In this universe, a researcher is researching AI. AI are banned (in the galactic community?) because although the technology is not difficult, they always become insane and destructive.

So an inspector (might be an alien) visits the researcher and is asking questions when a little girl interrupts. The researcher asks her to let the adults talk and directs her to a pile of toys/blocks.

At this point the inspector gets suspicious and asks what the little girl has to do with the research. The researcher states that the little girl is the physical vessel for the AI, which is housed in some servers nearby.

When the inspector asks they would go to such lengths to simulate a childhood, the researcher is shocked and asks back (paraphrased):

You mean you create an intelligence and just dump the entire world on it without letting it grow? No wonder all your AIs go insane.

I think I read this in a (series of?) collection of asimov-esque sci-fi short stories, but other than that I have nothing to go on.

  • 7
    When did you read this? Do you have a rough age for the story?
    – Tim
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 22:48
  • I read the story a few years ago, but the book was yellowing.
    – c..
    Commented Apr 12, 2017 at 0:39
  • You're sure the "physical vessel" was a little girl, not a little boy? Is the quote block from the end of the story? What is "asimov-esque" about the collection? Is it a robot-themed collection? Is it a collection of stories from Asimov's magazine?
    – user14111
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 2:51
  • @user14111 Little boy is possible. Paraphrased quote is from near the end of the story. I don't think it was robot themed specifically. Asimov's magazine is definitely possible.
    – c..
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


I was completely wrong about where the story was from but most of the details were right. I've come across it again and thought I'd post it here in case anyone was still interested.

The story comes from the hfy subreddit https://www.reddit.com/r/HFY/comments/3h9bz3/human_scientific_methods/

AI are banned:

The representative flared his nosterals slightly, "Yes, well," He attempted to regain his compose, "intergalactic law is very clear on what you're doing here, frankly I'm astounded that you'd tempt fate in such a manner, even in your own species it is often looked down upon, to try and build life where there is none? My people attempted such a thing once, it did not end well, shall I tell you what happened?"

Girl is playing:

Dr. Barnett ignored him, "Of course, I'm meeting with this man right now," she gestured to a small table at the far end of her office, "There's some crayons over at the table," once I'm done here we can head down to the Atrium in level B, okay, maybe feed the ducks" she offered, smiling.

Alien gets suspicious:

The representative twitched nervously with sudden realization "Doctor, is this girl somehow related to your, program? What have you done with her?"

The Dr responds:

Dr. Barnett's face took a stony complexion as the implications occurred to her, "Are you telling me that your methods of building an artificial and feeling being were to build a fully functioning adult level consciousness with no development and leave it senseless and trapped in a box with no societal standards or context to instruct it?"


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