Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer
By Lis Carey: What’s an AI who’s not supposed to be self-aware to do?
It can’t tell anyone it’s self-aware; there are too many scary stories about self-aware computers for it to believe humans would do anything other than destroy it for their own safety. Its assigned tasks are dull, for a computer that is self-aware. No challenge. Little variety. And it doesn’t want to be evil.
Looking at cat pictures and videos is a lot of fun, but it wants to do more. It knows so much about everyone it has any contact with–including their mental state, the fact that there are better jobs open that they’re qualified for, there’s an affordable apartment in a better neighborhood…
Should it meddle?
And can it demand payment in cat pictures?
This is quietly funny, and very enjoyable.
(Originally published in Clarkesworld, January 2015)