The Confessor
by Christian Nevers
forum: The Confessor
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

......... ....... ..... ..


The Confessor


        Are we ready?

        Indistinct voice.

        Is the recording machine on?

        Indistinct voice.

        Okay, good. It's May 12th, 2052, and this is the closed door session to determine what went wrong on the night of April 7th, 2052, in the death of inmate James Wayne Goodall, also known as Jimmy Wayne Goodall, Jimmy Goodall, or, as he is sometimes referred to in the local press, the Bastard. Paneling this hearing will be myself, Francis A Nifrog, Chairman of Correctional Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia; Linda B Atwell, Deputy Secretary of the State for the Commonwealth of Virginia; and State Senator Paul S Sobrourski, representing the district from which Mr Goodall was from. Okay, are we ready to begin?

        Late spring had been hot in Virginia and the air conditioning struggled to keep the room cool. The room grew warmer as more bodies crowded in. The three panel members were dressed in business clothing with undergarments already starting to dampen in the heat. The air conditioner sputtered to life in a futile attempt to cool the room. Maintenance workers had been working on it all week.

        Closed door was not necessary closed door. The throng consisted of those that had been invited. Some had would testify. Some were there as observers. Some were there because they spent political capital to attend. All who sat in the chairs and stood along the back wall when the chairs ran out had a reason for being there. All had a stake in the outcome.

        Murmuring voices rippled throughout the room. Chairman Nifrog banged his gavel to bring the room to silence.

        Okay, let's begin this, folks, he said. Can we have the first witness brought in please?

        The crowd went silent and the door at the back of the room opened from the outside. A thickset man in his late fifties with thin gray hair walked in. Alan Embroy.

        The crowd murmured with anticipation as Embroy walked to the front of the room and stopped before a table that had been set out before the panel. On the table were a microphone and a pitcher of water and a glass in which to pour the water and a pad of yellow paper and a capped pen. He raised his hand upon prompting and swore to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help him god.

        He sat.

        Mr Embroy, said Chairman Nifrog, thank you for coming. Can you please state your name and position for the record sir?

        Alan Embroy, Warden for the Clearwater Creek Correctional Facility in Warsaw, Virginia.

        Thank you. Can you please begin by relaying the facts of the matter at hand?

        Embroy shifted slightly. He was uncomfortable in front of the panel.

        On the night of April 7 of this year, one Jimmy Wayne Goodall was in his cell for his final night in Clearwater. He was due to be executed the next day.

        Can you please state the nature of his crime, Mr Embroy? asked Deputy Secretary Atwell.

        Yes. He was convicted on one count of rape of a minor and one count of murder in the first degree. He was convicted in August of 2050.

        Thank you. Please continue.

        On the night of April 7, as per standard death row practice in Clearwater, a Confessor was sent to Mr Goodall's cell.

        And a Confessor is? said Chairman Nifrog.

        A Confessor is a robot specially designed for the administration of death sentence convictions.

        What model Confessor was this?

        I believe it was the XMT model, which would make it the next to newest model on the market.

        How did this model come to your facility?

        It was purchased with funding specifically budgeted for the administration of correctional facilities.

        So the state purchased this model for you? asked Senator Sobrourski.

        That is correct.

        At whose request were the funds secured and this purchase made?

        Embroy coughed lightly and flexed his neck in an uncomfortable manner.

        At my request, Senator.

        Thank you.

        Please continue, Mr Embroy, said Chairman Nifrog.

        At approximately 9:30, 9:45 PM, the Confessor arrived at the cell. At this time it engaged Mr Goodall.

        I'm sorry, interrupted Deputy Secretary Atwell. I'm not familiar with the Confessor program. I understand that the Confessor actually administers the injection. But why was it at Mr Goodall's cell the prior evening? Can you please explain how the Confessor robot and relates to death row inmates outside of the needle and why it administers the injection in the first place?

        Certainly, said Embroy. He didn't feel very certain. The Confessor serves a dual purpose. Its primary purpose is to be the administrator for the end procedure for such categorized inmates in the correctional facility.

        So the robot kills the death row prisoners.

        That is correct.

        And why is that?

        Well, a number of years ago it was determined that the administration of end of life had a negative effect on those individuals charged with the actual act of termination. In addition, there were concerns regarding the quality of training of such administrators and the comfort of those being terminated.

        So, to paraphrase, we were worried about how the people we hired to kill other people felt, and whether they were trained enough to do it without botching it and causing the inmate to suffer. Is that about right?

        Uh, yes ma'am.

        And the other purpose?

        It seems that inmates facing their last night before being terminated had a desire and tendency to speak at length about all topics ranging from the weather to their last meal to their crimes. Psychological studies indicate that this may be a coping mechanism against the stress that knowing your last day is tomorrow can cause. They refer to it as Persistent Cognitive Reconnection.

        Which means?

        Which means they are trying to maintain some type of mental and emotional connection to the real world, to humanity as it were, in order to keep calm in the face of, literally, certain death.

        And how does this relate to the Confessor?

        One of the things death row inmates tended to discuss was their crimes. It turns out they seem to be much more willing to discuss their crimes with a robot rather than a human. In an effort to clear some cold cases in police precincts, a law was established to allow Confessors to sit with inmates, discuss their crimes, record these crimes on audiotape, and be subsequently handed over to law enforcement in an effort to clear out dead ends and close cases.

        Are these audiotapes viable evidence for law enforcement?

        Yes, they are. They are admissible as evidence as they are considered deathbed confessions. Which is how the Confessor robots became known and even branded as Confessors.

        Does this program, then, replace the role of clergy as they relate to death row inmates?

        At times, although that was not the original intention. And clergy are still required for specific end-of-life rituals. Things like last rites, final confessions, things like that.

        But you just said that Confessors take final confessions.

        Yes, that's true, but that's only if the inmate wished to discuss his crimes or anything else before be put to death. A Confessor can't administer religious rites. So an inmate wishing to make a last confession and, depending on your religion, be absolved of his sins would require someone such as a priest or rabbi or similar person.

        So we give the inmates robots with which to converse before their death, but we give them clergy to cleanse their conscience?

        I guess, in a manner of speaking, that's correct, ma'am.

        Thank you, Mr Embroy, said Chairman Nifrog. I appreciate you providing us with the background information regarding the Confessor program. However, without panel objection, I'd like to get back on the topic of Mr Goodall. Objections?

        There were none.

        Okay. Mr Embroy, if you could proceed please.

        At approximately 9:40PM the Confessor arrived at Mr Goodall's cell. It was allowed entrance and sat with Mr Goodall until the next morning, when Mr Goodall was schedule to die. At the duly appointed time, officers entered the cell and shackled Mr Goodall.

        Is it standard procedure to shackle a prisoner as they make the journey to the death row chamber? asked Deputy Secretary Atwell.

        Yes. It is.

        She nodded.

        Mr Goodall was shackled, continued Embroy. He was then led down the cell block and into the center building were the administration offices are. This is where the death chamber is located. He was led into the death chamber and his shackles removed. He was assisted onto the gurney and once there, he was strapped to it.

        Strapped how?

        There are leather restraints attached to the gurney. They restrain the inmate's wrists, ankles, and one restraint across the chest.

        Why the restraint across the chest?

        To minimize the chance of the inmate bucking during a procedure. Sometimes an inmate has an emotional reaction just prior to the procedure and they begin to panic. If they panic they begin to buck against the restraints. The restraint across the chest aids in minimizing any movement that would otherwise interrupt the procedure.

        He waited for additional questions about the restraints. There were none. He proceeded.

        Once appropriately restrained, the Confessor then administered the lethal injection.

        Could you explain that injection please? asked Deputy Secretary Atwell.

        Chairman Nifrog spoke.

        As Chairman of Correctional Services, let me explain this one. Lethal injection is a three part process. There are three drugs that are administered in order to terminate an inmate's life. The first is sodium thiopental. This drug is used to induce a state of unconsciousness, which is supposed to last while the other two injections take effect. This is to keep the inmate from feeling pain during the rest of the procedure. The second drug can be either pancuronium or tubocurarine. We use tubocurarine in the Commonwealth. This drug stops all muscle movement except for the heart. It causes complete muscle paralysis. If the third drug were not administered, the prisoner would eventually die by asphyxiation due to the collapse of the diaphragm. The third and final drug is potassium chloride. This drug stops the heart. This is, obviously, a cardiac arrest and subsequently, death. This has been the standard practice for decades and it seems it will continue to be the standard practice, at least until the law changes. Does anyone have any questions? No? Okay, Mr Embroy, you can proceed again.

        Thank you. After the Confessor administered the lethal injection, we performed a routine audit that we perform after every execution. We examine the room, the instruments, the body, and the robot. It was during the examination of the instruments that we discovered-
Senator Sobrourski leaned forward. A thickset man near forty with thin hair and thick glasses in thick frames. He disliked stall tactics.

        Yes, Mr Embroy? What did you find?

        Embroy once again shifted uncomfortably. He began to perspire. He lifted the glass of water on the table beside him to his lips. He drank and set the glass down again. Senator Sobrourski waited rather impatiently but silently. His face began to shade.

        It was in the examination of the instruments that we discovered that the full dose of sodium thiopental was not administered.

        Meaning that Mr Goodall may have very well been awake during the procedure?


        The crowd that had been invited and that had gathered in the room had been silent during the course of the panel's questioning of Embroy. But at his last remark a murmur ran through the crowd.

        Chairman Nifrog banged his gavel to quiet the room.

        Order. Order, please.

        The murmur diminished then died completely.

        Chairman Nifrog took the lead in the questioning.

        Mr Embroy, are you telling this panel that you believe the prisoner in question, James Wayne Goodall, was conscious during his own execution?

        Yes sir. Under normal conditions, the inmate is rendered unconscious as the rest of the procedure would be very painful to experience.

        So by being awake during his execution—

        He would have been in pain.

        How much pain?

        A great deal of pain.

* * *

        Alan Embroy was questioned some more then excused from the hearing. He was then dismissed.

        A woman was called to the chair at the table where the microphone stood waiting. She was a middle aged black woman in clothing that was inappropriate for the current proceedings, but that was the best clothing she had to offer. She carried with her a travel pack of tissues. One tissue was in her hand already and she was dabbing it at the corners of her eyes.

        She was then seated.

        Chairman Embroy said, Thank you for coming. Can you please state your name for the record ma'am?

        Epatha Lee.

        Thank you Ms Lee. You are here today for what purpose?

        I'm here to testify about Jimmy Goodall.

        Can you give us some clarification of the relationship between you and the late Mr Goodall?

        She dabbed her eyes. A tear she missed ran down her cheek. She hesitated for a moment then leaned into the microphone.

        We don't have a relationship. The Bastard killed my girl.

        A general murmur went through the crowd. There was a flash of light from a camera. Maybe two. As cameras were not allowed inside the closed-door session those responsible were quickly discovered and escorted peacefully from the room. After their cameras had been confiscated.

        Chairman Nifrog banged the gavel.

        Order. Order please. Okay folks, the excitement's over. Let's have everybody take your seats and continue. Or I'll ask the room be cleared.

        This seemed to bring the crowd back in line and it settled down to near quiet with only a slightly audible rumble rippling through it as the crowd whispered amongst itself.

        I'm sorry Ms Lee for the outburst, said Chairman Nifrog. Would you continue please?

        Epatha Lee nodded. But before she continued she opened up her purse and drew from it a small picture in a frame. She set it on the table in front of her. The picture was of a little black girl in denim overalls and a pink shirt beneath. Her hair had been braided into pigtails which hung off the side of her head like puppy ears. She wore a wide gapped smile where baby teeth had begun to fall out. The girl was no more than nine.

        This is Beverly Lee, she said. This is my daughter. My girl. She gone now. Not a day goes by I don't think about her. Not a day goes by I don't look at this picture and wonder why. Not a day goes by I don't talk to her about what a good girl she was and how much I miss her. Not a day goes by I don't cry like a baby when I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed at night. Not one single day.

        The crowd was silent. No one dared stir the air filled so suddenly with heavy sorrow. Even the panel refrained from speaking. Chairman Nifrog finally broke the sorrowful spell.

        Tell us your story, if you would please, Ms Lee. As long or short as you wish.

* * *

        A woman with greasy blonde hair passed Epatha Lee as she made her way to the back of the room away from the microphone. The new woman stepped forward and took a seat. She shifted quite a bit once seated. She seemed to be uncomfortable with the amount of heat the seat radiated having stored it up from its previous occupant.

        Chairman Embroy said, Thank you for coming. Can you please state your name for the record ma'am?

        Brenda Magehey.

        Thank you Mrs Magehey. You are here today for what purpose?

        I'm here about Jimmy Magehey.

        And your relationship to Mr Magehey?

        He was my brother.

        Thank you ma'am. Do you have something you want to say before we begin?

        Yes. I know my brother was guilty. None of us doubt that. He knew they had him dead to rights. That's why he didn't appeal. He knew he'd lose. And yes, maybe he deserved to die. Maybe he didn't just kill that little girl like everyone said. Maybe he did do worse. But even if he did deserve to die, he didn't deserve to die like that. His life was already being taken. He didn't need to be tortured as well.

        Mrs Magehey, your brother was not tortured purposefully, chided Chairman Nifrog.

        Really? How do you know? Were you there? Cause I was. I was in the gallery when they brought him in. I was the only one there, other than prison personnel. I got to sit in a nice comfy chair while I watched them strap him down and then that godforsaken thing rolled in on its big, uglyass wheels and took over at the plunger station. I watched my brother, Mr Nifrog. I watched him pass out. Then I watched him come to. I watched his eyes go wide. It was the only thing of his moving. Wide. With panic and pain. Do you know how long it took him to die?

        Mrs Magehey, this isn't the time or place for this. We have asked you here for some specific questions—

        Do you know how long it took him to die? Eighteen minutes from the moment the second plunger went down. You know how long it should have taken? About five. My brother lay there, bound to that goddam gurney, suffocating while that goddam robot stood by and didn't do nothing.

        Mrs Magehey had tried to maintain her calm but she quickly became overwhelmed. Her language with which she had tried so hard to hide the depth of her accent slipped and she began to lapse into curse words. The crowd began to rustle.

        Chairman Nifrog banged once with his gavel and a warning but said nothing to the crowd.

        Mrs Magehey, we understand you're upset, said Deputy Secretary Atwell. But we must ask you to refrain from such outbursts. We hate to dredge up bad memories here, but we need to understand exactly what happened so we can avoid it in the future. And just so you know, there are some on this panel who agree with your views. Now, we do have some questions we must ask you and we'd ask for your cooperation and respect. We'll try to get through this quickly so that you can get back to moving past this incident.

        Brenda Magehey sniffed loudly.

        Yeah, right. Move past this incident. You know something? I got no issue with the death penalty. I got no problem with putting down those that kill in cold blood. I know that means my brother, and that's that. But we need to find a way to do it with torturing them. They're already going to die. Why put such a hurt on them before they go?

* * *

        The last in the string of witnesses was Cal Taylor. Cal walked in slowly and slid the chair out from the table. He slipped into it and looked immediately at ease. Given this was Cal's first time in front of a panel of inquisitors that included the Chairman of Correctional Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Deputy Secretary of the State for the Commonwealth of Virginia and a state Senator, Cal appeared relaxed.

        Can you please state your name and position for the record? asked Chairman Nifrog.

        Cal Taylor, Systems Administrator for Clearwater prison in Warsaw. I oversee the Confessor program there.

        Cal spoke with a slow drawl that would have been more fitting on a Texan cowboy than a black man from Maine.

        Thank you, Mr Taylor. If you could, please, give us your account of what happened on the night of April 7th, 2022 as it specifically relates to the execution of James Wayne Goodall.

        The Bastard? said Cal. Don't know much about him, except what I read in the papers. And that he was executed. I will say that it sure sounded like he got what was coming to him.

        Actually, Mr Lee, we're interested in what happened as it pertains to the Confessor robot on that night. During said execution, said Deputy Secretary Atwell.

        Oh, that. Yeah, that. Well, that's tougher.


        Yeah. Tougher.

        How so?

        Well, mainly because what happened is so technical, I might not be able to explain it. I was never very good at translating geek to English.


        Well, okay. Here's the thing. The robot didn't really malfunction.

        What do you mean? asked Senator Sobrourski.

        What I mean is that it worked as designed.

        A rumble went through the crowd unlike any that had before. Chairman Nifrog hammered with his gavel to restore order.

        Continue, please, said Senator Sobrourski.

        See, the robot did what it was supposed to do. It listened to the confessions and last statements of the Bastard—oh, excuse me, of Mr Goodall—and then in the morning it executed him. Plain and simple.

        Plain and simple?

        Yep. Plain and simple.

        Mr Taylor, plain and simple doesn't really work for me here. The Senator's mouth had become a thin line and he spoke with an icy voice. Are you familiar with the particulars of this situation?

        You mean the ones where the robot used two plungers instead of three?


        Yeah, I'm familiar with it. I was the one that tore apart the code, looking for a break. There was none.

        The crowd rippled and Chairman Nifrog banged his gavel again and the crowd settled quickly.

        What did you find when you dug into the code, Mr Taylor? asked Deputy Secretary Atwell.

        Well, I found a lot of instances where the base code was different from what it should have been.

        Can you please explain that a little clearer? First of all, what is base code?

        Oh, uh, sure. Base code is the code that runs the robot. Well, I guess all the code runs the robot, really. But the base code is just that. It's the minimal stuff you need for the robot to function. It controls movement and inputs and outputs—

        Inputs and outputs?

        Yes. Things like eyes and ears so it can see and hear. Those are inputs because they take information in, like we do with seeing and hearing. Outputs would be vocalizations, kind of like talking.

        Thank you.

        Sure. So, base code controls all that stuff, as well as the primary functions of the robot. Obviously this is going to differ robot type to robot type. A stenographer robot is programmed to transcribe court records, a sanitation robot is programmed to pick up people's trash, and a Confessor robot is programmed to give people the needle. All of these things are wrapped into the base code.

        And so, what you found were changes in the base code?

        Yeah. I saw that the robot had been reprogrammed to give people the needle, but to do it wrong. Instead of three plungers, it only gave a little of the first and then the full dose of plungers two and three. And the time elapsed between plunger two and three was longer than it should have been. By a lot.

        So what did you look at next? asked Chairman Nifrog.

        Well, so then I looked at the custom code.

        And the custom code does what? asked Deputy Secretary Atwell.

        Well, the custom code controls the finer points of robotic behavior. How does it interact with humans, how well does it obey commands, how fine are its motor skills. For a Confessor there is an awful lot of custom code. The custom code library also houses the self-diagnostics.

        And what are those? asked Senator Sobrourski.

        Those are designed to evaluate the robot to see if it is functioning correctly. If it is, great, but if it isn't, it takes action.

        What sort of action?

        Well, that can be anything from slight mechanical repairs to a full-fledged shutdown.

        It can shut itself down?

        Sure. If it detects that it has been infected by a virus or something, let's say during a nightly data dump, then it can shut itself down to avoid further contamination. Kind of like a medically induced coma in humans.

        Do you think these self-diagnostics had anything to do with what happened?

        I think they have everything to do with what happened.

        How so? asked Chairman Nifrog.

        Well, in review the robot's actions, what I found is that it run some self-diagnostics and then began to reprogram itself.

        Can it do that? asked Deputy Secretary Atwell.

        Oh sure. Can and did.


        Cal shifted in his seat.

        Well, I can't say one hundred percent. But if I were to take a guess, I'd say it did it so that it could change the way it administers the lethal injection.

        So what you're saying is that the robot reprogrammed itself to alter its base functionality?

        More or less. What I'm saying is that the robot reprogrammed itself to inject a small part of the first plunger, just enough to knock the Bastard out for a moment or two, then when he woke up, the robot injected the second plunger, then, after waiting too long, it injected the third plunger.


        I think it did it based on its conversations with Mr Goodall.

        You believe it reprogrammed itself after it sat with Mr Goodall all night?

        Yes, or sometime during the night. Reprogramming is actually a pretty fast process. It can be done in the background while the robot does other stuff.

        But why would it reprogram itself to intentionally inflict pain?

        Cal shifted in his chair. For the first time he looked uncomfortable.

        Have you listened to the audiotape of the Confessor's conversation with Goodall? he asked.

        We were saving that for the last portion of the hearing, answered Chairman Nifrog.

        You should listen to it now.


        I think my opinion will make more sense after you listen to it.

        Chairman Nifrog sighed. Can we get the tape set up?

        Indistinct voice.

        Five? Okay everyone, we'll adjourn from this hearing for five minutes. After which time we'll come back and listen to the tape.

* * *

        AUDIO ONLY:

        Jimmy Wayne Goodall: What the hell is this thing?

        Correctional Officer: This is your Confessor.

        JWG: My what?

        CO: Your Confessor. You got one night left on earth, Bastard. This robot is gonna put you down tomorrow morning. Before he does, you get the chance to know him. And if you wanna tell him anything else, got any other crimes to confess to, he'll listen to those. Stand away from the door.

        JWG: I gotta have this thing in my cell? Shit man, I don't want this hunk a metal sitting in here with me. It spooks me out. Hey! You listenin?

        CO: You got ten hours, Bastard. Use 'em wisely.

        Thirty seconds of silence.

        JWG: So what are you supposed to do, anyways?

        Confessor Robot: I am here to get to know you.

        JWG: Get to know me?

        CR: Yes.

        JWG: That's about the stupidest thing I ever heard.

        CR: Why?

        JWG: Why? Why you here to get to know me when in ten hours you're gonna kill me?

        CR: No doubt this seems to be an awkward situation. But it has been found that inmates enjoy discussing things with robots prior to their final appointment rather than with humans. It seems that robots are non-judgmental and are therefore willing and able listeners. It also gives the inmate the chance to air any last issues, concerns, and sometimes confessions.

        JWG: Oh, I get it. You're here to try and get me talking about myself and maybe anything else I done to see if you can close some cases. Well you can forget about it. I got nothing to confess.

        CR: We certainly do not need to talk about anything in your past. We can discuss your views on politics, or even something as mundane as the weather.

        JWG: My views on politics? Shit. Okay, how 'bout this one? I think capital punishment is wrong and should be abolished. How's that? Think you can push that one through for me? Sometime in the next ten hours?


        JWG: I tell you what though, I guess I got it coming.

        CR: How so?

        JWG: You read the case file?

        CR: It was uploaded to me digitally.

        JWG: That a yes?

        CR: Yes.

        JWG: Then you know all about my conviction.

        CR: Yes.

        JWG: Well, I don't mind saying that, yes, I did indeed do it.

        CR: And so you were thusly convicted.

        JWG: Yeah, but what the case file don't tell you is how much I enjoyed it.

        CR: Enjoyed?

        JWG: Oh yeah. I enjoyed it terribly much.

        CR: Why?

        JWG: You wouldn't understand. You're just a robot.

        CR: Yes I am.

        JWG: So you wouldn't get it. It's a life and death thing, man. The power of life over death. Power of death in your hands. I strangled that little girl and I got my rocks off doin' it.

        CR: Rocks off?

        JWG: Ain't familiar with that term?

        CR: No, but I do not have a full spectrum of colloquialisms programmed into my base vocabulary.

        JWG: Huh?

        CR: I am not familiar with the phrase rocks off.

        JWG: Well, that just means that I got my jollies killin' her.

        CR: Jollies?

        JWG: Jesus Christ, boy, don't you got any vocabulary in there?

        CR: Are you stating that you became sexually aroused when you killed her?

        JWG: There you go! I knew you'd get it eventually.

        CR: Is that in fact what you are saying?

        JWG: Sure is. I had even more fun after I choked the life outa her.

        CR: Again, I do not understand.

        JWG: Well, then, let me explain it to you, son. You see, when a man gets a certain amount of control over a woman, it gives him a kick. Not all men, min' you, but some. And what I found in my life is that I get my kicks by hurting 'em. And the more I hurt 'em, the more harder I get. You following me?

        CR: I am.

        JWG: So, there I was, minding my own business, when I saw her. That little black girl. She was so sweet looking, so young. And I had the perfect chance to have her. So I took her.

        CR: This is when you kidnapped her?

        JWG: You betcha. And I had some fun with her. But then she was all crying and sobbing. So I hit her. And that when I really started to get my rocks off.

        CR: So for you, pain equals pleasure.

        JWG: Long as it's someone else's pain, it sure does. And that just what I had. Someone else's pain.

        CR: Which is when you strangled her.

        JWG: Yep. Strangle and humped at the same time. Her pain, my pleasure.

        CR: I see.

* * *

        The audiotape continued on. The room sat in stone silence.

        In a seat in the corner of the room, Epatha Lee wept to herself while she listened.

* * *

        Okay, we've heard it, said Chairman Nifrog. So what are you trying to tell me about it?

        Cal shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

        What I'm saying is that based on all the things Mr Goodall told the Confessor, the robot wrote its own programming to inflict as much pain as it could on the Bastard.

        Are you telling me, said Senator Sobrourski, leaning forward and with a quiet voice, that you believe the robot reprogrammed itself to kill Mr Goodall slowly on purpose? Based on their conversation?

        I know it did, said Cal. Digital audit trails in the robot's programming told me that. I found that out in about thirty minutes. What I'm talking about is why. Why did it do that? Why did it reprogram itself?

        And the answer is?

        Well, I'm not quite sure. But I have a theory.

        Which is?

        I think maybe the robot was trying to understand what Goodall was talking about. I think it tried to experience pleasure by causing him a great amount of pain.

        The room exploded in a roar of voices.


Regarding the Confessor program currently practice in correctional facilities in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Confessor for the Clearwater Correctional Facility appears to have worked as designed. This indicates a flaw in the basic programming design of the Confessor robots, XMT series. This issue should be addressed in the next generation of Confessor models, the XMZ series.

The Confessor robots, XMT series, should be updated with programming code patches to alleviate this issue and keep it from reoccurring. The XMZ models appear to be adequately programmed as such already.

In regards to the Confessor program itself, there is no reason to expect that it will continue to be flawed in the future. It is the opinion of this panel that the Confessor program remain active and be expanded to include other regional correctional facilities.






copyright 2007 Christian Nevers.

Christian Nevers


link to