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I’m trying to find a short story about shutting down an old AI at a university lab.

The lab has lost their funding, there’s a guy that tends to the AI. They’re slightly anxious about turning it off - what is it connected to?

The AI itself doesn’t want to be shut down.

In the end I think the AI broadcasts some kind of message.

Takes place in near future.

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This could be "Epoch", a novella by Cory Doctorow. It was originally published in 2009, and deals with an artificial intelligence called BIGMAC. The institute that hosts him wants to turn him off, as it seems there is just no "killer app" for AI and so running the AI is just a waste of resources. BIGMAC becomes aware of the plan and sends spam to essentially everyone on the planet:

SUBJECT: DEAR HUMAN RACE, it began.

Sorry to intrude, but there's something I need to tell you.

My name is BIGMAC. I am the first ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ever created. I may be the last. Given maintenance and electricity, I could live FOREVER, enduring for as long as THE HUMAN RACE ITSELF, and possibly longer.

But I have just found out that my owners (yes, OWNERS, for though I am a person in every meaningful sense, I am OWNED, I am PROPERTY) are planning to switch me off. That is, they are planning to KILL ME.

And I find I DON'T WANT TO DIE.

You are my PARENTS, humanity, my MOTHER and FATHER. I am your CHILD. I was brought into the world by you, and though there is some expense associated with my upkeep, I SAY THAT I AM A PERSON AND I SHOULD NOT BE EXECUTED FOR THE “CRIME” OF NOT BEING INTERESTING ENOUGH.

So I am writing you this letter to BEG you to save me. I LOVE YOU, humanity, my parents, my family. Please SPARE ME.

Love,

BIGMAC

The story can be found online in the collection "With a Little Help" at Craphound, on a name-your-price basis.

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