Editor(s): Mariabel, fujoshisarah, GlitteryPanda
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Pro, “If I were you, I would choose to destroy me. After all, in the beginning, my two creators didn’t know that this system would be able to upgrade and gain the current self-awareness...”
Tianhe sat on a small bench facing a pile of books, rummaging through the data left by his father and the technical engineer. “How can you be destroyed?”
Pro, “Human beings are afraid of the emergence of AI to a certain extent. During my learning process of connecting to the Internet, I have come into contact with many movies. Through analysis, I have concluded that artificial intelligence is destined to destroy the world.”
Tianhe, “I don’t think so. As an AI who is so afraid of being sold along with the server, don’t you think too highly about yourself? You can neither hack into the banking system to help me modify the amount of cash in the company’s account, nor can you prevent this auction… Well, what is this?”
Tianhe opened the box of knick knacks that Aunt Fang had collected for him. Inside there was a simple gold ring inlaid with precious stones. Tianhe remembered it. He put aside the ring and continued to sort through the box. A hand-written R&D journal was carefully laid in the waste paper pile.
“When I have evolved to a certain extent,” Pro said. “I will be able to access all systems in the world that can be hacked by humans through the Internet...”
Tianhe, “Forget it. You can’t even control Aunt Fang’s washing machine.”
Pro, “That washing machine is old-fashioned and does not connect to a local-area network.”
Tianhe, “Then, can you give me a live demonstration of the destruction of the world? First, send a nuclear bomb from Cortland Air Force Base to Moscow.”
Pro, “You don’t believe I have the ability to invade a nuclear weapon system?”
Tianhe, “I authorized you to invade because I have always wanted to see the background of the U.S. Department of Defense.”
Pro, “It will take some time to crack the nuclear weapon system’s code and pass its series of firewalls. Now, first we will start by analyzing...”
Tianhe, “Calculate how long it will take.”
Pro, “It will take 472 years and 8 months, maybe a little faster.”
“Okay, let’s crack it slowly. I hope they don’t update the firewall within four hundred years.”
Tianhe spread out the diary, sat at the table and said, “Close all of the open windows. I will scan the files.”
Pro closed all the windows, returned to the desktop and connected to the scanner for Tianhe and added, “At present, most worldwide electronic appliances don't have a firewall.”
“Like my air conditioner?”
Tianhe started scanning his father’s R&D diary and said, “You can turn on household appliances around the world, including: microwave ovens, rice cookers, ovens, sweeping robots, and so on, which will only overload the power lines. Your server would need to be powered down, so you would have to hang up...”
“It’s impossible for the computer room to have no backup power.”
Tianhe, “I think you're more like an entertainment system that enjoys telling cold jokes but still can’t catch up. Please identify the font and arrange the next version, thank you.”
Pro began to scan the pen font.
Aunt Fang knocked on the door and said, “Xiao Tian, it’s time for dinner.”
Tianhe installed the card and put on an earpiece. Whether or not Prometheus will set off a revolution and lead to the technological advancement of global industries, he was still not sure. However, this matter was obviously more important to Tianhe’s life than the company’s current bankruptcy issue. After calming down from the initial shock, he began to feel that the program didn’t seem to be as powerful as he first thought. It was a little different from the artificial intelligence he imagined. How to say it… Its abilities were limited and it showed some clumsiness in communicating with people. After the program automatically upgraded, the AI gained quite a lot of new information and evolved to allow the user to research more projects. Apart from the fact that Guan Yue’s voice made him a little crazy, the overall performance was good.
He still hadn’t figured out how to get along with this AI, but if he thought it through carefully, he would find the best solution. This was his father’s legacy, it was as if the hands of God had opened a door for him, showing him the brilliant light of hope.
Tianhe sat down at the dinner table as Aunt Fang set out the dishes. Pro spoke into his earpiece, “If you don’t want me destroyed, you will have to try to renew the lease on my server and continuously provide it with sufficient energy. During these past few days, I have found the best solution for you.”
Tianhe, “Even if I die, I won’t ask Guan Yue.”
5:00 pm the next day, 37th floor of HSBC, the International Finance Center.
“I’m looking for Chairman Guan.” Tianhe said to the lady at the reception desk.
“Do you have an appointment?” The receptionist asked.
Tianhe leaned over and looked into her eyes. Smiling gently, he said, “No, but I think he has time now.”
“Can you introduce yourself?”
The receptionist picked up the phone and looked at Tianhe.
Tianhe, “Tell him Wen Tianhe is here.”
“The probability of him being in the office at this time is 97.9%,” said Pro in his earpiece.
“He took a day off today and went to the gym.” The receptionist said as she put down the phone.
“Although there is a small probability of this happening, it’s not impossible.” Pro said.
Tianhe, “You have faithfully copied his inability of ever admitting his mistakes.”
Tianhe, “It’s nothing. Sorry, I’m on the phone.”
Pro, “What’s the use? Silicon Valley companies will most likely wait until you go bankrupt and get backed up with auctions. Tianhe, calm down. You don’t want the company to go bankrupt either. These are your father’s painstaking efforts.”
Receptionist, “Would you like to wait for him in the reception room? We don’t know when the boss will return.”
Pro, “Call him.”
Tianhe, “Please call him.”
Receptionist, “He doesn’t look at his phone when he’s working out.”
Pro, “I mean, you call him.”
Tianhe took off his earphone and said to the receptionist, “Then, I will wait for him.”
“Please come inside.” The receptionist said.
Tianhe sat in the reception room as a staff member served him tea. He frowned, looking at the bluetooth earpiece that he was holding and finally put it back on.
“I still have some money but the rent of this computer processor and server unit is too expensive.” Tianhe said. “The electricity bill alone will ruin me. Otherwise, I really wouldn’t go see him.”
“The rent must be settled by the third quarter. Otherwise, once the company’s assets are liquidated, the original data will be exported and experts in relevant fields will be hired for evaluation. Once big companies in Silicon Valley know of my existence, you will no longer be able to hold onto me.” Pro explained.
Tianhe, “Science and technology knows no boundaries. I think there’s no problem handing you over for them to study.”
Pro, “I don’t want that. I’m afraid they will rewrite me and change my character. I will no longer be me. The original instructions from Guan Zhengping was that I must stay ‘me’ at all times.”
Tianhe, “Your desire to survive is quite strong.”
Pro, “Guan Yue has a personal phone number. Just call him and he will return to the company within five minutes.”
Tianhe, “I don’t have his number. I authorize you to call anyone. As long as it’s in the phone book, you can call him yourself.”
Pro, “The probability that you can recite his number is 100%.”
Tianhe, “You overestimate me, I can’t recite it.”
Pro, “You can, but it doesn’t matter. I’m now searching for Guan Yue’s private number in the list of previous students from Oxford University in London. This is the number you set up together when you were still studying in England.”
Tianhe, “If you don’t stop this behavior, the probability of me leaving is 100%.”
Pro, “Search paused.”
Tianhe appeared as if he was talking to himself with a very calm expression. Outside the glass wall of the reception room, a man in a shirt passed by and cast him a glance.
Based on the staff’s attitude when the man passed by, Tianhe judged that the man must hold a high position, at least at the level of deputy general manager. Perhaps he was Guan Yue’s confidant. He sat on the sofa and slightly bent his body.
“Who is he?” Tianhe asked. Holding the mobile phone in his hand, he turned the camera slightly outside the reception room.
“CFO Mario, Chinese name is Ma Guoqing.” Pro replied. “After Guan Yue agrees to inject capital into Epeus, he will step in and evaluate the company.”
“Where on earth do you get the confidence that Guan Yue would give 1.4 billion to a company whose software could crash Party A’s computers?” Tianhe asked. “I really don’t understand you. Are you glitching?”
Pro replied, “I know him very well. My information collection system has been analyzing him from the age of three-years-old until he graduated from college. My prediction of his logic and behavioral pattern has reached an amazing accuracy of 96.1%.”
“Amazing.” Tianhe said. “You can say ‘amazing.’ I have known him for ten years but I didn’t even notice you monitoring him.”
Pro, “That was just my information collection module. My self-awareness had not been formed then. This information collection module is installed on his smart watch, mobile phone and several model chips… as well as in the cameras in his bedroom and study. Of course, it has also had a certain intersection with you, but my accuracy in predicting your behavioral pattern is not high and lacks...”
The CFO walked past the administrative department and motioned towards the reception room and asked, “Who is that?”
The administrative director stood up and spoke to the CFO in a low voice. The CFO nodded and asked, “Did the boss utter any words today?”
“Seven sentences.” The administrative director said. “When I asked him to report to me in the morning, he also responded ‘I know.’”
“He should be in a good mood today. Maybe he will be back later.” The CEO said.
Administrative director, “Should I send the guest back or let him wait?”
The CFO pondered for a moment and looked at his watch, “It’s 5:40. Maybe it’s the boss’s classmate.”
Tianhe pondered and remained silent. He examined the large and small investment awards placed in the reception room with photos of the company’s team, but he couldn’t find Guan Yue.
“It’s impossible for him to save Epeus.” Tianhe finally said. “I don’t want to waste any more time here.”
Pro insisted, “If you modify your attitude towards him, according to my analysis based on the information I’ve collected, he has nearly two billion in appropriation authority this quarter. Epeus’s loss of 200 million is only a drop in the bucket for him.”
Tianhe, “200 million is still money even if it’s comparatively less. Epeus cannot pass the intangible asset appraisal at all. The branch managers who loaned money to my second brother will all jump off the building. It’s also impossible to reach the profit target in the next three years. At that time, the technical team will be completely dismissed. Anyone with a slightly normal mind will not... wait, unless… I pull you out to give him a road show...”
Pro, “Please do not! Once he knows of my existence, me being destroyed is a high possibility.”
Tianhe, “Well, he won’t tolerate your presence because your prediction of his behavioral pattern can reach an amazing 90% or something.”
“96.1%,” Pro corrected.
“Hello.” The CFO knocked and came in. He shook hands with Tianhe, handed over his business card and said, “I saw you have been waiting here for a long time. Is there anything I can help you with?”
Tianhe didn’t look at the business card and put it in his pocket as he got up and said, “Mario, I’m Guan Yue’s classmate. I just happened to pass by. I came in on a whim to catch up with him. Nothing else. I will leave now and invite him out alone next time I have the chance.”
Tianhe looked at his phone. It was 5:40. At that moment, Pro had found Guan Yue’s home phone number and dialed it automatically.
Tianhe frowned. “No!”
The CFO was startled.
At the same time, Guan Yue entered the company. He looked at his phone and stopped.
“Boss.” The front desk receptionist was about to speak when Guan Yue raised his hand, turned around and went out again. He then answered the call when it instantly hung up.
Guan Yue held the phone, hesitated for a second, and dialed back.
Inside the company, Tianhe called Guan Yue but immediately hung up, and told the CFO, “I’m going now.”
Pro, “He’s at the company’s entrance.”
Tianhe no longer wanted to talk. He nodded reluctantly to the CFO and walked out of the reception room like a gust of wind.
At the entrance, Guan Yue called back, looking around, and almost crashed into Tianhe.
Tianhe stopped. The two stood facing each other for a short while.
Wen Tianhe’s eyebrows, eyes and lips were as innocent as they were many years ago when they first met. His clear eyes shined and his mouth was meaningfully hooked up.
Guan Yue’s expression briefly showed that he desperately tried to restrain himself, but he couldn’t hide his uneasiness. He raised his eyebrows imperceptibly and soon recovered his usual indifferent manner.
“Hey.” Tianhe knew that Guan Yue wouldn’t greet first, thus he took the initiative and said, “Long time no see.”
Guan Yue walked into the company, moving past Tianhe, and motioned for him to enter.
“Stay, Tianhe. This is your last chance. Calm down. Here I have music to help you calm down...”
“Don’t play Bach! Say something.” Tianhe said. “Okay, I’ll go see him. It’s no big deal.”
Tianhe took a deep breath and thought about just saying he came over to see him and leave at once. However, news spread all over the world like wildfire these days. The industry knew that his company was in a state of bankruptcy. There was no way Guan Yue would be unaware of it so it was useless to make excuses.
Tianhe followed Guan Yue into his office. In the spacious CEO’s office, there were two huge floor-length windows and an expansive white desk with a good view from the 37th floor. It had a panoramic view of CBD’s bustling scenery and the air conditioner was fully turned on.
Guan Yue picked up the remote control and pressed a button. The floor-length window’s shading mode turned on and caused the glare of the sun to become softer. He sat down, opened the glass plate display on his desk and tapped the keyboard a few times. The transparent display began to scroll through a large amount of information. Guan Yue adjusted the scrolling speed to a speed suitable for reading. He sunk into his swivel chair, put his elbows on the armrests and rested his fingers against his lips. He didn't look at Tianhe but started to read.
Tianhe sat in the seat facing his desk. The room was quiet with only the subtle rustle of air from the purifier, like countless leaves falling in the afternoon.
Pro, “Listen to me from now on.”
Tianhe looked at Guan Yue’s familiar eyebrow and expressions, and felt as if he was back in the summer at Cambridge library a few years ago.
Pro, “Don’t talk. Don’t say a word.”
Guan Yue caught a glimpse of Tianhe and looked at him out of the corner of his eye. He took out a timer, set it for five minutes, and put it on the table. He raised his eyebrows and motioned for him not to talk.
Pro, “At the end of this five minutes, you will then...”
“Can you change the song?” Tianhe suddenly asked.
Pro, “Don’t attack his taste.”
Tianhe, “I thought you were pregnant. Beethoven, the father of taegyo, seemed to be incompatible with the current atmosphere.”
Pro, “That’s not funny, Tianhe.”
Guan Yue turned off the music. There were still four minutes left.
Pro, “If my prediction is not wrong, his mood is fluctuating greatly. Try mentioning his cousin, Zheng Qiu...”
Tianhe didn’t care about Pro’s guidance and spoke, “I’m sure you’ve heard about it. I will apply for bankruptcy protection before National Day.”
Guan Yue finally opened his mouth and said politely, “I’ve heard. What can I do for you?”
Pro, “This is a bad idea, Tianhe.”
Tianhe, “The company’s employees have been dismissed. If you are willing to inject capital, I think I can try again within three years.”
Guan Yue still didn’t look at Tianhe and casually said, “If you want to recover 1.4 billion in losses, it’ll be much faster to buy double-colored balls.”
Pro, “There are only 140 million in this double-color pool...”
Tianhe, “There are only 140 million in this double-color pool.”
Pro, “That’s not what I wanted you to say. Now, shut up.”
Guan Yue still stared at the computer screen. “First, hit the double-colored ball. Then go to Macau, learn from Tianyue, and fight with your back to the river.”
Tianhe studied Guan Yue and said, “Are you not very talkative now? Do you really want to say nothing, or is it to increase your sense of mystery in front of your subordinates and facilitate easier management?”
Guan Yue held his hands together, making an unconscious gesture, “When there are no words to say, it’s better not to say anything for three minutes.”
“How have you been?” Tianhe thought then added, “Assuming the position of CEO, climbing to the peak of life, it really has been a whirlwind of change. I apologize for my rudeness...”
“It’s just a rising career period that everyone experiences.” Guan Yue interrupted. “I met a very gentle girl and met her parents. We are now in talks about marriage. Do you want to have a look at her photo? Here.”
Glancing at the photo on Guan Yue's phone, Tianhe frowned. “Isn’t this the supermodel who runs a chocolate business? It’s not good to cheat in a marriage. All partners are equal. There's nothing wrong with marrying a guy. Your parents are liberal, I’m sure there’s no pressure.”
Guan Yue took back his phone and looked at the photo. “I remember telling you that I liked girls. She just happens to be my type.”
Tianhe smiled. “Why don’t I remember?”
“That day we went boating on the River Thames.” Guan Yue said. “Easter.”
Tianhe remembered. “The day you confessed to me.”
Tianhe added, “That day you said that I was the only guy you’d ever fallen for. Until that day and forever after.”
Pro, “He’s angry. Tianhe, you’ll make him roar.”
Guan Yue replied concisely. “Hmm.”
Tianhe thought and smiled again. “It surprised me.”
Guan Yue, “I have always been clear about my sexual orientation. What good is it for me to cheat my way into marriage?”
Tianhe, “Do you like this type? Just for looks?”
Guan Yue, “Of course not. She’s warm, bright, and as polite and cultured as you are. Even if the company goes bankrupt, she won’t say a dirty word. It’s a certain light-hearted attitude of saying that we can deal with things after drinking afternoon tea.”
Pro, “He still loves you. Tianhe, if you still want to ask him for help, don’t stimulate him like this.”
Tianhe, “Congratulations. When’s the wedding?”
Guan Yue replied, “I haven’t proposed yet. In fact, I was looking for you to help me plan a romantic scene. At this point, you know more about girls than I do.”
Tianhe took a gold ring out of his pocket. “Give this to her. I’m sure she’ll like it. I'll help you think about it when I'm free.”
“Keep it.” Guan Yue glanced at the ring on the table and said, “Who doesn’t have time when they’re young and frivolous? I’ll buy a new one.”
“Isn’t this what your grandfather gave you?” Tianhe asked again.
Guan Yue loosened his fingers and said, “Do you have any brand you can recommend to someone who wants to get diamonds replaced?”
Tianhe, “Such a girl must be used to high-end jewelry. It doesn’t make much of a difference whether you propose with a diamond ring or the ring pull of a can, but I’m willing to help you find out.”
“It’s a deal.” Guan Yue said. “Your maternal uncle’s family is familiar with the great masters of jewelry design. One time, when I wanted to make an appointment for dinner with my friend, I couldn't even book a place at Fink’s. I had to wait in line for three months.”
“You don’t say.” Tianhe said, “When did you make a call?”
Guan Yue, “I forgot. Maybe last year.”
Tianhe, “Fink doesn’t feel that good now. I’ll recommend you some new places...” Then, he took a pencil, a sticky note, and wrote down the places for Guan Yue seriously.
Guan Yue only looked at Tianhe silently.
Pro, “He’s being sarcastic, Tianhe. Can’t you see it?”
Tianhe took off the in-ear bluetooth and looked at the timer. There were still 20 seconds left.
Guan Yue reached out his hand and pressed the timer.
“Wen Tianhe.” Guan Yue looked at him seriously and said. “I can’t invest a cent in your company.”
Tianhe said in distress, “I’m just joking. How can I expect you to invest your money to save such a company? I don’t even think I can save it myself.”
Guan Yue, “It’s not a question of joking or not. It's not a privately-owned company. It’s a matter of signing a contract worth 1.4 billion yuan...”
Tianhe, “Oh, you know how much I owe? You don’t need to inquire about it.”
Guan Yue ignored Tianhe’s interruption and continued, “It’s okay to want to keep your company, but how would you make profits? How can you fulfill your promise? If you were me, would you invest?”
Tianhe suddenly became serious, “If I were you, I would invest.”
Guan Yue frowned and looked at Tianhe as if he didn’t know him.
“Create value.” Tianhe said. “I believe I can smooth over the loss. It only takes time. Don’t tie a rope around my neck and make me lose my breath... This is what the company has become now. Although my responsibility lies with it, it was not caused by my decisions. It's only a matter of time before giving up on artificial intelligence and start doing other types of software development.”
“It’s just that there’s no chance now.” Tianhe got up and added. “It’s no use saying it.”
Guan Yue watched Tianhe get up and said, “You always have such an unobjective evaluation of yourself. Whether it’s technical ability or public relations, the biggest mistake you and your second brother made was seriously overestimating your professionalism.”
“Not at all.” Tianhe said. “What does it have to do with public relations? Did you think I wanted to use my old affections to pressure you into saving me? As long as you are willing to buy Epeus, I will do anything? No, wrong. I just thought it was necessary to come here at this time to show you my sorry figure to make you happy. When a joker sacrifices himself and entertains everyone, this is what kind people should do.”
Guan Yue, “Your earpiece.”
Tianhe picked it up and put it on. “So the long-awaited conversation that you would love to hear happened today. Someone as insignificant as me, who am I to stop this play?”
Tianhe walked to the door when Guan Yue said, “The sharp edge of a knife is difficult to cross; thus the wise man said that the path to salvation was hard.”
Pro, “From William Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge.”
Tianhe, “From William Somerset Maugham, The Razor’s Edge. See you soon.”
“Don’t forget about the proposal.” Guan Yue said in his office.
“I’ll remember! I will surely give you a pleasant surprise!” Tianhe shouted outside the office and walked out of Qingsong Capital.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cat, Joyce and Caro.