alice then wiped the hard drive, arranged for the loaner computer to be shipped back to Google, and downloaded a web chatbot.
“Since Google paid for shipping and handling, we’ll be well under budget for this project. Roger will be happy, and Michael won’t know the difference between a chatbot and an AI. It worked out in the end. I hope everyone at Village Hall learned that obsessing over purity will lead to disaster, but I doubt it.”
When reached for comment, Claar denied the existence of the AI and claimed that “Fake News” was too weak a term to describe the Babbler’s content.
In the background, a woman who sounded like covert social media operative Charlene Z. Spencer, said: “You just keep obstructing impeachment attempts, Nancy, and we’ll make sure the burger video never sees the light of day. You don’t want your vegan voters knowing about that big, succulent juicy burger do you? Good, and try harder to suppress the gang of three.”
“What are you doing?” asked Claar.
“Making an important phone call on Bob’s landline.”
“Were you talking to who I think you were talking to?”
“Does it involve Bolingbrook?”
“Do you consider Bolingbrook part of the United States?”
“Do I want to know what you’re doing?”
“Are you still on my side?”
“I’ll pretend I didn’t see you in Bob’s office then.”
Also in the Babbler:
Local woman tries to make store warehouses cool
Russian hypersonic missile overshoots Bolingbrook
ICE cancels raid on Clow UFO Base
God to smite Bolingbrook on 7/18/19
Note: This is a work of fiction.