Quondam Writing Prize Winners 2019
Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Quondam Writing Prize
2019's theme was AI: Artificial Intelligence and the winners were as follows (read the junior and senior first place entries below):
1st: Jessica Flood, 2nd: Luise Schottelius, 3rd: Sophie Hudson
1st Amaya Collier-Wright, 2nd Olivia Gearson, 3rd Amber Hill
Senior Category Entry
Entrant’s Name: Jessica Flood
Entrant’s Form: UVC
Word Count: 443
The Lethal Infection
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
The courageous chant it to themselves as they continue living in apprehension
Of our improving, advancing, technologically smart, instant society.
“Isis”, “Drone”, “Watching us” whispered under the breath of a country’s citizens,
A blanket of fear covered by the fragile layer of pretence and ignorance.
Those who are in bliss are the ones who understand it
The ones who don’t, are controlled by it- Artificial Intelligence.
On every newspaper, magazine, phone, tablet, TV, laptop (etc)
The two cursed words flash out.
Don’t stay for too long in busy places, dash through Heathrow
Anxious Mothers warn their children, for fear there might be another buzzing beast Hovering in wait.
For Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, machines are given out
In order for some to receive the latest gismo, gadget, or electronic.
Yet, people are afraid.
The even quieter mumbles inside the blanket are the benefits.
MRIs, Ultrasounds, Cancer Research are lost in the chasm of panic.
Siri, Echo, Alexa: conspiracy theories flash by as you scroll, yet who reminded you about Your meeting yesterday morning.
Wars won, through a camera of the sky
Businesses smoother, sharper, better as a result of spam filters, junk mail defeated Before even popping into your inbox.
Car accidents; the numbers fall as rapidly as the number of houses increase.
The fear begins to fall, as the next generation replaces the old one
A more relaxed, open approach to the beasts of technology.
Just as before, the Internet was an uncertain web filled with obstacles and the unknown
Only used for NASA, scientists, mathematicians
Now it is a tool as vital as the human lungs, information inhaled every second.
As the future seems bright and filled with exploring, so does the past.
Suddenly Historians have windows into what seemed distant, lost memories
Algorithms manipulating ruins into structures as real as they would be in Roman times.
The white boot, landing on red dust, on a red planet, in my lifetime
The fabrics of space no longer seem so infinite due to the telescopes spinning their endless orbits around Solar systems, stars, supernovas.
It is easier to defeat a deadly disease
Than to stop the infectious spread of fear, apprehension and worry
Passed down over generation and generation
The subject of worry changing each time (this case: AI).
However, the base of concern and despair remaining fundamentally the same.
Fearing the machines is pointless
Embrace a changing society that will make things once thought so far out of reach Become known.
Submitted by: Amaya Collier-Wright
Quondam Writing Competition 2019
Title: Artificial Intelligence: Robbie
( A short story )
Number of words: 893 words
Artificial Intelligence: Robbie
Summer, year 2030
Hello. I am Robbie. I am a Robot. I live among humans, it’s an experiment. Dave is my creator, he made sure I look like a normal child. He has a daughter named Emily, we get along really well. We go to school together, we listen to music together, we do everything together and the thing she liked the most is when I read her favourite book about birds and the ocean. Dave said to call him dad in front of Emily. He said Emily thinks that I am her brother. I am programmed to do one special task, it is to protect Emily.
Some people don’t mind if they are living with a thing like me, but some people care…a lot. Everyday are articles written by concerned citizens who think that robots should stay away from the humans. They say robots are dangerous and can be out of control when our digital system gets a virus. Although, every features of modern human life has been influenced by science and technology, a lot of people still don’t appreciate modern creations like me.
At school, I am always with her. All of the children give me weird looks when I’m with Emily, and I never understand why. She uses a white cane to make sure that everyone knows she’s blind, and so she knows where she is going. I always make sure, she is safe. That is my job. My favourite part of the day is when Emily and I go home after school. There is no one there and we can play like best friends. She treats me like a real human. One day while walking home, she said to me “ice cream, ice cream, I want some ice cream!.” And so I went to the shop and bought a cone with a white cold cream, the lady said it’s vanilla flavour. Emily let me try the ice cream, I refused at first because I don’t eat… I don’t need to eat, I regain my energy by being plugged in for 24 hours, it lasts me for one whole week. But then, I still followed her command. Afterwards, I got sick and so Dave needed to open me up and do an operation on me. I got better after that. I remember Emily crying because I was not well and then when I got better, she was jumping around and said she will not eat ice cream again!
Years passed by, I witnessed Emily growing. She looked so much older, taller and she became a little less friendly. But I didn’t grow older or taller. She wanted her own space now, so I often left her alone. I went to her room one night, bringing her favourite book about birds and ocean, I wanted to read it to her like before, but then she was annoyed and told me “you are not my brother!” I really don’t understand because Dave said I am Emily’s brother but then I realised I am just programmed to know everything, I am programmed to protect her, I am just programmed to be Robbie’s Artificial Intelligence. Emily must have known the death of Robbie three years ago when they had the car accident with their mum.
One day Emily and I were walking together. We were about to cross the road and a car came speeding along the road. I was just behind Emily so I didn’t see the car coming along. Emily walked on to the road and the car by now was just metres away. I ran as fast as I could to save Emily, I pushed her on to the side with all my strength, and I got hit. Emily got slightly injured but nothing to serious. All that was on my mind was saving her That’s what I was programmed to. I was hit very badly but I had no feeling at all, it was like nothing had changed. Emily had no idea what had happened as she is blind. But that is how it should have been. I didn’t want her knowing that I was hurt or she might start to worry.
I was checked by Dave after that incident, there was a great shock in my internal system that could not be fixed. He said I can still last for a year.
Today is exactly a year after I was hit. My expiration date.
I am about to shut down. My hard drive is already ruined, and a lot of my technical wiring is already disconnected. I was going to close my eyes when Emily came to me. She is now taller and prettier than before. Her eyes are blinking more often now and something unusual has happened to her, she doesn’t have her white cane anymore, she can see the chair that is on the way between us, she put it on the side and came closer to me. Her eyes are bright and widely open. Now, she is no longer blind. She gave me a hug. Her tears started to run down her eyes. She looked at me and her last words were “I love you” … I really don’t understand the meaning of the word love, I cannot process it, but I know it is a beautiful word.
HTTP. Memory Chip. Robbie