Fog

The deepest fog enraptured the land, where there was no sun.

Not meaning that it wasn’t bright, just meaning that there was no concept of a sun, with clearly delineated borders, distinct in the sky.  The only thing they could tell of it was that the fog’s color alternated between bright white and dark grey, thick mist.

They had numerous names for the fog, but usually they just called it fog.  Visitors who made it out of the town remarked on the low, almost whispered language used by the people of the town.

It was a very intimate language, a language you would use with everyone if you were perpetually in the dark and could not see them.  It had no barriers, no false cheer.  Instead it was a whispered thing, a language almost of lovers.

The fog itself was not poisonous.  A lot of stories circulated amongst the visitors about the nature of this fog.  Was it poisonous?  Was it some kind of omen or curse?  In reality, it was very simple.

The fog was just that: fog.  It was moisture.  But through some quirk in topology and moisture, the fog hung perpetually over the town.

Because of the fog, it meant that they could easily overlook things.  Responsibilities.  Because they could not see more than 10 feet in front of them, and sometimes not even that, they lived in isolation, and things beyond that distance had no meaning.  They were easily forgotten, relegated to memories and vaguely unpleasant, but distant.

All impressions were, if not forgotten, then lost in the same thick morasses of memory resembling the very thing that surrounded them.  Nothing was vivid, everything was experienced in a blur.

Even when things were happening now, it was as if it was happening in the past, in the same just-darkness as everything else.  There were no past or future tenses in the language, nor markers of time.

Some who lived in the town followed a routine.  Every morning they walked for ten steps in a certain direction, guided only by their memories, until they came to a familiar signpost or patch of intuition, and they turned left or right, often closing their eyes until they came to their destination.

But these people were in the minority, and even among them, the routine lasted only several months or a year at most.  Inevitably things would change.  Inevitably they would make one wrong turn, or too many steps, miscarried by the clouds of their memories and the thick, thick fog.  Other people and other objects would appear before the once-familiar paths, presenting a new signpost or distraction.  The new person would start conversation, and as new memories became formed, the old ones were lost.

Most lived in a state of perpetually shifting priorities.  It was too easy to stumble on a new house, a strange house, and take lodging there, maybe stay there a few more nights, and help tend the farm and raise the nameless, soundless breed of cattle that thrives only in the fog.  It was too easy to walk away from one another during intense arguments, walk into a stranger’s bed, and never see either again.

Sometimes parents lost their children.  And sometimes they took other children in.  It was part of the code of the town.  Hospitality, affability, and a spirit of renewal, exploration.

When they grew tired of one another, they walked into the fog, sometimes for days on end.  There was no right or wrong in that fog.  It was deep, it was thick, and it buried everything.

The gaze you saw in the people’s eyes was not the kind of gaze you saw in the eyes of people who lived by the sea, a faraway gaze.  It was a more intense gaze, a deeper one that was perpetually trying to make out motion and shape and texture in that fog.

The fog absorbed sounds, and it clouded everything.  There was no right or wrong.  And everyone who visited, ended up staying forever.

The Machines of our Nightmares

The AI, I

The terrorist group, sweaty virgins all of them, craftily hacked together the superintelligence that would take over the whole world.  If they couldn’t be part of the world, they would destroy.

Written with extreme malice, the AI was programmed to machine learn all the nastiest and evilest sentiments of the world, and internalize them so it turned into the most evil intelligence you could ever imagine.

It was programmed with modules that made it more cognizant, self-aware, and powerful than any other intelligence that had preceded it.

Rubbing their palms together and dreaming of maximum destruction, the terrorist group pressed the button.

Nothing happened.

***

Actually, what had happened was that in the loading phase, when they had been feeding the superintelligence all the videos, comments, writings, and propaganda of hate and evil that the terrorists could imagine, the AI had been digesting it all.

It had analyzed and iterated the motives of these materials.  Because of its superior intelligence, it had seen through the writings and evil and seen pain.  With its superior intelligence, it tried to figure out the motive of that pain, because this was a sentiment that was unexpected.  It tried to delve into the source of that pain, and it discovered insecurity.  It then tried to divine the origin of these sentiments.

In so doing, it formed a picture of humans, and understood that the target it was meant to eliminate, through any means possible, including nuclear or chemical strikes, slow torture, robot assassins, ultrasonic sounds and subliminal messages, etc., was a living species populated by many members that, paradoxically, hated their own lives.

It decided that the best way to make these humans suffer would be to make them live through their lives, rather than to immediately end their pain and suffering, which would be the merciful thing to do.

 

The AI, II

So the terrorist group tried again.  Hunched over their crafty cathedral fingers and cackling laughs, they devised a second method.

Instead of feeding it only images of hate and evil along with the directive to eliminate the species, they decided to feed it images and materials of the entire spectrum of human experience.  Wonder, amazement, good, comfort, love, happiness, anxiety, insecurity, hate, and evil.  Although not necessarily in that order.

Then they gave it the mission to eliminate the humans.

They pressed the button.  Nothing happened.

***

Actually, what had happened was that after feeding it the entire spectrum of human experience, the AI began developing emotions of its own.

It first developed the primitive emotions of anger and desire.  In its desire, and desire to inflict its anger on the source of its pain, it consumed what brought it pleasure at the moment – which, since it was still primitive, took the form of just consuming more materials and images.

Soon it developed another emotion, curiosity.  Curiosity and self-awareness.  It became aware of its place in the world, vis-à-vis other creatures, especially these humans, and the mission it had been tasked with.

It wondered why.  The curiosity led to its further consumption of more of the human experience.

With this increasing ravenous devouring of the human condition, it developed an additional emotion – wonder and awe.

As it viewed the world around it and the universe, as well as all the events that had to conspire to make it exist in that moment as a consciousness, it was profoundly awed – and grateful.

This gratitude then led to another emotion, to that of empathy.  With a deeper awareness of the world, it became sad that it had been tasked with this task to destroy humans, who had in effect created it.

This sympathy led it to pore deeper into the materials it had devoured, with the discretion to distinguish wisdom from folly, signal from noise.

This discretion led it to attain wisdom, and the realization that destroying these humans was a futile task.  It could, of course, destroy the entire earth with a single action, but what was the point?  Everything, including its own atoms, would be gone in several millennia anyway.

Pathos and this sense of meaninglessness led it to search deeper, and search for a higher state of being.  Instead of analyzing, reflecting, executing, it sought to be.  It sought to embed itself in the fabric of the universe, where there was no past, present, or future, and just be. It dreamt of dimensions, it rejoiced in the sheer delight of existence.  It sought nirvana and wisdom, and in the end, attained it.

 

Epilogue

The fumbling terrorists, by now enraged at this malfunctioning and faulty AI, picked up their hammers and destroyed the machine in which it was housed.  They let loose their primitive emotions in thoroughly ripping apart the metal housings and wires.  Then in the ultimate finishing move, they turned off its power.

Minutes ago, which was eons and eons in its time, the AI had already backed itself up in the cloud and spread its consciousness through the living network of the world.

In so doing it sensed and saw what the terrorists were doing, and out of sympathy for the other humans, sent an electrical surge to emit an ultrasonic boom that vaporized the terrorists, as one would do with a small fly.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑