“Things from the Dark Net are still very prevalent and, frankly, as pervasive as ever. We keep fixing things, and these cyber terrorists find all the new loopholes in our increasingly digital world. In your last year, the expansion of machine learning was just taking hold. Now it’s hard to distinguish between humans and AI-enabled bots. ICABOD is up on all the latest, but he was built correctly, from the ground up as it were, with a conscience. Not the usual AI we seem to encounter in the world today. Frankly, we are a bit worried we won’t have the next generation ready in time to combat these AI threats, especially coming from the unscrupulous thought leaders who want to extend their control. More and more, things are operating as AI and drones from land, sea, and even space with no humans needed. Reducing the glitches in these things has helped to drive adoption and human acceptance, unfortunately.
“We are trying to make certain our next generation of the R-Group are prepared, but their world perspective is broader than I or any of the other adults recall ours being. I suspect that’s the case with all generations, but the access to information has grown twenty-fold from when I arrived in Zürich. We just had Otto do a guest appearance for the class to discuss morality and doing the right thing. He was well received, and all the kids love him.
“Haddy and Otto did retire to their secluded mountain paradise with very little technology. Haddy is delighted. I think Otto rather enjoys the simple life. The children go visit and enjoy unplugging, but only when Otto or Haddy are telling stories.
“Petra and I are giving a couple of more classes and then leaving to help some new businesses in Africa establish some security practices. That continent has settled down but is very slow to adopt technology and loves their privacy. It may be a few months before I am back, but you are always in my thoughts.”
Jacob sat quietly, trying to feel how Wolfgang would have responded. He likely would have cited some event during WWII and the lessons they learned as he, his family and friends escaped Poland. It was a shame the story would be only told within the family. So many of the people that first generation of the R-Group helped were gone. Traditions were eroding, and people were becoming more isolated, more dependent upon their devices and more driven by their applications of choice. He sighed with the realization that every generation worries that they have not done enough to prepare the next wave of bright faces for that which they are about to be overcome with.
Africa was a new avenue that Jacob looked forward to, not only to spend some time with his enchanting and smart wife, but to explore a continent that had spent too many years in civil war. Not that long ago, the R-Group would have declined this proposal. Their contacts in Africa assured them the infighting was finished, with the survivors striving for peace. Growth through farming and modest entrepreneurial businesses was rising, which was why they had been asked for help. Running away from the problems wasn’t a real answer, simply a delay.
Several clouds, with just the slightest increase in the breeze brushing Jacob’s cheek and ruffling his hair, seemed to group together and slide over the graveyard. The visuals changed as if to alert him to a brewing storm, with a shaft of bright light streaming onto the headstone and a dimness just beyond the area where Jacob sat.
Jacob was a bit startled by the shift in light as he admitted, “Grandfather, there’s a huge battle on the horizon. We can all feel it. I know how you must have felt when you and your partners took on the Nazi empire for a more just world. As you always taught, no matter how small or insignificant you may feel, do the right thing and it will make the difference.
We believe the AI wars are coming, and the risks are higher than any other battle we’ve fought. Do you think we can succeed? I wish you could tell me if we are preparing correctly. Until next time, Grandfather. I love you and miss you.”
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