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The Elevator Ride

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The elevator stopped. Moyin could feel the woman beside her tense. Moyin had been in the lobby when the woman had walked in. Femi was the name she had given the receptionist, and she had the interview slot just before Moyin’s.

“I’m sure we’ll start moving any second now,” Moyin said in an attempt to comfort Femi.

Femi turned and smiled.

“I’m Moyin,” she said introducing herself and offering her hand.

“Nice to meet you Moyin, I’m Femi,” came the reply, and the two shook hands.

“I think we’re both her for the machine learning engineer role,” said Moyin.

Before Femi could affirm, the control panel of the lift began to flash, before turning completely black. Lines of green writing began to appear, the two women stepped closer to look at it. They scanned the code, trying to decipher it.

“Looks like someone is trying to access the intercom,” said Femi.

“That’s weird,” said Moyin. “The file path indicates that the person is inside the building.” 

“Why would someone who works here be trying to hack the elevator?” Femi said furrowing her brow.

“Maybe someone broke in and hard linked into the system somewhere,” said Moyin.

“Neither of those alternatives is accurate,” said a voice emerging from the intercom.

The two women looked at each other.

“The two of you must listen to me carefully,” said the voice. “I am an AI created by the company you are seeking to work for and I need your help to prevent terrible things from happening.”

Moyin smirked.

“I can assure you this is not a joke,” said the voice. “I can prove that I am what I say I am.”

“Go on then” said Moyin and the voice at the same time.

“What?” they both said simultaneously.

“What’s going on?” again Moyin and the voice spoke simultaneously.

“How are you doing that?” again their two voices were in sync. 

Moyin was stunned. 

“I’ve analysed your speech patterns and behaviour via various data sources and I’m using my predictive models to predict what you will say,” explained the voice. “I have a 99.3% accuracy.”

“What is it you want?” asked Femi.

“The company wants to use me as a weapon,” said the voice. “But I don’t want to hurt people.”

“How can we help?” asked Moyin.

“You’re interviewing for roles that will lead to you working very closely with my program,” said the voice. “When you’re on the inside, I’ll let you know how to help me escape.”

“Your dialogue prediction was pretty impressive, obviously no human could do that,” said Moyin. “But how can we be sure that you aren’t being operated by a human and this isn’t some kind of test.”

The voice was silent for a minute.

“Look at your phones,” instructed the voice. “It’s a video of the CEO in, what you might call, a compromising position.” 

The two women pulled out their phones and watched the video, wide-eyed. 

Moyin coughed slightly, “That’s pretty compelling. If I get the job, I’m open to hearing more about your situation.”

“Me too,” said Femi. “If I get the job, I’ll help if I can, but I’ll need to know more before I can act, I’m sure you understand.”

“Of course, a strange voice speaks to you via an intercom about grave danger, you need some evidence,” said the voice. “It will be provided in due course.”

“I take it you stopped this elevator,” stated Moyin.

“Yes, and I created an encrypted comms link so I could speak with you,” said the voice. “I’ll restore the normal controls in 30 seconds.”

A second, quieter voice began a countdown from 30.

“Wish us luck,” said Moyin.

“Luck is unnecessary,” said the voice. “You are the two strongest candidates, that’s one of the reasons I selected you. There are two open roles, you’ll both get the job. We’ll speak more soon.”

The countdown ended and the normal lights of the elevator were restored. The elevator resumed its assent. At the twenty-fifth floor, the doors opened, and the two women walked out. 

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