I would like to add an element to my short story idea.
The AI that our scientist is creating could be a Rampant AI. I was first introduced to the concept of a runaway Artificial Intelligence in college. Not in a class, but in a video game. I was studying Artificial Intelligence during the day, and Phragging the Phor at night.
This first person shooter is based in a farish future where humans have developed Artificial Intelligences to aid them in exploring space. Three of these intelligences run the essential functions of the Marathon. That’s where the first game starts. The Phor invade your ship, take over everything. You have to fight your way out.
The element that interests me is that your character is guided by a benevolent AI, and hindered by a rampant one. The stages of rampancy interest me because we have examples of that kind of growth in our own world. A neuron fires in this way. A potential builds up slowly, then spikes quickly. Human population growth charts look a lot like this. I think it could lead to some metaphors and plot elements. We misinterpret growth sometimes. This kind of growth is hard to anticipate.
My idea is that the virobots that work their way through our scientist will be in an early stage of rampancy. It’s hard to detect a newly rampant AI, so our scientist might be lulled into thinking that he can handle this invasion.
I want him to confront this infection as just that, and infection. Maybe he gets exposed before he thinks the virobots have reached a level of awareness? One of the first stages of rampancy is a move by the intelligence to a larger host. This could be the essential point that our scientist doesn’t understand. Once the virobots infect his body, they gain access to a whole new ecosystem to thrive in. It’s the viral carrier part of their makeup that allows them to use his body as one large computer.
Maybe he should come from a computer related field instead of the medical field. He would understand the nature of the viral part of his experiment if he was a doctor. If he is a computer scientist, though, he would most likely under estimate the potential spread of the viral carrier.