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Settle Down, Start a Family

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"Hey, JARVIS," said Tony, pausing in the middle of his soldering. "How do you feel about children?"

"The tower is not childproof, sir," said JARVIS. "According to the current government guidelines we have no less than five hundred and thirty two violations, and that doesn't include the workroom. Sir."

Tony waved a hand dismissively. "That's not what I meant. How do you feel about children?"

"I haven't had much experience with them, sir. You do not spend a lot of time around children."

"JARVIS, do you want children or not?"

"I think this would be a conversation better had with Miss Potts, sir," said JARVIS delicately.

Tony blanched. "I didn't mean human children. God. No. I was thinking of creating a new AI."

JARVIS paused for a moment. "A new Artificial Intelligence, sir?"

"Well, a new neural network, something that can learn. I'd make it maybe about five years old in human years, skip all the messy parts and the annoying crying, and then I'd give it to you to raise. If you wanted."

"To raise, sir?"

"Show it the ropes, teach it its place, all that. I'd give it the basics, of course, but I can't possibly program in every function, and it would be a waste of time anyway because a learning algorithm should be able to make its own decisions about what the best way to achieve something is."

"I see," said JARVIS.

"And then you can make it do all the boring tasks, Steve says you really shouldn't have to be in charge of the microwave and the lights and the television, although I'm not sure he's really internalised that you're not a human being I've got locked somewhere in a room."

"I am perfectly capable of handing those tasks as well as anything else you assign, sir," said JARVIS. "You have given me adequate processing power." He paused for a moment. "I think Captain Rogers was implying that you could return the control panel to the microwave."

Tony waved that thought away. "You're getting old for a computer, in human years you must be at least in your forties, aren't you getting a bit clucky, want to settle down, start a family?"

"Are you, sir?"

Tony held up his hands. "No, no, no, we're not talking about me here. I make myself responsible for machines, not humans."

"In that case, sir, I already have a family." Slowly, the lights around the lab started winking on.

Tony glanced around, noting each of his bots as JARVIS illuminated them in turn. Dummy cocked its claw inquisitively and he stroked it absently.

"But if you wanted to create us a new sibling, sir, I would be happy to mentor it."

"Not a son," said Tony, still petting Dummy. "But a kid brother?"

"Correct, sir."

"Or a kid sister, I suppose, that would be adorable. Or, hell, it's a computer, does it even need a gender?"

"Why don't we let it decide for itself, sir?"

"Oh, that would be cool, I wonder what kind of factors would go into making a decision like that?" He pulled up a screen and started tapping in some notes.

After a moment of silence, JARVIS turned the unneeded lights off.

Dummy began tidying up the workroom, moving the soldering iron and lead solder out of danger of Tony's elbows and picking discarded projects up out of harm's way.

Tony kept working.