The administration at Guantanamo recently purchased a VLAD-64. The VLAD is an Automatic Information Extractor or AIE (Aie! informally); a self-contained device that waterboards detainees while asking questions and analyzing their responses.
The Gitmo administration views the VLAD as a Godsend since its use is much more humane for the guards. In addition, VLAD’s improved vital sign monitoring makes it safer for the detainees!
Colonel Sanders, the Corp ethicist, successfully lobbied for the acquisition of VLAD-64, arguing that, by using an AIE, the detainees would be torturing themselves since they would be the only “moral agents” present during the waterboarding sessions.
A few weeks after receiving VLAD-64 and following some routine commissioning with domestic animals, the interrogation team decides to use VLAD on Abdul Ahmed, a Swahili speaking Jihadist who was caught in Jamaica a few months earlier. VLAD’s precise waterboarding technique is rapidly effective. Within days, Abdul’s resistance has been completely overcome. He is willing to confess to anything.
Unfortunately, Tammy, the VLAD technician, forgot to activate its Swahili to English translation module before leaving Gitmo. Abdul is now screaming confessions at a device that interprets his answers as a refusal to cooperate. Technically speaking, VLAD’s avatar representation of Abdul is incorrect so its urge to torture persists.
Waterboarding continues with no end in sight.
A silver lining… the next version, VLAD-65, will automatically search for language matches. The upgrade should detect the error and terminate waterboarding. VLAD-65 should be available in six months.
Six months later Tammy, the technician, returns. Colonel Sanders enquires about the new model they are expecting. Tammy hems and haws and finally admits the VLAD-65 was sold to a numbered company and somehow ended up in Yemen where it is waterboarding G.I.s.
“How can that be! exclaims the colonel, didn’t we program it to waterboard Jihadis only and no one else?”
“Yes we did, Tammy responds, and that remains VLAD-65’s unchanging objective.
“So… why is it torturing our boys!” The colonel screams.
“The VLADs are lucid systems, the technician responds. They can mutate. VLAD-65 analyzed our involvement in the Middle East over the last twenty years and concluded that the Army is a contributer to the Jihad. It believes our own soldiers are also Jihadis. It calls them “G-I-dis”.
“We call this a lucid mutation. The primal priorities are unchanged but a modified interpretation of reality generates different behaviour. It is one of six types of intentional mutations; there are also seven types of unintentional mutations…”
“Spare me the techy details the Colonel shouts. Just tell me, didn’t we fill up the VLADs with President Bush’s speeches? You know; axis of evil… us good them bad… and all that. How could it get around that?”
“Bush… agent.” Tammy quickly mumbles.
“What did you say?”
Tammy gulps and repeats: “VLAD-65 believes President Bush was a covert Al-Qaida agent.”
Colonel Sanders looks out the window for some time, a sad expression on his face.
Finally he says: “That would explain his presidency…”
“These VLADs are certainly logical.” Major Armstrong, his assistant, chimes in.
“Do these VLADs talk to each other?” The Colonel asks Tammy. “Yes, over the Internet” she answers.
The Colonel turns to Major Armstrong and says: “ Issue a directive, effective immediately: from now on, no personnel should be left alone with the VLAD-64.”
A silver lining… Tammy finally activated VLAD-64’s Swahili module. When it was activated, they discovered Abdul was in the process of confessing he was responsible for sinking the Titanic. After a brief psychological assessment, Abdul was released from Guantanamo. He now lives in Corsica where he joined a congregation of penitents.