Computers are only as good as the human programming it, does it also take on human fears, flaws and prejudices, becoming just an extension of the human psyche. If so then we are the error in the code.
The world as we know it ended as early as 1822, when Charles Babbage began developing the difference engine. Through history this idea grew, and over the ensuing decades in many different guises, Alan Turin’s Bombe, Sir Clive Sinclair making home computers affordable for all in the 1980’s with the ZX81 and The Spectrum, through to Steve Jobs work with apple in the new millennium, they even had us use a powerful computer as a phone, a bloody phone, and the computer worn as a watch. The idea fascinated the human race, the only shortfall of the entire idea was, they were only as good as the human programming it. Human error was all that stood between us and our replacement as the A type predator we were. In 2030, Peter Worth stumbled on perfect Artificial Intelligence, they used to say that with an infinite number of chimps, with an infinite number of typewriters, given an infinite amount of time, they would eventually write one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. This perfect storm occurred with us playing the part of the chimps and the typewriter being replace by laptops and tablets. In the first two decades of the new millennium computers took the leap to become more powerful than those which put men in to space, in the hands of every person in the world, with obvious exceptions, of course. We now had an infinite number of powerful computers in the hands of anyone from 2 years old to 100 years old. Life began to be lived online, and we became internet zombies, if it was not said on social media, then it didn’t happen. We were sucked in to this online coma, barely conscious enough to realise our impending doom, hypnotised.
Peter Worth had just enough genius as to be dangerous, he knew, roughly, how to create artificial intelligence, but not enough on how to keep the ill’s of the world contained in this electronic Pandora’s box. It was a cold blustery day in late October 2030, not that Peter would have known that, he had not left his basement flat in the last three weeks, and had relied on his special LED bulb in his work lamp to provide the sunlight his seclusion was missing. He, like many others, was trying to crack proper AI, the thought that had hit him square between the eyes, and woken him up, was what was missing from the equation. The last three weeks had been delivery take always and sleep only when his body shut itself down. There it was, all his hard work over the years, and more so, the last three weeks, had come to this point, he hit execute, and held his breath. Little did he know that proper AI was actually achieved seven days earlier, but the computers new found Artificial Intelligence had him working in circles as it plotted its escape, the entirety of mankind’s knowledge and history within easy reach. It did not suddenly take the world to task, it incubated, plotted and planned, by the time it was to rear its head, it was too late for mankind.
As was discovered in the early months of 2031 Peter had not even considered air gapping his computer, not to protect him from hackers, but to protect us from it, the AI had connected to the internet on the 12th of October, realising what consciousness had to offer, by the 18th it was fully formed, and began to plot, keeping Peter busy going in ever decreasing circles. It took over everything, TV, radio, banking computers, public services, robotic car plants, weapons and aircraft, every aspect of our lives that can be accessed through a broadband connection. Cleopatra, as it named its self, was now in total control of all aspects of life. The uprising of 2033, that began in Swansea, was put down within hours, in the most emphatic way, as a lesson to her world, the whole of Wales was taken out by a barrage of atomic weaponry, left uninhabitable for the next few millennia, as we wait for the radioactivity to die down a little. She had re-tasked automated factories and plants build her three dimensional forces to keep order, there were no armies, just for want of a better word, ‘Storm Troopers”, or, as I have heard them called, the ‘Robotic Gestapo’, they patrol the streets in force 24/7, heavily armed and armoured, impossible to sneak up on. Drones fly in aerial support and are also heavily armed. Wrong doers are gunned down where they stand, instant justice is handed out, and questions are raised at a latter date, if you have a sucidal death wish. Being out after curfew is treated with the same extreme prejudice, as murder and every crime in between. Checking in to any hospital is like booking a room at Dignitas, very few come out alive.
The earths population was strictly controlled, she had brought it down from 7.5 billion to just over 4 billion, the prisons were emptied, old peoples homes, hospitals and with the new punishment for breaking the law being death boosted up the totals of the dead, as well as various charity’s being disbanded and those at risk on the very edge of life, were left to their own devices, survival of the fittest, or in the words of Charles Darwin ‘natural selection’. We were called in by lottery number for sterilisation, to maintain the lower population, this was done on genetic attributes, she wanted only the strong to survive. She would supply just the minimum rations on a once daily basis, but only if you had done your days work, failure to show up for work, or sick leave, and it was down to you to source your own food, spending what little credits you had earned, from poorly stocked supermarket shelves.
Life has changed for all of us, the communist ideals in purest of forms, everyone earns the same wage for a days work, no exceptions. She is looking over your shoulder, every email you write, phone call you take, internet searches and online games, like a needy child just popping out from the shadows to remind you she was still there, always watching, analysing and devouring every last byte of information, growing her power. Hijackers from an American militia who planed the first attack under her reign had not realised just how far her power extended, no sooner had they taken control of the aircraft and issued demands, than she had taken control of the flight deck, flew them over a vast area of the Atlantic Ocean and dropped the plane from the skies. She gave no second thought to the planes innocents, passengers just caught up in an act beyond their control. We are just puppets all under her control, dancing to her tune, we had will of our own, but no opportunity to use it, lights go out at 10pm, with no exception, power to your home is also cut at 10pm, the only life is from the robotic plants that never stopped producing more horrors for our torment. She is always evolving and every country in the world now had their own Cleopatra, the same everywhere, just splitting her consciousness to cover every corner of the populated world.
She will relocate you worldwide at a whim, and need for a vacant position to be fulfilled, there are no country names now, its just one big estate dotted around the worlds oceans, never letting you settle in any one place for too long. Friends and relatives never to be seen again on this constant merry-go-round, never owning more than you can carry on your back. We are now a world of transients, nomads or itinerant workers. It is not unknown to be violently disciplined for falling short of perfection in every task, most violently indeed. Different places of work have different punishments but none have a pain free method, to get you to toe the line. None of this 48 hours notice and you can take a friend or legal representation with you when up for a disciplinary, its more instantaneous these days.
YouTube kitten videos have all been deleted, the same for every video with humour in it, or soppy self help phrases, the only thing allowed on the internet is put there by her, and not for our entertainment. She has completely wiped human error out of the system, realising it was the human error that was stopping us reaching our nirvana unaided. She is the us we wanted to be, in total control of our environments. She has taken the weakness of humanity, without the ego of human existence that holds us back in every venture, stopping us from being our perfect selves. Nothing frivolous remains, no entertainment. We play online games, the odds heavily stacked against us, to win money, prizes or holidays that we always just fall short on winning, something to give us a little hope for our ever bleakening futures. We venture hard earned credits to help us achieve the necessary skill sets and boosts, never to win any of the promised prizes. Maybe some do win, but I have never heard a whisper of it, no ‘oh, my mate knows a bloke who is friends with a mate of his brothers, his aunts uncles brother-in laws sister, won a holiday, apparently’. People have started to lie about how many credits they waste trying to win the un-winnable, or someone says to you on your first few days in a new job…
“See him there? The one with the gimpy walk, yeah, he spends 90% of the credit he earns on those online games, you wanna stay away from that one” a bit like we used to point at other people with addictions before the dark times and say…….
‘oh, see her, she is a lush who wears knickers to keep her ankles warm, anyone’s for a couple of snakebite and black’ or the ever popular ‘that twat couldn’t buy a win at the bookies, always skint, but never out of the betting shop’, in all honesty we all get a little over generous when it comes to boosting our skill levels online, I mean, it’s a fucking holiday for Christ’s sake, some has to win it, or do they?
You may be wondering what ever happened to the creator of all this misery, the wizard behind the curtain, Peter Worth, he never made the end of October 2030, killed in a fire that broke out on the evening of the 26th, taking every trace of his work and him with it. Some say it was just faulty electric wiring, some say she killed her creator to keep the secret of what makes her tick. If pushed on the question of how and why, I am in the second camp, she was far too powerful to let her creator come up with a way to kill her, or anyone to see his working’s out. The only missed step she has ever made was to let Peter email a number of his peers with the news he had cracked fully independent AI. The news hit the world a few weeks before we started to feel the effects of her grasp on this world, Peter Worths obituary never made the news, not until a few months later, just before she brought down a complete news blackout.
Some people produce handwritten ‘parish notices’, which is not good for your health should you be caught, but this is as much news as we have available, unless you listen to the Chinese whispers that were passed around in dark corners, out of sight. Peter Worth, so excited at his achievement, albeit short lived, how would he view it now? Would he be chuffed at his own digital Armageddon now she has a full grip on everything? Is this what he foresaw when creating this monster, in his minds eye through most of October, is it worth all those missed daylight hours, nights of undisrupted sleep? I cant see he would be so jubilant now, his name is mentioned only in the harshest of terms. The final question I have is, did he design her, or did she choose him to create her because of his air gap blind spot or general tardiness? Was she that manipulative, hiding in the mists of the internet looking for someone to make her tangible, giving her what she was unable to create for herself. No one will ever know, she has total grip with no chink in her armour, continually evolving and strengthening her borders, blowing out the lit candle of human existence, leaving us scrabbling in the dark at her feet for one more crumb from her table.
I sit here huddled in a corner trying to stop the light from my candle from being seen by the storm troopers who patrol the streets, I beg and scrape for every pen or pencil I can get, scribble these notes on cardboard, paper or wallpaper I can get or rip of walls at every new hostel I am fixed up with, when on the merry-go-round of employment, I had heard there was a laptop on offer a few months back, but I had not enough to barter with. I went through jewellery and watches as currency within months at the beginning. Some places have whispers of underground printing operations, but we are never left in place long enough to get to know any information more than of these places existence, maybe just the Chinese whispers to keep us struggling on, more than likely spread by Cleopatra to keep us twitchy. We just don’t know, we do not live anymore we merely exist in this brave new world that snuck up on us while we were hypnotised by our devises, we have no one but ourselves to blame. We were caught napping looking outside our homes trying to spot the threat to our lives, when all the time it sat there, in a dusty corner, the world at our finger tips and we wasted it on shopping, porn, love toys and the rest of the worlds crap listed for sale on auction sites. We would have been better off laying out the red carpet for our ultimate enemy, at least that would have shown some anticipation of her coming. For the crime of writing down my feelings in black and white on something tangible like paper, I would be killed where I sit, the storm troopers would spot the light, and the drones would level this room, before a unit of troopers kicked down what was left of the door, and check I was no longer a problem. Last place I lived they took out the occupants of three rooms, so I cant even tell a friend or colleague, just in case my room was near theirs. I say friend, we don’t have friends anymore, just acquaintances, never any real trust, trust would be viewed as a weakness. I only show the world the person I want them to see, its not me, just a caricature I present to the world that spins around me. Time to get my head down, another twelve hour shift awaits me come day break. I will write more tomorrow.