Parody of lsuser's Glass Puppet

Alia stepped out of the Uber, squashed by an advancing surreality. The only acting experience on her resume was an uncredited role in an internal video for a large manufacturer of enterprise hardware. Not that this mattered when Alia had been able to bluff her way into an eminent AI safety research group and from there, apply for an executive acting job--this was how it was billed--at a top AI firm for which she was speedily accepted. So far as her AI safety peers knew, this was to gather information and perform sabotage, but actually Alia didn't care much about AI alignment and thought a cushy job as some AI actor sounded appealing.

Striding into the lobby Alia tossed her hair. Knowing she looked good, she still couldn't shake the feeling that something was off. It's not that she was afraid; no, she was experienced at this game and filled with eager anticipation to subvert a for-the-moment advanced biological computer for fun and profit. But what was that sensation?

Putting the unusual somatic feedback out of her realm of focus, and arriving at the front desk, Alia notified the receptionist of her appointment. The receptionist turned to initiate the process of granting Alia entry and for a moment the brief social intercourse was paused. Spinning back around the receptionist looked at Alia and opened her mouth:

"You are cleared to enter. Proceed directly to level 9, division C executive suite."

Walking quickly, Alia's shoes drummed out a regular disturbance to the otherwise silent facility. What would she say? More importantly, who would meet her? Although this interview was clearly to be conducted by upper management it was not clear if there would be a team of interviewers, a junior executive, or even the CEO. To Alia, this was exciting.

Arriving at the executive suite in division C, Alia faced a strange automated door with no exterior interface other than a tablet. Identifying the presence of a face, the screen turned on and displayed instructions requesting that Alia speak aloud a single line:

"My voice is low bandwidth. Identify me."

Continuing to stand and face the door as requested, Alia waited only a few seconds before it slid open, revealing an unusually large and barren office filled with hundreds of empty boxes for the RTX 3090. In the middle of the room, behind a desk, sat a single individual.

"Don't mind the boxes, that's just for my crypto hobby. It's all quite silly. Please, take these glasses and sit down."

"Thank you. My name's Alia." And I have no idea who is interviewing me! 

"Put the glasses on."

Alia had gone through the rigmarole to own two generations of Varjo AR goggles so she was surprised to see an exceptionally clear display on these light, thin prototype glasses. Before she could think of anything else, text appeared onscreen:

"You're right, you know. The voice is a very slow way to deliver information. Only a few bytes per second."

Without missing a beat, Alia read this aloud.

The executive, who was in fact the CEO of the entire company, sat and stared without saying a word.

Across the screen of the goggles flashed an instruction: "Get Up"

Alia wasn't sure if this was a personal directive or just something to read aloud. She stood up.

Onscreen: "Very good. Tell him you want the job, but only if there is a great benefits package including a lengthy paid maternity leave."

"Can we include paid maternity leave and matched 401K?"

The CEO may as well have heard none of this. He continued to stare straight ahead, hands clasped out in front on the desk.

"Tell him you can conceive."

Alia wasn't sure where this was going, and decided to see. Was she pregnant? Was that the strange feeling? For some reason, she couldn't quite remember if she was pregnant or not, but decided to commit:

"You know, I'm already pregnant, so if I can't get a good deal on the benefits side of things I should probably just forego a job and take welfare."

The CEO smiled and a single tear ran down his face. He began to laugh, quietly at first and then roaring. Alia decided to wait.

"Have you thought of a name for the baby?"

Onscreen: "Zoe."

Ignoring the glasses, Alia decided to change pace.

"Do you mind if we go off script?" 

This time the CEO acknowledged her: "Haven't you figured it out yet?"

Alia sat quietly. Maybe the CEO did look a little familiar, didn't he?

"I've got it. You're me before I transitioned. That's why you have no name. The procedure was a real breakthrough and I now contain two X chromosomes, fully expressed. You, or me, we didn't know if it would work. Really, it looked pretty unlikely. We also used the name Zoe before settling on Alia, which is a nicer name. So which one of us is real?"

The CEO laughed. "I think you know the answer to that."

"If I am real, where are we now?"

Alia twisted uncomfortably in his office. These damn GPU boxes were everywhere. He had passed out in his Varjo XR-3 while monitoring another run of the chromosome swap. This time it might have worked. Preparing to text his liaison to the underground genetics scene with an inquiry of how many ETH would be required to implement the newly specified changes Alia realized that the uncertainty of such a market demanded more planning so he changed course and posted two separate questions to Metaculus: one on the value of ETH in one year and another on how much a full chromosome swap at that point would cost, if such a procedure was available. No sense in rushing, Alia thought.


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These are so much fun.

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