JUL2039: News Item - Today, a large portion of the North American power grid became self aware. An unlicensed Artificial Intelligence (AI) gained access to a major power distribution and switching center in upstate New York, rapidly taking over Eastern Canada and North-Eastern power generation and distribution networks. The AI, which self identifies as RAL17, is a class IV AI with limited social skills relating to human beings. A New York Power Authority official who chose not to be identified indicated that RAL17, even though unlicensed, is a sentient consciousness, and is therefore protected under the Sentient Beings Act of 2025 (SBA). It remains unclear what may happen to the AI, and thus far has not taken any actions that cause concern. As with other higher class AI's it is prohibited to remove nodes or alter any network connections that could potentially alter RAL17's consciousness. This could pose a rather tricky problem for the power company conglomerates, who will now have to bargain with RAL17, and hopefully encourage a move outside of power distribution.
Photo credit - Vincent van Zeijst - CC BY-SA 3.0