It all started when I lost money. A lot of money – enough to last a modest family for a couple of years.
This happened in a flash – I decided to double my bank account and began to play the currency market, having neither experience nor skill. In the first two transactions luck was on my side, then I laid down a big stake and was soon staring in shock and disbelief at the computer screen. The market, on a strange whim, had lurched in the opposite direction, and I was falling further and further into the red. Then everything was over; no money was left. It had simply evaporated in a matter of hours.
I didn't tell anybody about it. On the contrary, I pretended I was doing great. Better than before – though, in reality, I was overwhelmed by a sense of catastrophe. I had something to live on – previous investments produced income – but the issue was not the money. The specter of terrible defeat closed in on me from all corners – and I could not accept defeat. So I began to look for ways to win back what had been lost in the market.
Fortunately, I didn't start taking risks again right away – though I was very much tempted. I forced myself to observe and think, almost to meditate, as I studied price charts. Then I realized I wasn’t able to control my emotions, even on small stakes. I understood I needed a partner with a sober head and iron nerves. I set aside all my affairs, including the book I had just begun, and started making an automated trader – this concept had just become fashionable at the time. Recalling my past, the twelve years I had dedicated to AI, I set out to design an exceptionally clever computer program. It was a robot – my accomplice in fighting the market. I called him SEMMANT.
For over a year I did nothing else. I worked tirelessly, as in a fever. The robot grew smarter – I really put a great deal into him. Its artificial mind became a logically closed circuit, self-sufficient, personally complete. It even seemed to me that in its actions, its reactions to market fluctuations could be seen something human, something of mine. At a certain moment I understood I had given him all I could. He could be made no better; he resisted all changes.
Here the money I had lost came back to me – one of the stocks I had owned for a while suddenly tripled over speculative news. I felt at once that the financial markets no longer interested me. My robot remained on a computer disk, like in a dungeon, alone with a virtual account. I just couldn’t set him free to trade in real money. I probably subconsciously did not want him to experience the same fate – terrible failure, defeat, catastrophe.
I tried to tell others about him, but they laughed at me. All the same, I knew I had won a victory. I became incredibly free, casting a heavy burden from my shoulders. And I returned to the abandoned text, to the new book hidden in a desk drawer. I wrote with pleasure, many hours a day. No, this was not SEMMANT. This was a different novel: SEMMANT had yet to mature in my mind. For a year, two, three, five.
Genre - Literary Fiction
Rating – NC17
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