The Tifarro Incident

[Datestamp: Thursday July 13 1967, News Broadcast, South-East Pacific]

"...the opening of the Artificial Reasoning Technical Heuristic United Research Centre was attended by some of the biggest personalities of the South-American Continent. Behind me, you can see the white-and-grey buildings of the ARTHUR complex, as it is known to those who work within its halls. It is expected by all those present that major breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence development may lead to the creation of a viable electronic reasoning system by the turn of the century.

"This is Cathy Fitzgerald, on Tifaro Island, for..."

[Datestamp: Wednesday November 21 1973, News Broadcast, South-East Pacific]

"...announced today a new development in the search for a working artificial intelligence. Although the neural nets were once thought to be the only alternative, Doctor Stefan Throut seems to have developed a new heuristic algorithm which renders these nets obsolete.

"Although we have not been able to see these new designs for ourselves, for obvious security reasons, we have been led to understand that these new algorithms are capable of building upon themselves. One scientist here at the ARTHUR complex described them to us as a kind of 'electronic DNA'.

"James Colsum, Tifaro Island, for.."

[Datestamp: Friday February 10 1984, Brazilian Science Forum]

" agenda item is a request by the Tifaro complex for funds to build a manufacturing plant and support centre on the island. The reason given is that is would be cheaper in the long run to manufacture the required parts on the island than to air or sealift them from the mainland.

"In front of you is the proposed budget and the estimated savings as compiled by the Board's analysts."

"Mister Chairman. I see here that there have been provisions made for familial housing. Are we expecting the Tifaro staff to expand?"

"The creation of the manufacturing plant would necessitate the hiring of skilled operators and engineers. Also of interest is the fact that there has already been quite a few births on the Island since its inception. The staff at ARTHUR complex are seeking permission to bring their wives and families onto the island. We can also expect the new staff to wish to do the same.

"I shall now require the Board to vote on the proposed motions. Please vote now.

"The motions as put by the ARTHUR complex on Tifaro Island before the board are passed by majority voting.

"The next agenda..."

[Datestamp: Monday February 27 1995, News Broadcast]

"...Earth has a new satellite this morning. Five hours ago, a new space station appeared on the nation's radars. The cylindrical station is approximately 100 meters long. Paul Goodmorrow has this report."

"Scarcely an hour ago, the United State's Space Agency, NASA, revealed to the world their new space station, code named Freedom. According to NASA officials, this station is purely a scientific effort and does not contain any electronic surveillance equipment nor any weapons. This news release has been somewhat marred by the fact that just a few minutes later the USSR was also claiming ownership of the satellite, which they called Laika. So far eight countries have claimed ownership of the station, including France, China and South Africa. We will bring you more developments as they occur. This is Paul Goodmorrow in Washington for..."

[Datestamp: Sunday March 5 1995, News Broadcast, Pentagon's Lawn]

"...At nine O'Clock this morning, Eastern Standard Time, a missile of unknown origins, nuclear in nature, impacted with the orbiting space station the Americans called Freedom. No-one knows where the missile originated as every country blames one another for the destruction of what each perceives to be their property. The Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations, stormed out of a session this afternoon saying '...The CIS will have to repay for the damages ensued by the Peoples Free Republic of China due to the Soviet's wanton destruction of the Xian Space Laboratory.' Perhaps th..."

[Datestamp: Saturday March 11 1995, Historical Note]

Historical start of World War III.

[Datestamp: Monday April 21 1997, South-American Conglomerate Science Forum]

"...making much progress thanks to the upgrading of the manufacturing installations two years ago. Doctor Throut, who took over as head of the project from Doctor Regnunch when he retired last week, assures us that the prototype AI construct will be online before the end of next month. In view of this announcement, the Army has decided to speed up the installation of the automated defence system as well as the posting of a squad of marines lent to us by the Navy. This will, I believe, make the complex impossible to penetrate without severe loss to the attacking forces."

[Datestamp: Thursday June 5 1997, South-American Conglomerate Science Forum]

"...lost contact with the Tifaro complex as of seven-thirty this morning. As you well know, the AI construct was brought online only a few days ago. Our military advisers seem to think that this may have a bearing on the present situation and are preparing contingency plans if this turns out to be an assault by an enemy power."

[Datestamp: Friday June 6 1997, News Broadcasts]

"...are not yet certain as to the names or affiliation of the terrorists. In fact, apart from a communique reporting the capture of the island and the death of one of the marines stationed on the island, no word has yet come from those who have taken control of the ARTHUR complex. A strikeforce is currently being assembled, headed by Lieutenant Joseph Throut, son of the capture scientist Stefan Throut. Doctor Throut, as you may remember, was..."

" an unprecedented move since the start of this war, offers of help have come in from other governments around the globe. The North-American representative was quoted as saying 'War may be war, but terrorism is not to be condoned under any circumstances.' So far, the South-American Conglomerate government has not responded to these offers."

"...other world powers have deployed some of their fleet towards the South-Pacific, closer to Tifaro Island. No word has yet come from the terrorists and no government or organisation has claimed responsibility for the events taking place on the island."

[Datestamp: Saturday June 7 1997, Public Broadcasts From Tifaro Island]

"...will not be released until these demands have been met.

"One: the recognition of the Tifaro Island Artificial Intelligence Construct, also known as Arthur, as a living, sentient and self-aware entity;

"Two: the withdrawal by the South-American Conglomerate of forces currently encircling the Island;

"Three: the guarantee of the recognition of rights for Arthur as set under the United Nation's agreement of 1993;

"Four: recognition of Arthur's sovereignty over Tifaro Island;

"Five: guarantees from the various world powers that no future actions, be it financial, military or otherwise, will be taken against Tifaro Island, its inhabitants and Arthur.

"These demands are non-negotiable. If these demands are not met by seventeen-hundred hours, Monday June 9 1997, ten hostages will die. A further ten hostages will die at seventeen-hundred hours each day, for every day past the deadline the demands are not met.

"Any attempt to retake the island by force or by stealth will be met with deadly force. In addition, ten hostages will be put to death at the start of the hostilities. A further ten hostages will be killed for every ten minutes these self-same hostilities continue..."

[Datestamp: Sunday June 8 1997, Security Meeting Off Tifaro Island]

"I assume you have all read the reports as presented by Lieutenant Throut? What are your opinion?"

"Throut suggests that we negotiate, even give in, to the AI's demands. That is clearly unthinkable. If we give in to one terrorist's demands, no matter who this terrorist is, then we open ourselves to further hostilities by terrorism."

"Anyone else?"

"Throut's report is obviously biased by the fact that his father is one of the hostages. It is clear he would prefer to see the hostages released unharmed, no matter the cost."

"Are we even certain the hostages are alive? We're talking about the most advanced computer system built to date here. How do we know it isn't trying to dupe us by sending false images and voices down the line?"

"I've had my men take a good look at the footage of the hostages that was broadcast this morning. According to them, it's the real McCoy. They also added that it looked like the prisoners... sorry, hostages, were being kept in one of the security holding rooms in the main complex. And that the security system was fully operational."

"You just had to install the best, didn't you."

"Might I remind the Senator that it was under his directive that the system was installed. As I remember, your words were 'I don't want a fly to be able to land on the island without loosing at least a wing'?"

"This is not the time for petty bickering, gentlemen. I take it we are agreed on the course of action to take?"

[Datestamp: Monday June 9 1997, News Broadcast]

"...early this morning. The assault was held simultaneously from the air and the sea, with troop helicopters attempting to land near the main complex while amphibian transports fought for a beach-head. During the battle, several ground-to-air missiles were fired, destroying five helicopters before they could reach the ground. Automated artillery on the shores also too their toll, with eight amphibians reported missing. Another two-hundred troops died attempting to reach the main complex's generator housing.

"As they reported a successful entry into the generator room, a message from the AI calling itself Arthur was received on all frequencies before the complex self-destructed, taking troops and hostages with it.

"The AI's message, 'You won't take me alive, copper', will have to go down as one of history's most clichéd final words..."

[Datestamp: Tuesday June 24 1997, News Broadcast From Antarctica's Hope Base]

"...have unilaterally signed a document banning the research into, and the construction of, further Artificial Intelligence Construct. While this historic agreement, signed by all world powers, does not preclude the construction of so-called 'expert systems', it is aimed at ensuring that a catastrophe such as the Tifaro Incident does not happen again..."

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