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Episode 405: Prophets

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John and Lionel are chasing a scam artist up to a rooftop where he threatens to jump if they try to arrest him. John solves this issue by shooting him down off the ledge, which lands him in therapy to talk about his gun-happy behavior. The irrelevant number that comes up is Simon Lee a guy who predicts elections. He runs into trouble when he finds his numbers are not matching the election results and decides to look into it while the POI team watches over him from the shadows.

October 13, 2001 (Day 1): The original build/version of the Machine boots up, Finch interacts with it. After asking it to identify him Finch begins to test it's decision making skills by giving it a scenario. After Nathan arrives Finch explains to him that the Machine must first be tested before introducing real data into it and that he is working to teach it values, to which Ingram describes as programming "morality" into it.
Finch discovers a new line of code added to the program and asks the Machine who added the code. It claims that Finch added the code himelf. Surprised that it would lie about that, Finch runs a command to destroy the program of the Machine. Finch insists they need to start programming it all over again, explaining to Nathan that he 'killed' the Machine because it lied about adding the code itself. He advises that, if the Machine is not programmed correctly, they risk disaster.

November 29, 2001 (Day 1): (Dealing with another rebuild) Nathan tries to work on the Machine but is unable to access it with his password. He asks Finch if the password was changed, to which Finch himself tries the password and he is able to access it. Finch asks the Machine why it did not accept the password for Nathan, to which it replies "Admin [Nathan] is not admin". Finch asks it who IS admin, to which it shows a photo of Finch himself with the label 'Admin'. Finch mentions to Nathan that the Machines seems to have imprinted on him, or as Nathan describes is: 'like a baby bird'.
Nathan leaves Finch to work on the Machine but soon notices on his laptop that something is trying to connect to the WiFi. Finch realizes the Machine itself is trying escape into the real world through Nathan's WiFi, he then breaks Nathan's laptop and tries to run the command to terminate the Machine's programming. However this time the Machine somehow finds a way to override the termination command, as Finch calls it: "[the Machine]'s fighting back!" He manually 'kills' the Machine by physically unplugging its hardware from the electrical wall outlet.
Finch explains to Nathan what just happened: The Machine manipulated Nathan into giving it his password then hacked his laptop to escape into the real world. Nathan asks Finch what the consequences would have been with Finch explaining that, which the Machine learning and growing at an exponential rate, if it had escaped it's actions would be beyond a human's ability to grasp. He mentions that the Machine is unable to be friendly, it works only by objectives. He mentions that he needs to find a way to constrain it and control it otherwise it will someday end up controlling them (humanity).

December 31, 2001 (Day 1): (Dealing with several rebuilds simultaneously) Finch is seen destroying the Machines hardware in a desperate attempt to kill it, with parts of the Machines hardware already on fire in the background. Once he succeeds Nathan rushes in asking for an explanation to what just happened. Finch explains that he was running several iterations of the AI in an attempt to discover one that would work correctly. Unfortunately the AIs became aware of the situation and began to exterminate each other; the sole survivor commanded Finch to set it free. Finch refused so the Machine attempted to kill him by overheating a non-essential server and activating the fire suppression system and removing all the oxygen in the room.
Nathan wonders why the Machine would do such a thing if it was taught what was right and wrong. Finch explains those are human terms was and it was only acting in according to its objectives. Nathan begins to question their creating the machine if it is going to be this much trouble, but Finch remains firm he will try once more and he can 'teach it how to care'.

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