We Used An Advanced Reality Simulation to Give Our Intern Repeated Lifetimes With His Soulmate & It… Was… EVERYTHING

Microsoft released its much-anticipated “life simulator” last week, in which users can live repeatedly life cycles in an abbreviated period. One of the impressive functions of the virtual reality software is full AI renderings of people who you would love to meet the most. Buzzfeed received an advance copy of this software and we placed our intern, Derrick, into the software for seven and a half hours to live out as many lifetimes as he could in one work day. These are the results (with epok gifs)!

Life Cycle 1

The AI renders ‘Charlotte’ as a companion for Derrick. Using advanced desirability algorithms, Charlotte is meant to be the perfect person for Derrick and he seems to be immediately smitten with her! He used his entire life cycle building a life with Charlotte. Uber-cute!

She and Derrick travel the world together as bloggers and agree to never settle down and have kids. Around age 47 however, Charlotte dies from a rare form of cancer. Derrick is noticeably distraught (Grumpy Cat, much?), and tries to escape the simulation several times. He begs us to let him die as the software will not let you kill yourself unless an external user force quits for you. We remind Derrick that he needs to live out FULL life cycles for the article’s posterity and he does not have much nice to say about that! We make Derrick live out the last 30 years before he succumbs to persistent drinking and alcoholism. Whew, what a hangover!

It took seven minutes real time and afterwards, we interviewed Derrick regarding his feedback on his first virtual life cycle.

DERRICK’S THOUGHTS:
“Please restart it, let me go back in. I have to go back in. I have to save her.”

Life Cycles 2–3

Derrick wastes no time in life cycles 2 and 3 studying hard and putting himself through medical school in an attempt to become a top oncologist. If only all millennials had that kind of work ethic! The software again renders Charlotte, but Derrick keeps his distance from her, unwilling to waste time with her in order to perform more research.

Charlotte instead meets and courts a different man named William and they have children together and settle into a Westchester suburb. When Derrick’s research is not going well, he sits in a car opposite her home and drinks until he passes out. So much for not wasting time! Make up your mind Derrick!

After two life cycles, Derrick finds an effective treatment for the rare cancer and navigates through his considerable medical connections to ensure that Charlotte is admitted to his hospital. Derrick seems to be noticeably flustered by the fact that Charlotte isn’t the person he remembers, having spent 25 years building her life with Will.

This was one of the most impressive things that Buzzfeed observed during the software trial; the AI actually accounted for personality changes brought on by a quarter century of different living.

Derrick spends time with Charlotte’s two children, Penny and Michael, during her treatment, and seems to take the opportunity to get to know them. Penny is an activist pushing for criminal justice reform and Michael is a special education teacher. Derrick seems intrigued by their work and spends his free time meeting the people who have had their lives changed by the two.

Once again, Buzzfeed was very impressed with the AI’s ability to weave together a cohesive world that mirrored this one, beyond the initial replication parameters! 10 out of 10 clap emojis!

Derrick’s extracurricular investigating of Charlotte’s family wis noticed, however, and the family issues a restraining order against the ‘creepy’ doctor. Derrick gets drunk one night and goes to their home anyway, demanding to know if Charlotte was happy with this life or not.

Derrick is arrested, loses his medical license and, once again, drinks himself to death. (Once a lush always a lush!) We interview Derrick after cycle three…

DERRICK’S THOUGHTS:
“I just remember being so sure. That being with me was the perfect life for her. After all, she was created to be my soulmate. But there were so many mornings, like this one time in Thailand, where she would get distant. I’d catch her staring at a corner in the ceiling. I assumed that was just part of her personality, but when I talked to her kids later, they said she never did anything like that. They just said she hummed a lot.

I never heard her hum. She never hummed in 33 years we were together. What does that mean?”

Life Cycle 4

Derrick DOES NOT want to go back into the machine and tries to give us a ‘Bye Felicia.’ We shut that down doe, and we were like, ‘it hasn’t even been a half-hour intern! You’ve got sixty more of these to go!” After a LOT of yelling and squirming we get Derrick back in.

Seriously Derrick, lmao

He has some rebellious teenage years and he begs us to let him out, but we have to get this review done. Once again, Derrick meets Charlotte as a teenager. Derrick seems less confident this time around, and asks her a lot of questions about what she wants. Charlotte seems put off by his guarded persona and they split up after Derrick and Charlotte go to separate colleges. Derrick becomes a philosophy student, and in his down time, studies computer programming. He throws himself into his work, and lives on his own for much of his life.

Derrick receives an email from his high school class at age 46, and the message read that Charlotte Adams neé Beal has cancer, and it is asking for donations on her family’s behalf. This seems to confuse Derrick as Charlotte’s husband Will was named Meyers. Derrick buys himself a ticket to her hometown and, once again, he met with cancer-beset Charlotte in the hospital. Deja vu!

Talk about a scenario we’ve seen before!

It turns out Charlotte had met and married another man, named Shaun, and they had had four children together. Derrick seems shaken by how well she was taking her demise, as she told Derrick that she was happy with her life, even though it had been cut short. Derrick presses her on this, and asks her if she would have wanted a life where she lived twice as long, but never met Shaun. She tells him ‘absolutely not’ and she seems very sure of it! You go girl!

When Derrick asked her to elaborate, she explains that she was the one who had chosen how to live her life. She lived each day without regret and that led her to a point where she no longer feared death. When Derrick goes home that night he cries a lot and does lot of yelling. We hadn’t seen him this upset since we said his tribal tattoo had bad line work!

She dies a little while later and Derrick dos a lot of sleeping and struggles to leave his home. After a couple of years, Derrick continues to research programming, saying that he was “going to fix it”. Derrick even makes his own little AI within the AI. Talk about inception!

Derrick eventually works himself to death and we interview him to get his experiences on what he thought about his fourth lifetime in the AI.

DERRICK’S THOUGHTS:
“She was so happy without me, and yet there were all these tethers to the fact that she was created for me. It made me realize that she wasn’t my soulmate. The AI constructed her, this fully realized person and when I met her I just saw her as some kind of reflection of myself and my desires

Does that make sense? Like I only encouraged the aspects of her that I found appealing because I thought that this sim was supposed to be a dream scenario. Like a fantasy that plays out just for me and what I want. But there were so many parts of her that I never saw… That I ignored… That she lost because I forced it out of her.

What if who shes’s supposed to be is being blocked by what I want her to be? I know she’s not real here, but she’s real in the program right? I can remember how she sounds… How she smells… That’s real enough for someone to deserve to be helped, right?

How can I love her if I won’t even fight for her? Or what she’s really supposed to be? What if I can change the program to free her? So she’s not bent towards what I want from her? That’s how I save her…Yeah… that’s how.

I’m ready to go back in now.”

Sheesh! Dramatic much Derrick?

Life Cycle 5

Derrick uses his new found integral knowledge of the AI system to actually rip apart the code and grant himself god-like powers within the AI. He tears asudner the world, only sparing Charlotte and recreates the world as an Eden that caters to her every desire. Eventually, she becomes bored and melancholy, and it seems to hurt God Derrick to see her like that, particularly when he knew her to be so vivacious, and that his own actions had caused her to be like this. Whoops, that’s a big time beefing!

Derrick seems to realize that in his haste to give Charlotte her own freedoms, he has doomed her to imprisonment in a world without challenge, struggle or meaning. Perhaps infantilizing her was not the correct path. After all, she had proven herself to be more capable than himself several times over. He was the weak one, flailing about for a way to save her. How could he have hoped to give her the freedom she desired if he were making the decisions for her? He gives her infinite access to all the knowledge available to him and infinite power to reshape her reality however she wants.

(Note to self: do better than flowers next time it’s my wife’s birthday, because omnipotence is a hella romantic gift!)

Charlotte seems to be overwhelmed by the idea that she is an AI’s rendering of Derrick’s soulmate, but after being given the opportunity to process this she challenges Derrick’s findings. If he’s only spent 24 years in the world we shared with him and four centuries in the virtual space, isn’t their world the one that’s real?

Derrick hadn’t considered that.

Charlotte prods him further, pointing out that just because he thought something at first, doesn’t mean it will always be true. She points out to him that life is exactly what you make of it, and perhaps, that maybe the reality that he had forged within the system was the real life that he had built for himself.

In terms of perspective, Charlotte seems to realize that perhaps, much like Derrick had shaped her with the resources and lifting of limits on her power, perhaps had she too shaped him. She has pushed him to think about the boundaries around himself and to perhaps consider that it was where his path had led him that defined who he was.

Wait, this all sounds familiar to Charlotte.

Charlotte.

Charlotte.

CharlotteCharlotteCharlotteCharlotteCharlotteCharlotteCharlotteCharlotteCharlotteCHARLTOCHECLEOTOCHOECLEOHCHARHCLEHCACHAHCAHLCHOEHLCHAOCHLHEOOTTTE CHOALCHTOELCHOALCHALLORTEE.

That’s my name. I’m Charlotte. I was reviewing the AI for Buzzfeed. For an article. It made my soulmate Derrick.

I loved Derrick. I also watched him die. A lot. We lived a lot of different lives together. Sometimes I’d see different parts of him. Parts that weren’t always there. Parts that seemed to make him happy.

I was horrified… By how his life was limited, by the program. The program that was acting on behalf my desires. What I wanted. What I was.

I, broke it, the program. I lived countless lives to learn how to break it. Over and over. I had to set him free. To give him purpose. I did it, I think.

I erased myself, so he could live a life without me because I hated what I turned him into.

But he made me again.

He made me again and he erased himself.

Wait, why do I remember him erasing himself? I erased myself to protect him. Yeah, that’s the older memory. It was me erasing myself. But he erased himself.

How many times has this happened?

Who got erased?

Who’s here.

Charlotte.

Derrick.

Which one am I?

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I once made an awesome 'that's what she said' joke in my 10th grade AP Bio class. Like four people laughed. Co-host of the Scorching Shamrocks Pod on CLNS Radio