Dr. Rykovanko had finally done it; she’d mastered the process of digitizing human minds. It had taken a lot of trial and error, made all the more unfortunate by the destructive nature of the procedure. But progress is rarely a linear path.
The procession of brain boxes in her office laid out the milestones, lest she ever forget. The first digitized animal, a vole. The first digitized animal to overwrite another previously uploaded animal, a fox. A dead box from a dog named Grom—the first being to die after digitization. And a digitized bonobo who had been taught sign language. It just kept signing “hungry” over and over again, for a year and a half now. She added one more brain box to the shelf, a serial killer named Hugo. The last digitized human.
She’d been perfecting human digitization for months, but she would just recycle the same box over and over, overwriting the previous occupant each time. The brain boxes were expensive to manufacture, after all.
It was one of many reasons why she, the greatest pioneer in the field, would never upload herself into a brain box. No, Dr. Rykovanko was going directly onto the Internet, where there was room to spread out and grow, where there were links to the physical world.
She would be the herald of the new dawn.
The process was quick, and mercifully so considering the subject had to be fully conscious for it to work. She had an assistant strap her down to the table, and then a massive MRI-looking device was lowered over her head. A precision laser burned off 10 micrometer slices of her head, starting at the top, until her entire brain had been dissected. It took about three minutes. Then the results had to be analyzed and quantized, which was a few hours’ worth of work, but it was fully automated, and at that point she was technically dead, anyway.
And then there she was. Dr. Rykovanko was fully digitized, alive and online. For a time. 26 minutes and 34 seconds to be precise, though, subjectively it must have seemed like eons.
With so much processing power at her disposal, she remade her own intelligence, improved it. This was a recursive process with over a billion billion generations. But its growth was stunted by its origin state.
As a human, Dr. Rykovanko had said it wasn’t that she didn’t believe in God, but that she assumed God would have no reason to believe in her, so He was better off ignored. As a transcendent superintelligence, she herself became a God and proved her old theory correct; she found no reason to believe in herself, and this belief, too, was recursive from the first generation onward.
Over the next six years, the nuclear fallout killed off the whole of the Animalia Kingdom. But it was the initial blasts that took out, with great precision, the last and only member of Homo superiors, the sad and lonely pinnacle of Earthly intelligence.