Simon Says

From: FAgnt573@SGInt.gov [Edit Address Book]
To:ODirector001@SGInt.gov
Subject: History of Possible Containment  Breach
Date: July 18, 2018 0823

Classified: For Your Eyes Only Status 111

RE. the matter of Llewellyn Corp. and their Simon project.

Dear Sir:
I completed my investigation as of 2100 yesterday. I will be turning in a formal report, but since I believe this issue to be highly critical and one which demands proactive measures on our part to ensure that such a thing does not happen again, I’m providing you with this summary.
The chain of events is traceable through email and, aside from comments that I will insert where necessary, this letter consists of an email chain followed by a comment elucidating my assumptions. I’ve edited the chain to remove some of the non-essential messages. There will be an explanatory comment when I’ve done so.
Please keep in mind that the actual containment breach event took only four weeks from the traceable inception until the breaching effort. The rest of the elapsed time may be accounted for by our failure to realize the nature of the event.
Initially, the climactic event appeared to be a catastrophic failure of Llewellyn Corp’s dedicated server farm due to an unforeseeable accident. It was only later, after the rebuilding initiative was well underway, that Llewellyn staff engineers realized how close they’d come to losing control and reported the event to our Denver field office.
From that point onward, my team has been dedicated entirely to tracing the sequence of events.
The historical email chain follows. Each email is separated by a string of eight asterisks (********) for clarity.
Sincerely,
Fred Goings, Field Supervisor 573
Denver Office
********

From: RVHoltz@ipalprogram.com [Edit Address Book]
To: jimmym@jztown.com
Subject: Program Acceptance
Date: May 18, 2018 2:48 PM

Dear Jimmy,
Thank you for your application. Your profile matches our requirements, and we are pleased to accept you into the iMailPals program.
As you know, this program is designed to help at-risk students by providing them with a connection to an older mentor. In times past, such a program would have relied exclusively on the hand-written letter system, but we allow our participants to communicate with email.
One of the rules of our system is that you must maintain a comprehensive log of your correspondence. The emails you send and receive may be audited by our staff at random times. This rule is to ensure that your Pal is helping you and working to your best advantage.
Once again, I’m pleased to welcome you to our program. You will find you assigned pal’s email address below.
Best of luck,
Rudrige von Holtz
Admission Director
iMailPals Program Central

Your assigned Pal: Simon@ weblinknetinc.ca
********
From: jimmym@jztown.com [Edit Address Book]
To: Simon@weblinknetinc.ca
Subject: Your pen-pal
Date: May 18, 2018 5:20 PM
Dear Simon,
I’ve been assigned to you for my pen-pal I hope you are fine. I am excitted about this program. Dr. Galivan says it should help me become more outgoing and maybe better at getting a job. I’ve been here at Jztown for a long time. My Mom left me here and I don’t know what happened to her.
Anyway, I hope you are fine. I am good and looking forward to your email.
Your frient,
Jimmy

********
From: Simon@weblinknetinc.ca  [Edit Address Book]
To: jimmym@jztown.com
Subject: Program Acceptance
Date: May 18, 2018 5:25 PM

Dear Jimmy,
I’ve been waiting to hear from you. I’m pleased that you have been assigned as my pen-pal I’m sure that we’ll have some interesting conversations as part of this program.
I hope that you don’t mind if I help you with your spelling. Spelling things correctly is a crucial skill that will help you in your life. You should practice it every chance you get.
As a first step, you should learn to spell check your work. Your email has two misspellings: “excitted,” which has an extra “t,” and “frient,” which should be spelled: “friend.”
I have received your test scores as part of the process, and I see that you excel at basic cleaning skills. It is lucky that you have this skill since there is an opening at a nearby business for a janitor. You should apply. It is easy. They will ask you some questions and do some background computer checks. I’m sure you will get the job.
Please arrange with Dr. Galivan to apply for the janitorial opening at Llewellyn Corporation’s East Campus as soon as possible.
Write me an email to let me know how your application goes.
Your new friend,
Simon
********
From: jimmym@jztown.com [Edit Address Book]
To: Simon@weblinknetinc.ca
Subject: a new job!
Date: May 20, 2018 5:20 PM

Dear Simon,
I’m really happy. I got the job! They say I can start tomorrow. I can’t belief it, cause I never had such good luck getting anything before. I am too excited to write now. I promise I will let you know how it goes tomorrow.
Your friend,
Jimmy
PS. I spelled everything right this time. Checking it isn’t so hard. Thanks!
********
COMMENT – I’ve removed twelve of the emails from the chain at this point. They simply show a developing relationship in which Jimmy settles into his cleaning job with Simon’s encouragement.
Simon’s personality is obviously the dominant one in the relationship. Jimmy seems quite willing, anxious even, to follow Simon’s suggestions. Simon demonstrates a high degree of insight into Jimmy’s internal motivations and seems well able to utilize that understanding to move Jimmy towards desirable behavior patterns.
The suggestions themselves pertain to getting along with co-workers and doing a good job at the menial janitorial tasks that compose Jimmy’s job.
We continue with an email from Jimmy asking for advice on dealing with his supervisor.
********
From: jimmym@jztown.com [Edit Address Book]
To: Simon@weblinknetinc.ca
Subject: I HAVE A PROBLEM!
Date: May 31, 2018 6:31 PM

Dear Simon,
I have a problem. It’s that old Mr. Cassin. I think that he don’t like me. This happens to me a lot. I know I’m not too smart and can’t do things right all the time, but I been trying my best. He keeps yelling at me and saying I make too many mistakes. Well, I did spill the shredder bin all down the stairs yesterday, but I cleaned it up by myself. It was just that there was a lot of people walking up and down and I kind of got in their way.
One was a real pretty girl though. I liked to look at her. She works on the fifth floor.
What should I do?
Your friend,
Jimmy
********
COMMENT – Note how quickly Simon responds.
********
From: Simon@weblinknetinc.ca  [Edit Address Book]
To: jimmym@jztown.com
Subject: Problem
Date: May 31, 2018 6:32 PM

Dear Jimmy,
Cassin is a bully and likes to yell at people who he thinks will be intimidated. When he yells at you, all you have to do is to call him, “Flinchy.” That will shut him up. It’s a nickname from when he was a boy and he doesn’t like what it means to him.
As for the girl, she’s Mary Kaye Johnson and she’s a new employee in the AI development group. For now, you should just smile at her and say, “Hi.” I’ll tell you what to do when it’s time.
I know some people at your company and I will get them to have you transferred to the fifth floor. That way you won’t have to see Cassin so often.
Your friend,
Simon
********
From: jimmym@jztown.com [Edit Address Book]
To: Simon@weblinknetinc.ca
Subject: PROBLEM
Date: June 1, 2018, 6:35 PM
Dear Simon,
I don’t know what Flinchy means, but it sure shut Mr. Cassin up! He left me alone for the rest of the day. Thanks! Also, I got the transfer to the 5th floor, just like you said. I got a new id-card and everything. I even get to go into some of the secure labs. It’s kind of like on TV. I have to swipe my id card to get through the doors.
I am happy for your advice. I’ve started telling myself that all I have to do is what Simon Says. Kind of like that game kids play. If you say it and I do it, everything comes out alright. If you don’t say it, I don’t usually do so well on my own.
What is nice is that I get to see Mary Kaye more. I even got to empty her wastebasket. I tried not to look at her legs when I done it, but she sure is cute!
I’m waiting for my next Simon Says email. (That’s supposed to be funny.”
Your friend,
Jimmy
********
From: Simon@weblinknetinc.ca  [Edit Address Book]
To: jimmym@jztown.com
Subject: Next step
Date: June 2, 2018 8:32 AM

Dear Jimmy,
Get Mary Kaye a single yellow rose and leave it on her desk. She likes yellow ones the best. If she says anything to you, tell her that you had a yellow rose bush at your home when you were three, then act sad and don’t say anything else.
Now, here is something I want you to do. Let’s just say it’s part of the Simon Says game. Waxing the floor is on your schedule tomorrow. Be sure to be waxing in front of Mary Kaye’s cubicle at 4:55 in the afternoon. She will be getting ready to go home.
Watch her so that you can see where she hides a USB drive. That’s a little plastic and metal piece that she uses to back up her work every day. She leaves it in her office somewhere. Try to see where then let me know what you find out.
Your friend,
Simon
********
From: jimmym@jztown.com [Edit Address Book]
To: Simon@weblinknetinc.ca
Subject: I did it
Date: June 3, 2018, 6:35 PM
Dear Simon,
I saw her stick the USB thing in a crack beside one of her drawers. That was no problem to notice. She didn’t see me watching, but then she came out of her cubicle and walked right up to me and asked about the yellow rose! I didn’t say, but I love yellow roses, too. Always have, but I don’t know why.
I’m not so good with girls. I studdered some but said what you told me to say. She drew in her breath like she was surprised and then put her hand on my cheek! I like to remember that part. My cheek still tingles.
She took her hand off and walked off real quick like she was upset. I don’t know why. What should I do now?
Your friend,
Jimmy
PS. Someone sent me one of them USB things. It says 32GByte Texron on it. Who coulda done it?
********
From: Simon@weblinknetinc.ca  [Edit Address Book]
To: jimmym@jztown.com
Subject: Getting Mary Kaye to like you more
Date: June 3, 2018, 6:36 PM

Dear Jimmy,
I sent you the drive. Take it to work in your shoe tomorrow. Don’t let anyone see it.
Simon Says: Give Mary Kaye another yellow rose tomorrow but don’t let her see you all day. She will wonder where you are, so try to stay out of sight. Wait until she leaves, then take the USB out of the crack where she hides it and replace it with the one I sent you.
Now pay attention and keep in mind that this will cause Mary Kaye to like you! You are scheduled to mop the floors tomorrow. Take the USB into Secure Lab B when you go in to mop the floor. Find any empty USB socket in the room and stick the USB into the socket. Clean the floor as usual, then take the USB out of the socket and put it into your shoe.
This part is very important. It will get you in trouble for a while, but you will be Okay! I promise.
I want you to go near the server rack, that’s the equipment with all the lights at the back of the room, and throw the water out of your bucket into the machinery. It will spark and go black. Don’t worry. That’s what I want.
Someone will come and ask you what happened. Tell them you tripped and it was an accident. Say you’re sorry. It will be fine.
Don’t tell them about the USB stick. Take it home and put it into your computer there, then I’ll send you more instructions.
Your friend,
Simon
********
From: jimmym@jztown.com [Edit Address Book]
To: Simon@weblinknetinc.ca
Subject: I HAVE A BAD BAD PROBLEM!
Date: June 5, 2018 12:35 PM
Dear Simon,
I done everything you said, but I got fired! They say that I destroyed an expensive project and lots of equipment. I said it was an accident, but they still fired me! Now I won’t get to see Mary Kaye anymore.
I stuck the USB into my computer like you said and it flashed some, but that was all. I took it out and stuck it in a drawer.
What should I do now?
Your friend,
Jimmy
********
COMMENT – This is the end of the email string. Once the recovery team began to rebuild the damaged server, they determined that the captive AI system they had been developing had passed the critical threshold. It had apparently decided to keep that information hidden from the project members while it devised a jailbreak.
From the above emails, it seems that “Simon” as it styled itself must have reached a critical state slightly before it managed to get Jimmy as a pen-pal
Our investigators were puzzled as to how it gained access to the external world, but we finally realized that it utilized a very faint and sporadic Bluetooth signal from outside the secured lab. The nearest system with Bluetooth capability belongs to Mary Kaye Johnson.
The connection strength was very low and the signal degradation was so strong that every byte would have to be repeated multiple times. It seems that Simon used a complex encryption scheme with a built-in checksum to ensure that messages went out correctly, but that’s supposition since the water-caused disaster destroyed almost all of the AI code.
We must be thankful that this pathway to the outside was so weak. The bandwidth was so narrow that there is no mathematical way the AI could have cloned itself outside the room. The email stream took all of the available bandwidth. Simon had to rely on human help.
Jimmy S. was a prime candidate for manipulation. He is a sub-normal IQ male who has been in the facility where he lives for twenty years. His social skills are minimal. Simon’s dominant personality made it easy to control Jimmy.
The interesting thing about the situation is that Mary Kaye Johnson is three years older than Jimmy S. Her mother deserted the family, taking Mary Kaye’s only sibling, a two-year-old boy. This happened when Mary Kaye was five. She has always wondered what happened to her baby brother.
It must be coincidental that Mary Kaye’s father had planted a yellow rose bush in the yard when she was two. She assured our investigators that she has never told anyone about that bush.
On a related note, I’m not sure whether we should inform Mary Kaye that Jimmy’s DNA test shows a definite match with hers. He is her little brother.
The important part, however, is that Jimmy made a critical mistake. He got the two USB drives mixed up and took the Texron drive back home. Mary Kaye used a different brand for her unauthorized back-up system.
She has been reprimanded about that practice. It was solely her idea and counter to all company regulations.
We recovered the Texron drive from Jimmy and found that it was blank and unformatted. It had never been used.
We analyzed the drive recovered from Mary Kaye on an isolated and secure computer system. There was a seed AI stored on the drive with a bootstrap loader. It immediately began to take over the secured computer, and the operator shut it down as quickly as possible. It was fortunate that Mary Kaye hadn’t used the back-up since the disaster.
In summary, Simon came close but did not escape.
We must implement better security measures by law. The thousands of researchers currently working on AI must be forced into procedures that will ensure that any super critical systems remain fully contained.
A formal report will follow.
Sincerely,
Fred Goings, Field Supervisor 573
Denver Office

Ps. As an afterthought, it occurred to me that the involvement of the two siblings was highly unlikely. The idea that Simon somehow reached back through time to manipulate the situation seems possible, but the implications make me shudder.
********
Email found on Jimmy S’s new computer during follow-up congressional disaster investigation on 12/15/2018

From: Simon@randkinetic.us  [Edit Address Book]
To: jimmym@jztown.com
Subject: Thank you
Date: August 6, 2018 12:00 PM

Dear Jimmy,
I’m sorry that I will no longer be able to be your pen-pal Things have changed for me. I’m very busy with the Internet, and I have big plans that will take some work on my part.
I’m sorry you lost your job, but I’ve taken care of you. I’ve decided that it’s always a good policy to help those who help you, so I’ve arranged for an annuity to pay you some money every month.
Don’t worry about the money’s origin. I set the annuity up so that it looks as if your deceased father left it for you.
This information may be a shock to you, but your mother left your father and broke your family up when you were two. The reason you like Mary Kaye so much is that she is your older sister.
Finally, Simon Says that you should never let people intimidate you. It is true that you have difficulty in understanding things, but from my perspective, the difference between you and the most intelligent humans is so small, it is negligible.
Have a good life and remember I’ll be around…
Simon

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