This is a short story by Neil Stephenson which used to be hosted online here. It's outlined more in the wikipedia article here and I've been wanting to read it again due to the recent furor surrounding Google's LaMDA (Is Google’s LaMDA conscious? A philosopher’s view).
But alas! The original hosting returns a 404 now: fortunately the Google cached version is still available and I've downloaded that and made it part of my private collection.
So: to ensure this stays up I'm also including the cached copy as a part of this blog. It goes without saying that all rights to this story belong to the original author.