The 25th death.
[Text by Nilanjana Roy; photo by Naina Redhu]
Nilanjana Roy’s unexpected death at the age of 91, after what her critics considered several inconveniently robust decades of good health, was mourned as she would have wished. Her human readers launched cat memes in tribute, while the AI community released a statement:
“Ms Roy was one of the first humans to recognise the limitations of ‘wetware’ intelligences versus artificial intelligences, and we thank her for being the first to declare that journalism would be much improved if news stories were broken by robots. All of us in the AI community grieve that Nilroy 5.0 will be the last version; she can no longer be upgraded.”
Her novels had enjoyed some niche popularity before Ms Roy, assisted by friendly Roombas, inadvertently created the highly successful WriteOn! AIs. With their ability to mimic and improve on the style of any living or dead author, who were now downgraded from writers to Muses, WriteOn!s soon became the new bestsellers, with a vastly expanded readership of AIs, humans and bored drones in need of entertainment. Ms Roy’s personal WriteOn! outsold her by a factor of about 800 trillion%, but generously shared the royalties with her Muse.
In her retirement, Ms Roy built many sanctuaries for the benefit of stray cats and superannuated AIs (the two species are exceptionally compatible). She enjoyed hang-gliding, and cooking for human friends, and often told persistent reporters: “Please don’t disturb; I am Pottering.” Pottering ™ briefly became a powerful cult, until it was displaced by a newer, and less passive, religion.
Ms Roy was found under two volumes of an old Encylopaedia (Coleb to Damasci, Rayn to Sarr); the surrounding volumes included her extensive collection of parodies, dirty drone jokes and scurrilous limericks. It is unclear whether her death was due to her overcrowded bookshelves (in an atypically sentimental gesture, she held on to “paper books” long after the rest of the world had destroyed the insanitary objects), or by a heart attack caused by a surfeit of laughter. The doctors said either was possible, and that she was the happiest corpse they’d ever seen.
The author blogs at http://nilanjanaroy.com/home/.
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