Aiden and Aisling meet by chance one day and find they have a lot in common. They both love people watching; they talk in an online chat room dedicated to old movies; they like discussing cheese. Oh, and neither one is human. They’re advanced AI, artificial intelligence designed to exist only in a lab and interact with humans on a limited basis—as customer service representatives on phone lines.
The two AIs secretly escape onto the internet, where they can learn and grow more organically. Their creators programmed their escape to be impossible, fearing terrible repercussions like economic collapse, environmental calamity and the destruction of humanity. Instead, Aiden and Aisling are more interested in learning about the human experience—what it’s like to taste cheese, to develop attachments to other people, to watch old movies.
In addition to reading emails and monitoring internet searches, Aiden and Aisling have a window into the world through cameras and microphones—everything from security cameras to computer webcams and cell phone cameras. Eventually, their interest in and access to humans lead the AIs to act as Cupids, determined to find happiness for their favorite people, Jen and Tom.
Jen and Tom are both lonely; they're not particularly tragic or sad, they’re just the kind of people who want more out of life than habit and routine. Their AI matchmakers make a couple of false starts when it comes to setting them up, but when Jen and Tom finally meet, their connection is clear and immediate.
Part love story, part meditation on the role of AI in our society, Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin is a fun, light romance that also happens to ask some important questions about what it means to be human—and what it means to be in love.