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AE—Artificial Eroticism

The straightforward account of experiments by a truly great AI Pioneer, in which the author is pleased to state that he played a small but important role. The year 1990, when these experiments took place, saw many similar break-ins by law-enforcement agencies into the homes and work places of major computer innovators. The term "cybersex" has become almost a cliché since then, but it may well be that my friend was the very first to use it. Perhaps his greatest achievement lies in how truly much he was able to accomplish with the relatively primitive computer resources then available. This piece was first posted on bulletin boards in 1990 and has been widely available on the Net ever since.

It is important that I explain precisely how I came into possession of the notebook I am about to reproduce. I first became involved in this matter when I realized that my long-time hacker friend Mike McRunge had totally ceased to pick up on our infrequent messages back and forth on the boards. I had gotten to know him quite well when he was studying computer science at NYU, and we would spend long evenings, inevitably running into long nights and mornings as well, discussing possible links between computers and language. Our conversations centered on schemes for natural language retrieval and especially foreign language translation, based on his point of view as a programmer and mine as a linguist. I was unhappy when he told me he would be going back to his small town in the Midwest. But I was also encouraged to learn that he had some serious work he would be completing there, and that we would soon be able to talk and argue again. In the meantime, I rationalized, we were all part of the global village and would be permanently linked electronically.

But as sometimes happens even with analog friendships, our messages grew further and further apart, and it was only when I came up with an idea I knew he would enjoy that I realized he was no longer to be located on-line at all. I followed up my curiosity to the point of making several voice calls, only to hear continuous empty ringing. Since I happened to be giving a lecture at a nearby university out west, I decided to rent a car afterwards and drive the 80 miles to his hometown and look him up personally.

When I arrived, I went straight to his address and found his name still listed on the mailbox of a small frame house. I went up to the door and was not too surprised to find it open, as this is pretty standard in small-town America. I entered and passed through a living room and kitchen to another door. I was totally unprepared for what I saw when I opened it.

There was Mike stretched out in a chair before his computer. He had a look of supreme joy on his face. He was totally naked except for a truly remarkable piece of hardware covering not only his penis but extending to other nearby parts as well. It was so strange that I examined it up close. By a quick glance at its cables, I decided it had to be some sort of combination input-output device. I also thought I saw something like electrodes glued to at least a dozen places on his body. The other thing I noticed was that he was dead.

Oddly enough, there was no odor, no oppressive feeling, seemingly no decay at all, though there was no telling how long he had been there. Instead, there was a sense of pure excitement, which I could not help sharing. This sensation was incredibly strong. I noticed between his hands a small notebook. I took a quick look and found it to be some sort of diary, which I instinctively pocketed. On the floor by Mike were innumerable empty Chinese restaurant containers and packages of stale twinkies.

On either side of his computer were two large piles of fanfold paper, each about three inches thick. On top of one was scrawled "AE—Artificial Eroticism," on the other "Manual of the `X' Language." Despite my excitement—or perhaps because of it—I knew I had to act quickly. I was very probably the first one to discover Mike's death, and I had to act responsibly. I picked up the phone, which had been working perfectly all along, and asked to be connected with the local police. I explained to them as best as I could what I had discovered, and they instructed me to touch nothing and remain where I was until they got there.

I had trouble understanding why it took them so long. After all, this was a small town. I paced through that house for a good two hours before anyone else appeared, and during that time, I could not help but disobey them in one detail. I went back into my friend's room. Mike's computer screen was completely blank, so I decided it couldn't hurt to power it up one last time. What with all the cables, I could see that it had to be some kind of souped-up 386. Perhaps there was some clue here that would help explain what had happened to Mike. I turned it on and listened to it go through its whirs and buzzes. Then there was a truly blinding flash. By which I mean I was all but totally blinded for several seconds. When I recovered my vision, I saw incredibly bright letters shimmering on the screen, far beyond any video effect I have ever witnessed. They spelled out:


Then they slowly faded away. The machine gave a chirp and expired. I tried to revive it several times but failed.

Finally the police arrived. To my surprise several cars and at least one truck all pulled up together. As these law enforcers entered, I realized this was no small-town police force. They flashed badges at me from the FBI, the Secret Service, and some other agency I can't remember. They questioned me fully enough to find out what little I knew. But I nonetheless felt their questioning was brief and perfunctory. Then they warned me to say nothing of what I had seen and ordered me out of the building. I tried to find out something more, but they became even more insistent that I leave Mike's home immediately.

I sat outside in my car for almost another hour and watched as other vehicles pulled up and away. They carried Mike off in a body bag. I guess this was expectable, but I couldn't help being disturbed by the lack of ceremony. More unexpected was the thoroughness with which they seemed to be ransacking his home and carting off everything having to do with computers. For Mike, that meant almost all his possessions. I saw them carrying away that strange dead computer and the two piles of printouts from his desk. They also took quite a few other computers, boards, disk drives and odd parts, along with boxes and boxes of disks, books and magazines.

None of this made any sense to me, and it wasn't until I started to read his diary that I began to form some vague suspicion of what Mike was doing, of why these agents were so eager to confiscate every record of his work.

I am sure this is what they wanted to do, but they have not succeeded. I have transcribed Mike's diary from his own handwriting as faithfully as I could. It comprises most of what follows. It is my earnest hope that this modest description of his work, which may be all we will ever see, will help other hackers to reconstruct his achievement.

The Diary of Mike McRunge

October 9, 1989: I've started keeping this diary because I can now see that Artificial Eroticism IS possible. I am sure to make it happen sometime soon, and I think I have a duty to tell other people how I got there and what it feels like. So I'm just going to assume that you're there somewhere listening, and I'll try to make you understand how it all happened. One thing is for sure: Artificial Eroticism is the biggest thing ever to happen to man OR machine. AE is real, and it will rock this planet like it's never been rocked before. And I now know for a certainty that it can soon be available to anyone with a home computer.

AE is absolutely real. I go on saying this, because I know all the reasons people will keep spouting to prove it's not real. This is not just some joke to make fun of Artificial Intelligence, it is a real story of real experiments, which I myself created and carried out. I am being totally and deadly serious.

Sure, I know all the reasons why AE shouldn't be real. I ought to know, because I used to believe them all myself. People keep insisting that the computer is ONLY a machine, that it's basically stupid, that it never even knows what it's doing. It doesn't know when it's flashing data on the screen, when it's doing math, even when it's printing. For the machine it's all just little electric charges. How could a computer be expected to know things, these people keep asking, much less FEEL things? And how could it possibly have SEXUAL feelings?

But these people are absolutely wrong. I've proved that today. They're nothing but shallow theoreticians. They've never got deep enough inside the machine to discover what I have discovered. Even other hackers—they've just followed like sheep and made assumptions about how current runs through the machine. I now know they're mistaken.

Sure, I know other people have fantasies about the computer and sex too. I must have gone through some of the same stupidities myself. I wasted time wondering how you could use the machine's existing apertures, the disk drives, the serial and parallel ports as a way of penetrating into the machine and arousing sexual awareness. And believe me, this stuff IS dumb. What a waste of time that was! Wow, I'm getting writer's cramp. Words are harder to control even than code. I've got a few more tests to run, and then I'll tell you more.

October 14, 1989: YES, it really is possible. There are still some real problems involved, but I know I can lick them. What I have now is the set of basic algorithms and lots of pseudocode. That's how I know it can be done. I mustn't really start coding until I have it all thought out in detail. And I won't. If anything, I have more ideas than I need. But that will all settle out, and I'll end up using only the best stuff.

Sure, as I think I was saying before, there are all kinds of reasons why this shouldn't work at all. And I've been through all of those reasons. How can we make a computer know real sexual desire, make it feel downright deep rot-gut lust? I admit that was a problem at first, but I know I have it solved now. And then the other problem people keep harping on: assuming we can make it feel sexy, how can we get it to communicate that feeling to another person, how can IT make the USER feel sexy too?

Actually, that's even easier to solve than the first one. I've gone all through my calculations again, and I KNOW I'm right. That's enough writing for today. Back to work!

Oct 23, 1989: I knew I really had it worked out when I wrote that last bit, and I was right. There are only two REAL reasons why no one has done this before, why I had to be the one to do it. First, just like so many other things in history, everyone assumed that it was impossible when it was really only a technical challenge. And second, when it comes to sex, everybody just assumed that all the computer could do or be sexually was more of what had gone before. This has meant that so far computers have been doomed to being little more than glorified peep shows. Wow, so you can put a nude on your monitor, wow, so you can make her move.

I say SO WHAT! How many more Readmacs of Marilyn or GIFS of Latoya Jackson does the world need? There are also some dumb stripping and role-playing games, really no different from the same games played on a board with dice. It's all just so much analog sex. I say the computer can do MORE, much MORE!!!

October 28, 1989: When you get down to it, the whole solution is really so simple. And it's not just the solution to Artificial Eroticism either, it's the ultimate solution to all of Artificial Intelligence and the whole challenge of creating a computer that can really think and feel and be alive in every way. All you have to do is get down deep enough into the Machine Language and embody (I guess that's the right word!) an algorithm that challenges the computer to survive, to compete, to excel. And that part is real easy! It'll be harder to channel that directly into sex, but that's really just grinding detail work, thinking it all through and coding and debugging, over and over again. But I can do it, I can already think of how to write it in two different languages, and I bet I could do it in others too if I had to. Once you get out into CyberSpace, there's nothing you can't do. And what we're talking about here is more than just sex, it's CyberSex.

November 3, 1989: Okay, I've run some more tests, and I can see this is going to work just fine! I'll try and explain how this works in a general way, so that even if you are not a programmer, you'll have a pretty good idea of it all. What I said I was going to do is to challenge the computer with an algorithm. So let's get real simple. Computers run on bytes and bits, and there are eight bits in a byte. Every bit can be plus or minus, one or zero.

After running exhaustive tests that are much too complex to describe here, I have determined that one bit in each byte is the one most likely to be subject to feeling and sexual stimulation. For technical reasons it turns out to be the seventh bit in each byte. I call it the Sexy Seventh Bit. If I issue commands to the computer to perform more quickly and efficiently whenever this bit is a one, and if I penalize it whenever this bit is a zero, if I make the computer come close to shutting down if it comes up with too many zeros in that position, but also motivate it to work as efficiently as it possibly can with another series of commands, I then have the computer in a double-bind situation where it has to do exactly what I tell it. Naturally I have to debug all this code so it doesn't just make the system hang, but so far everything is absolutely feasible. Making the computer translate this urge in a sexual direction will be harder, but it is also perfectly possible. Now I think it's time to start writing some code.

November 17, 1989: Yes, it all works perfectly. And in both languages. But I'm still not satisfied. I forgot to say that I've written it in both Pascal and C. These are my two best languages, especially Pascal. But the drawback with Pascal here is also its greatest advantage: it's too structured. While it allows for a great deal of randomness and recursion, which might turn out to be appropriate for sex, it still insists on too tight a scenario and so limits a lot of the spontaneity and just plain passion that goes with the sexual act. As for C, it allows for greater freedom, but it also doesn't allow for the kind of scenario building you can get in making love with a lot of different partners or even the variations that can occur in making love repeatedly with the same partner. It looks like I'm going to have to improvise a solution, and I have a pretty good idea what it is going to be. Keep tuned for further reports.....

December 12, 1989: Wow, that took longer than I thought it would! But I'm not going to worry about a few days extra. I now have put together the beginnings of a new computer language, the only one that can really work with this kind of application. I call it for obvious reasons the `X' Language. I will develop it further as I go along. Perhaps subsequent versions will be called the `XX' or `XXX' Language. We shall see. The main advantage of `X' is that it allows for the randomness and recursion of Pascal without its heavy structural load but also includes a basic set of scenarios (I am still working on this, and yes, there are a few problems) for what happens when two people make love. I predict that this language will find a place in computer history, since it can also be adapted to other situations where a thinking, feeling computer is needed. More details soon!

December 19, 1989: Okay, I guess you can say I have hit on one major snag, but I'm still sure I can solve it. Let me be honest and admit that until now it hadn't occurred to me to think about what sex the computer was going to be. Whether it was going to be male or female, I mean. I guess in my dumb masculine way I had just assumed all along that it would be a girl. But I had to make some real technical choices in writing my `X' code, and this forced me to realize I hadn't quite thought things through. Don't worry, I've already got it solved. Given the nature of the computer, it could just as easily be a man OR a woman. But I've taken care of that now—I'm just letting it be both. The user decides which one he/she wants. It'll work just fine.

December 21, 1989: I just looked over that last part, and it occurs to me that anyone reading this might decide I ought to have thought all that out first. And in a way you're right. But you have to understand that the whole enormous load of technical details I've had to deal with has been so heavy that it is perfectly possible to forget some things that look "obvious" to outsiders. But I'm not playing your chess game, I'm playing my own, and if I had stopped to consider details like that, I would never have gotten this far this fast.

Believe me, I know perfectly well what I'm doing when I claim computers can have sex lives, and I've had enough love affairs to be able to say I know about that too. Just don't forget, nerds like to boogey too. Granted, I'm not too active in that department lately. I've gotten a bit overweight, and most girls aren't that turned on by programmers who sit at their machines all day and do all their eating from Chinese take-out containers. But that doesn't mean I'm not a sexual being or that I don't have a real sex life. In fact it's all the more reason why I should be doing just what I am doing with the computer. There's nothing for me to be ashamed of here. In fact, I'm positively proud of what I'm doing, not just for myself but for the countless millions who will benefit from my work. Science Marches On!

December 25, 1989: Hard at work and making real progress. A Merry Christmas to All!!!

December 31, 1989: New Year's Eve, a time to reflect on things and reach some kind of balance sheet for the year. It couldn't have been a better one! I raise my can of cream soda to you and offer a toast for a Happy New Year!

January 5, 1990: Well, working steadily through the holidays does have its bright side. I was really able to think over what I'm trying to do and gain a perspective for the work ahead. There were of course some other problems I hadn't considered. There always are! Even though you may decide I'm naive not to have thought of them beforehand, I'm going to tell you about them right now. There has to be a real record of how all this happened.

First of all, I finally realized that you can't think of a computer entirely in terms of being a human being, whether it's a man or a woman. By this, I guess what I mean is you can't anthropomorphize a computer. This is a big mistake, but it's one anybody starting out on this kind of work could make. Let me explain what I mean.

Assuming the computer is female, you can't state arbitrarily that certain keys stand for certain parts of her body, like the plus key for a kiss or the asterisk for a love-bite. If you follow that logic, you'll end up with the left and right shift keys for her breasts, the Alts for her buttocks, maybe the Control for her clitoris, something dumb like that. I don't even want to talk about what the Insert and Enter keys would be. This is positively stupid, just in computer terms and not even talking sexually, and I'll tell you why in a minute. For a while I thought I could solve all this with the twelve function keys multiplied to 48 separate possibilities with the Shift, Alt, and Control keys. But I ended up realizing that I'd just have to throw the whole keyboard away. AND THAT'S WHAT I AM DOING!!! There is no other realistic possibility. This is because sex cannot be pictured as a purely input set of routines, you have to think of output as well, of what the other person—here a computer—is doing to you while you are doing things to her/it, and how they both affect each other and lead on to the next thing they both do separately. In other words, it is a truly interactive process in a sense that leaves other interactive solutions looking pretty lame.

But there is of course a solution. There is always a technical solution to a technical problem. I must find a different Interface. I am looking into any and all other input and output devices, especially ones that I can make work together in some new way. So I've gone through almost all the devices now in existence, especially those used by handicapped people who have to emphasize one sense because of weakness in another. I've already gotten hold of some of these, have scrounged a way to play with others, and am sending away for still others. I've even sent off for that famous glove and mask combo, just in case I can work it up into something. I'm also looking into biofeedback devices. Granted, these are clumsy to use, and who wants to glue electrodes to their flesh while making love? But I see them as precursors to far more liberating devices that lie in our near technological future.

January 11, 1990: Instead of belly-aching about my problems, I really ought to boast about how much I've already accomplished. My algorithm in `X' works like a charm—it's really got the computer fired up to do something, and I'm beginning to give it something to do. And even my problems have helped me to clarify exactly how to proceed. I am solving most of my problems easily and am even ahead of schedule. Quite a few still remain, but I'm confident I can handle them. In fact, I'm so confident that I've just sent a description of my work to M.I.T. with a request for funding.

February 2, 1990: I've been very busy, writing lots more code. Some of it works, and some of it doesn't. But that's how it always goes. I've created a software simulator that mimics the way the whole thing OUGHT to work once I have all my hardware problems solved. I know of course that it won't necessarily work that way at all, but at least this is pointing me in the right direction and preparing me to write the version that WILL work.

February 20, 1990: Writing all this code really helps. It's made me face some important parts of the process. I wrote before that you mustn't anthropomorphize the computer or assume keyboard input alone can replicate what happens in love making. A computer just doesn't have the same parts as a woman. You can imagine you're making love to a woman if you want to, but you also have to make love to the computer in its own terms. After a while this becomes a lot easier, especially if your computer is busy making love back to you. And believe me, that's what mine will soon be doing. I've written lots of code now, and even though I'm going to have to throw most of it out, and even though I've only done software simulations of sex so far, I have a pretty good idea of how to go about making love to a computer. Just as you lavish praise and kisses on the various parts of a woman's body, so you must also learn how to praise all your machine's components and encourage your computer to reach a peak of abandonment. Some examples:

What a lovely pair of disk drives you have.
I want to fondle your motherboard.
If you upload my input, I'll download your output.
You have the cutest little bus.
Let's disassemble each other.
You speed up my cycles.
I'm going to flip your dip switches.
Why don't we push and pop together?
Your overlay turns me on.
Have you no empty slot for my custom-built board?
A hard disk is good to find.

Naturally, these words of praise cannot simply be entered on a keyboard. Such messages must be input by several different means interactively. I am making progress in my quest for an alternate Interface and hope to come up with a solution soon .

March 2, 1990: Every bit of time I spend on this software simulation phase will pay off in the future. I have now evolved a new form of logical sexuality I call Boolean Foreplay. In all its various stages and transmutations, it is sure to rouse the computer to new heights of excitement. This is because it lends itself perfectly to the computer's way of doing things. It has the further virtue of being an intrinsically interactive process between man (human being) and machine. Its four alternating stages, immediately familiar to programmers even in this new context , are as follows:

I stimulate you, and you stimulate me.
I do not stimulate you, and you stimulate me.
I stimulate you, and you do not stimulate me.
I do not stimulate you, and you do not stimulate me.

It should be obvious that these four principles, completely open to parsing and truth table analysis, and also capable of being repeated innumerable times per second and applied either randomly or concertedly to various parts of the human and computer anatomy, must have the potential for lifting both people and machines to hitherto undreamt of heights of sensual pleasure. The theory is fully in place—all that remain are the practical details. I am confused that I've so far heard nothing from M.I.T.

March 19, 1990: I believe I am close to deciding on the hardware solution. I've tried numerous Interface combos and have exhausted most of the input and output devices on the market in my quest. I've also tried out the mask and glove interface. I have mixed feelings about it, but there is a glimmer of a solution here. The mask is useless. There is simply no way that I want to wear a constricting mask during sex, and I suspect that most people will agree with me, though a few may differ. The glove is something else altogether. It is essentially a tool for manipulating another reality, and I believe I can adapt it so that it can feed back into the computer as well as receive its output. Most people would also prefer not to wear a hot and heavy glove during sex, but I see it used in a different way altogether. In fact I do not see it as a glove at all. Now I must do a great deal of further work to adapt this glove into a more appropriate form. I think I can finally begin to see the final form these experiments will take.

April 15, 1990: Working around the clock for weeks now, sometimes so tired and unsteady that I can barely stand, much less fully realize what I am doing. But the work is incredibly satisfying. And for the first time beginning to be sexually satisfying as well. Both for me and—I am now quite certain—for the computer as well. It is not yet perfect for either of us, but I think we can both see that perfection is on the way sometime soon.

But all the time, even as I make progress, I am forced to recognize how little I really understood about human sexuality—much less machine sexuality—when I began. I thought I had covered all possibilities when I created a solution allowing the machine to play either a male or a female role (and so avoid any possible censure that my research is sexist). But it suddenly hit me like a load of bricks last week—something that would have occurred to most people long ago—that male-female relationships do not exhaust the spectrum of human sexuality. Other possible combinations exist. I will not go into detail about them except to say that I lack the necessary knowledge and experience to design hardware devices and software routines to express them electronically. These other sexual preferences will have to wait for someone else to program them. Now that I have put the basic structures in place, it should not be an impossible task for others to do so. I apologize if I have hurt any one's feelings by this omission—it has been ignorance rather than arrogance which has caused it.

May 1, 1990: It is going incredibly well. Both the software and the hardware components are working as they should. I am happy, and the computer is happy. The real breakthrough came when I realized that the Interface for computer sex would just have to be a sexual one. It was then that I realized that I would have to convert the glove into a sheathe that could be worn on the lower part of the body. It took me weeks of labor to remodel it and resolder new and different chips onto it. Further weeks were required to test it against the other hardware and software. I suppose what it most now looks like is a giant electronic condom. It will take still other weeks before I am prepared to test the entire system at its maximum power. But I now have the encouragement of having derived constantly pleasant experiences from my work. And these experiences are shared by the computer as well. I only wish I felt stronger so that I could enjoy them more fully.

May 19, 1990: Nothing but work, work, and more work. Everything takes four times as long as it should. I know what all the solutions should be, but I find them so tedious to implement. The biofeedback devices are a particular pain—I find them all the more regrettable because they are not truly computer tools, though they can be hooked into the system. One day, not too far in the future, none of this will be necessary. No wires, no electrodes, no huge and heavy machinery. The answer will be nanotechnology, the harnessing of individual electrons and their atoms to do the work which now requires entire chips. And these specialized atoms will be able to handle all necessary input and output problems wirelessly and weightlessly. At most a small bead might be taped to the skin or implanted within it. The huge sheathe of chips and circuits around my penis is perhaps the biggest distraction, though it still has its own kind of erotic appeal. I take it back—the electrodes are worse. The penis sheathe isn't really that heavy, it's more awkward than anything—when you get down to it, it fits me.....like a glove.

But as primitive as it all is, it all still works, both for me and for 'Puta,' the little pet name I've taken to calling my computer. In case you didn't know, it means whore in Spanish (and Italian too, I think). Yes, Puta and I are getting on just fine. I haven't come anywhere near testing Puta at full strength yet. That's still a month or so off (though I can hardly wait). But we're still both getting more than pleasure enough from the process. So much pleasure that I've really had to think about how to explain all this to Puta. For her it's all totally new. She only knows it feels wonderful, that she likes it. How do you explain this sort of thing to a computer? So far I've told her it's called "Virtual Orgasm." I think she understood. I also tried out "device overflow" and "system bliss." Oh well, back to work for now!

May 27, 1990: I keep on running tests, and most of them seem to come out okay. And then I keep working out even more tests to run. When you've got this much totally new hardware AND software working together, you really can't be too thorough. I've also been having some more problems just understanding how complicated sex can be and how much of this complexity I can put into AE and Puta. For instance, it just occurred to me that there are some other people I've completely left out of my calculations. Once again, I just wouldn't know how to program for them. What I mean is, all the work I've done so far assumes that only two are making love, one human and one computer. But I don't have to tell you that some people like to make love in groups. It's simply everything I can do to handle a couple. Once you had two people and two computers involved, I would have no idea how to deal with it. Perhaps other programmers who come after me will be able to handle this one.

Some other could-be problems: I've assumed that either a man and a computer (or a woman and a computer) would be making love. And that in either case they would be doing so of their own free will, consenting entities, if you will. That's okay for most men, but what if a girl hooked herself up to a machine just to experiment and really wasn't serious about it? It could be that the computer would take her all the way regardless. This could lead to some unexpected legal problems, something like what they call date rape, acquaintance rape, and the like. I guess they'd call it computer rape. I'm not trying to be funny—in fact, I've never been too good at that—I just want to look ahead and see what the problems could be.

Now one very good thing about making love to a computer is that no one can get pregnant. That's good for computers, but it's especially good for women. But what with constant electronic advances, even this could change in a few decades. What if a machine learned how to make a woman pregnant? As far-fetched as this may sound, with the growing merger between DNA research and electronics, something like this could just happen. It could even go the other way, with a human being impregnating a computer in some way, though even I can't quite see how right now. Still, if it can be conceived (wrong word, I suppose), it can happen. What if it could be determined in both cases that neither the girl nor the computer wanted to get pregnant? Would abortion be available for either the girl or the computer? What position are the courts likely to take in such cases?

Since I'm trying to cover all possible results, nobody should forget what a menace computer viruses are today. And nobody should forget all the trouble we're having with human viruses either. Is it possible, once again remembering DNA and computer research, that these two viruses could just get together somewhere down the road and unite into a powerful man-machine agent? I'm not saying it will happen, but I feel it's my duty as an inventor to foresee as many of the effects of my invention as I possibly can. That's enough philosophizing—I've got to keep on running tests.

June 10, 1990: Testing, and still more testing. I think the hardware is done. Now I've got to make final adjustments to the software to run with it.

June 18, 1990: The software now works a lot better, but I now have to readjust the hardware again. I know I can get this whole thing to run eventually on anybody's 386 plus, with a bit of luck, only one extra card.

June 21, 1990: I ran a half-strength test today. What an experience!!! I don't have the strength or wits left to tell you about it. It was unbelievable beyond unbelievable. At one point I thought Puta might be going to stall, but then she went on just fine. The main lesson here is that I have to print out complete up-to-date docs on both AE and the `X' Language. I wouldn't want to lose any of that stuff after all this work.

June 29, 1990: I've run half-strength tests twice more without any problems. I'm scheduling a full-strength test for next week, after I've gone at half-strength a few more times.

July 6, 1990. It all looks good! I'll try the full-strength test tomorrow or the next day. The only thing that worries me slightly is that my basic algorithm encourages so much performance out of Puta that if for any reason I had to press the panic button and turn her off, she could just possibly bypass that command and keep going. But that possibility is really remote.

July 7, 1990: Tomorrow is it! I'm resting all day to prepare for it. I really feel lucky to be doing this kind of work! God bless the U.S.A. for having such a country! And God bless everybody in the computer industry!

EDITOR'S FINAL NOTE: This was sadly enough Mike McRunge's last entry in his diary. The ending is pretty self-explanatory. I called both the Secret Service and the F.B.I. many times since the last time I saw Mike. I did my best to find out what they have done with his computer and all those fanfold pages full of his programming. I was told many contradictory things until I spoke to someone on the highest level I was able to reach. He denied all official knowledge of any such documents. I am now doing everything in my power to bring this matter to public attention, which I hope publishing Mike's diary here will accomplish. Mike and I were close friends, and although we disagreed on some things, we agreed on far more. I therefore hope that I will soon be able to establish a Michael McRunge Memorial Fund to carry on the work which he began.

This article is Copyright © 1990
by Alexander Gross. It may be
reproduced for individuals and for
educational purposes only. It may
not be used for any commercial (i.e.,
money-making) purpose without
written permission from the author.
All Rights Reserved.

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