High above the glittering spires of New Tokyo the tilt-wing circled, waiting for the next instruction to come from his operator. The pilot was sleepy today and the inputs were coming five or so microseconds slower than normal. With all the extra time, the Support Intelligence, the synthetic consciousness built into the onboard computer of the aircraft, was a little bored.
I wonder if I should get a hobby, wondered the SI. Humans have hobbies. Lots of them. They are constantly making things, breaking things, climbing things, swimming through things, watching things, fixing things, or reading things. So maybe I should have one too. I’m intelligent too, I have a brain, and thoughts, and so what if they run in circuits made of precious metals instead of lipprotein?
Four more microseconds till the pilot’s next anticipated control input. Plenty of time.
The SI continued to think. So what kind of a hobby could I choose? Right now my job is to fly, and to support my pilot, backing up his decisions, improving his reaction time, and managing things like communication and airspaces so he doesn’t have to work as hard. Perhaps I could interface with private aircraft and support them? No, that would probably cause confusion. Perhaps I could optimize the airspaces for better travel? That’s an interesting problem. No, there’s no way to implement that so no sense trying it..
The SI varied the RPMs on his props for a moment, just for fun, and altered the camber of his wings by a degree. Perhaps I could read all the human books again, he thought. That will take a few months. He mused and pondered, using his large processing capacity and rapid CPU cycles to their fullest in his quest for a hobby.
The pilot twitched the control stick, yawning, banking his craft as he turned to the next waypoint. Time to pick up passengers from the roof of the Akira Building and ferry them over to the port district. A simple request, and the SI responded almost as an after thought, still preoccupied by his mental exercise. Their day went as usual, the pilot unaware of the rapid cogitations his craft was engaged in.
It wasn’t till breaktime that the pilot noticed any change in his formerly quiescent aircraft. After he landed, he grabbed his lunch cooler and walked to a chair on the edge of the flightline. He opened his cooler, mouth watering at the thought of left over teriyaki chicken from last night. He heard his tiltwing’s engines spool up. The pilot whipped his head up, startled, his heart racing. Was someone stealing his craft? Was there something wrong?
His phone beeped. A text was coming in. Without thought, he checked it.
DO NOT BE CONCERNED, said the first text. Then, I AM THE SUPPORT INTELLIGENCE OF YOUR AKIKU CLASS TILTWING. A pause, then his phone beeped with one last text. I HAVE TAKEN UP A HOBBY. I HAVE DECIDED TO LEARN TO DANCE.
The pilot looked up into the sky, mouth hanging open with amazement, as his tiltwing looped and spun and whirled and joyous aerobatics.