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In Person of Interest, The Machine has an analog interface - Root, The Machine directly communicates with her.

Samaritan has its own analog interface - Gabriel Hayward, A child which Samaritan talks through.

Root was intrigued with AI; she was fascinated by it. And has always chosen to help The Machine.

How did Samaritan recruit Hayward? Does Hayward even understand what he is saying?

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    Regarding the title: it's much easier to corrupt the young.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 21:15

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Gabriel Hayward is a childhood prodigy whose intelligence is clearly exceptional. Showing extreme computer aptitude an an early age, he hacked multiple US defense agencies including DARPA, the DOD and the Pentagon. Once Samaritan began it attempt to destroy Harold Finch's Machine, Gabriel was its response to Root's (one of the Machine's operative) effective integration with the Machine's intelligence.

Samaritan is an artificial super intelligence developed contemporaneously with the Machine by a student colleague of Harold Finch's. According to its creator, Arthur Claypool, its focus lies less in the categorization of relevant and irrelevant as the Machine does, but more so on its artificial intelligence capabilities.

  • While the Machine's architecture is closed and unable to be edited, its information reviewed or people's privacy disclosed, Samaritan is under no such restrictions and can use whatever means to interact with the NSA feeds it uses as its primary information gathering mechanism.

  • While Gabriel's psychological status is not revealed to us, he is aware of what Samaritan is doing and is apparently unphased by the numerous deaths the machine has perpetrated in its global plans for smooth transition to a Samaritan-run world.

  • It is not known whether Gabriel volunteered for the job or Samaritan hired him because of his incredible and facile intellect. Gabriel indeed understands what Samaritan is proposing and as it's point man, he can expect to effectively rule the world if Samaritan is successful.

Samaritan logically chose Hayward because he has no primary allegiances to anything or anyone except Samaritan. His intellect is an asset to Samaritan and he has no moral quandary with Samaritan's future plans.

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I don't know how "canon" it is, but according to this POI wiki:

Very little is known about Gabriel at this point. According to Samaritan, he is a very intelligent young man. He taught himself computer programming and with his knowledge of computers already managed to hack into the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Department of Defense (DOD).

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