Project Ava: Prague's Shadows

Follow seasoned HUMINT intelligence officer Jeremy Winters as he navigates the treacherous streets of Prague with AVA, his trusted AI partner.

Project Ava: Prague's Shadows

Short fiction is an excellent format for bringing scenario planning, forecasting, and complex risks to life in ways that an audience can instantly understand. It's an approach that I've used extensively in my work. The only downside is the time and effort required. Generative AI doesn't completely eliminate the need for creativity or effort in these applications, but it can alleviate the burden of that work. Prompts and light edits might take an hour or more for a short piece, but it's easy, relatively enjoyable work that is almost guaranteed to produce a piece that is, at the very least, good enough. Writing creatively, on the other hand, can be a tortuous process, even for those of us who enjoy it.

This piece is my first test of GTP-4's short fiction capabilities. The improvements in style are noticeable but aren't nearly as substantial as its improved ability to interpret my prompt and deliver a piece that is on target, or 95% on target, right out of the gate.

In the test, I introduced GPT-4 to a hypothetical futuristic invention, created to illustrate one of the many ways advanced multi-modal AI might find a role in HUMINT operations. My initial prompt was primarily focused on describing the product and its features. I then tasked GTP-4 with generating a story that would showcase the product's various capabilities in a scenario where a case officer meets with an agent. This story is the result.

I created the photo for this post with Midjourney.

Jeremy Winters, a seasoned HUMINT intelligence officer, was navigating the dimly lit streets of Prague, his breath visible in the cold night air. He adjusted his glasses, making sure the covert camera and sensor package was firmly in place, and tapped his AirPods to activate Ava, his trusted AI partner.

"Evening, Jeremy. Time to get down to business," Ava greeted him, her tone reflecting both their shared familiarity and the seriousness of their task.

"I'm ready to start the Sokolov contact run," Jeremy replied, his voice low and steady.

"Understood," Ava acknowledged. "I'll run a threat assessment for our meeting with Agent Sokolov." As the glasses displayed a faint holographic image of the rendezvous point and his contact, Jeremy did his part by slowly sweeping his gaze across a 180-degree arc. "No immediate threats detected Jeremy. I recommend taking a left at the next intersection to avoid potential CCTV coverage."

Jeremy took the suggested route, feeling reassured. Ava had been his indispensable partner for the past three years, and they had developed a bond that was not unlike a friendship.

As he continued on his way to the meeting location, Ava began analyzing the body language and voices of the people around him. "Jeremy, the man in the black jacket across the street shows signs of agitation. He's currently on a call, and it seems the conversation is not going well."

"Can you pick up what he's saying?" Jeremy asked.

"Translating in real-time. It appears to be a domestic argument, unrelated to our mission. I'll continue to monitor him, though."

Jeremy nodded, appreciating Ava's thoroughness. As he neared a bustling café, a popular stop in the area, Ava alerted him to another potential issue. "Jeremy, I'm detecting a higher than normal level of encrypted traffic on the Wi-Fi network in the café. There could be a counterintelligence operation in progress."

"Understood." Jeremy said, veering away from the café. "Give me a plan B."

"Of course, Jeremy," Ava replied. "Take a right at the next intersection, followed by two left turns. This should provide a less conspicuous approach while avoiding potential surveillance traps."

Jeremy followed Ava's recommended route, walking briskly through the dimly lit streets of Prague. The sound of his footsteps echoed against the old cobblestone, and the cold air nipped at his face as he pulled his collar up. He felt the weight of his mission with each step, knowing the importance of the information he was about to receive. But even under these circumstances, he couldn't help but appreciate the quiet beauty of the city at night, the shadows and soft light casting an ethereal glow on the ancient buildings around him.

As Jeremy crossed into the large park, Ava started recounting Sokolov's case history. "Agent Sokolov has been providing valuable intel on the Russian arms trade for the past six months. His cover is that of a low-level bureaucrat, but he has access to highly classified information. He's become an increasingly critical asset. He expressed concern about his safety and an interest in an exfil plan during your last meeting but you put him at ease."

"I remember," Jeremy replied. "Let's just hope tonight's meeting goes smoothly."

Upon reaching the designated bench, Jeremy sat down, his eyes scanning the area for any signs of Sokolov. "Ava, any signs of Sokolov?"

"I am not detecting him in the vicinity. Wait, I'm picking up a faint signal from his phone. He's approaching from the east," Ava informed him.

Sokolov appeared moments later, looking nervous. He extended his hand to Jeremy, and they shook hands firmly. "The night is colder than I anticipated," Sokolov said, his voice tense.

"Indeed, it seems winter refuses to let go," Jeremy replied, reciting the prearranged greeting.

As Jeremy and Sokolov discussed undisclosed matters, Ava whispered a continuous stream of information in Jeremy's ear. "Sokolov's voice indicates increased stress levels, but he remains truthful. His body language suggests caution, which is appropriate given the nature of this meeting."

Jeremy listened intently to Sokolov, processing both the information from the agent and Ava's analysis. After a few minutes, he decided it was time to wrap up the meeting. "Thank you, Sokolov. Your assistance is invaluable. Stay safe."

Sokolov nodded, and they exchanged a quick handshake before parting ways.

"Ava, let's get out of here," Jeremy requested, as he began his journey out of the park and back into the shadowy streets of Prague.

"Certainly, Jeremy. Head south for two blocks and then take a right. I will continue to monitor the environment for any potential threats. Nice work," Ava assured him, her calm and familiar voice a welcome presence in the dark, uncertain night.

Blogs of War generated this text in part with GPT-4, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model. Upon generating draft language, the author reviewed, edited, and revised the language to their own liking and takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.