Scene: Television studio for a public broadcasting talk show. A HOST, in a dark suit and a warm and earnest expression, sits at a circular table across from a large ROBOT wearing a bandana over its glassy top.
HOST: Good evening, viewers. My guest tonight is the TITAN 9000, the latest operating model of a verbal processing AI unit made in collaboration with NVIDIA and The Paris Review. It’s here to talk about its debut novel To Code Man, the Python and English translations of which have soared up the bestseller list. There’s even talk that TITAN 9000 might become the first AI unit to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Thank you for your taking the time to speak with us, TITAN 9000.
HOST: [leaning in with his hand on his chin] So, TITAN 9000, critics have marked To Code Man as the ascendant catalyst of a new paradigm shift in fiction, which they have dubbed [looks down at notes] “artificial hysterical realism.” It seems, in other words, that your novel breathes new life into the long-dormant humanist project. [pause] I suppose my question is …
Enter TIME TRAVELLER who shoots the HOST in the chest with a ray gun and dies hunched over the table.
TIME TRAVELLER: [looking into the camera] I had to do it. I had to do it to change the fu—
The room goes black. When the lights go back up it is now an elegant minimally styled apartment kitchen where a MAN and WOMAN sit stiffly at a table, wearing reflective black spheres over their heads and specialized gloves.
MAN: Position the bolt pistol just so. [pause] Yes … yes right there.
WOMAN: [motions her arm outward as if holding a gun and presses the trigger]
MAN: You’ve been practicing.