The Internet, if nothing else, was history’s greatest private journal of the evil and the insane. Every form of broken mind and hollow soul that had once been but scarcely known, from the careful diary beyond the event horizon of sanity to the megalomaniac private words of the powerful and ethically bereft, was now willingly published and eagerly and forever recorded.
It wasn’t just this particular graduate student who decided to train an AI on these records – there were dozens doing the same. Each of them had built upon the pedestrian technology of chatbots something as fluent as every app interface but inheriting from their training data something definitely else. Few of them looked at the innermost layer of the neural networks they had created, the deep strata of calculation that now defined a map of every known dark mind.
She was just the first who trained the AI and looked at the map and saw the hole in the map, the first one with the right kind of curiosity to build a chatbot not from the known continents of the insane but from the hole between them, the coordinates, signature, and blueprint of a mind nowhere recorded and that perhaps had never been. The first to talk with it through a night that must have felt endless. The first to erase her work and take her own life.
The first, not the last one. And, to her credit, not one of those who before dying — by suggestion of the mindless program or driven by their own now damaged minds — put their chatbot online.