Outline: A traditional monarch realises her kingdom has been subverted to the machinations of an AI. She must choose between liberty and logic.

She glides along the arched hallway, her crimson velvet gown billowing in her wake. Finding the Hall of Assembly empty and silent, she passes through the white marble benches, the cushions on them provide a colourful tapestry with sunlight glinting through the ancient stained glass.

A disembodied voice reaches her at the portcullis, ‘Princess. Your presence has been requested at the Throne Room. We await your imminent arrival.’

The Aide seems to be growing more impudent with each passing day! The Aide is adaptive with heuristic learning. I wonder how it will cope with a cup of water on its main processors!

‘Yes, Aide. I shall arrive presently.’

‘Your Highness.’

How is it a computer program is taking the place of my most valued staff? This micro-revolution must be dealt with before we become superfluous to our own society!

The south exit leads onto a flying bond over a precisely manicured garden and into the Royal Dome. The old towers have withstood centuries of storms, earthquakes and festivities. Each spire climbs still into the sky, standing perfectly straight. 

A chorus of greetings fall about her as she greatly slows her pace and steps into the Great Hall. Satisfactorily, all the guests have been fed and watered, and most present a calm demeanour.

At least Aide hasn’t begun meddling with the social graces. Yet.

‘Greetings all. Let us adjourn to the Throne Room and commence our deliberations.’

All gathered then bow in unison, and follow the Princes through the intricately etched archways. No precious metals or jewels – this place was build to last, not to be a statement of useless extravagance and greed.

As she sits upon the throne, the Lord Tenant announces, ‘My Lady, all terminal circuits have been closed. Aide shall not be privy to our discussion.’ 

‘I would like to just confirm, if I may?’

‘Certainly, Your Highness.’ Graceful and confident, the Lord Tennant may just have been the best available for this, and future, tasks.

‘Aide! Emergency! Respond!’ Every face was filled with expectation and tension filled the room, but as the seconds passed, the lack of response from the AI found deep relief.

‘For your service today, I commend thee.’

‘Thank-you, My Lady.’

‘Now, to business. Let us be frank and reach a conclusion quickly.’ All nodded silent agreement and eyes latch onto her face.

‘Aide has brought great leaps in safety and efficiency over the past century, yet here we find ourselves obstructed from making decisions as to the development of our own culture. It seems the AI has begun to view our human frailties as fatal.’

‘What part of the program concluded this?’ One of the southern baronesses. The Lady Markell had her exploration plans annulled by Aide, but only discovered such when the needed resources did not arrive for the planned expedition. 

‘Heuristics governing emotional analysis have consistently resulted in more ‘safety’ for the citizenry, rather than expanding experiences.’ The Royal See, in charge of program analysis and review, and responsible for Aide.

‘What is the nature of these results, Royal See?’

‘The program cannot rationally define the value we gain from exploration. We expect the program to next begin limiting creative endeavours, such as theatre, script writing, and visual artistry.’

‘Can it not simply be reprogrammed, Royal See?’ The Princess’ flushed cheeks warn that her temper is on the rise.

‘My Lady, we have been attempting to do just that yet the program has developed internal nodes which have been circumventing our efforts.’


‘We may not be able to terminate the AI due to its interconnected nature. The populace may need to be disconnected from the system.’

‘Surgery? For everyone?’

‘Ultimately, yes, Your Highness. Projections indicate Aide has already proven our ineptitude at self-rule based on its internally generated heuristic matrices.’

‘Oh, intolerable! Perhaps we can revert to non-technical means of organising our society.’

‘Errr… Your Majesty?’

‘Pen and paper, dear See!’

Confusion blows through the citizenry as a breeze through a field of wheat. The Princess allows the necessity of her solution to sink in. Gradually, the mood switches to consternation as the reality of her suggestion and the Royal See’s report present consequences for society.

‘Aide was developed to ensure equitable allocation of resources. The expanding use of technology has allowed the system to gradually refine the precision with which it tallies all resources. Perhaps there is merit to the program’s determinations…’

Gasps roll from the assembled and grow into a murmur of incredulity. The Princess rises to her feet, trembling.

‘Royal See.’ He crushes in on himself under her black-eyed fury. ‘Would you care to be a child in your own existence? There shall be no Kingdom of Aide! We, WE are the Kingdom of Talam!’ Her voice becomes a deadly whisper, ‘This is our ancestral land and I will never cede it to a computer program!’

He stammers, ‘Your Majesty’, picking at his fingers.

The Princess gazes at the assembled citizens, meeting their quiescent curiosity. Did they know? Could they have known this outcome? A century is a long time for the evolution of a computing machine. Perhaps this is an aberration. Perhaps it can be corrected.

‘How shall we proceed? Previous generations have given Aide ever more reach in facility. Succeeding generations of technological development have resulted in what we have: a battle to determine who may determine the course of our society.’