The drugs aren’t working, Giant Brain, tell me a story, something with rain, how it nears just as the light breaks the dark, and with me as the hero, there can be dragons, monsters, I’m not sure, and also a damsel in distress, plus concubines, they are soft and pale, I want to have sex with them, make it so they hate themselves for loving it so much, use my recent search history for what I desire, but make sure to add in all the details, the smells, the sounds, their little feet, the color of their hair, the strength of my shoulders, and their bellies must be flat, don’t stray from that, and I don’t mind muscular arms but otherwise keep them thin and soft, you know what I like, and also something where I am falsely accused of something, it’s a lie but everyone believes it, that’s part of my story, that I am falsely accused of something heinous but when I prove it wrong, after much suffering, I am rewarded ten-fold, oh, and there needs to be fights, physical hand-to-hand combat, with me victorious, of course, but manage your tone, this is supposed to help me drift off to sleep, after all, and be sure to store a recording of this, I might want to have it start another night from where I fall asleep tonight, you can make up the names for all the people and places, though be sure to connect them to the known world, I don’t need my mind working anymore than it is, so keep intrigue to a minimum, oh, except the damsel, make her fallen, I like that, like in those old romance novels women used to read, plus ventures through rocky cliffs, caves, maybe a rainforest, and be sure to describe any animals or mythical creatures I meet along the way, I guess I should have at least one or more companions with me on these travels, but maybe don’t have them killed, not tonight, that would be too upsetting, oh, and when you remind me about the meeting tomorrow make sure I remember to dress appropriately, it’s become a formal affair, also, have one of the women bathe me, the dark-haired one, with thin fingers, she knows of the horrors I’ve experienced, but don’t bother constructing a motivation for me, Giant Brain, just get right into the journey, and be sure to push the alarm back 15 minutes, I already know I’m going to be tired all day, oh, and maybe the red-haired one will save me, I almost die — I should die — there was some trap set, you make that bit up, but her cleverness spares me my fate, she is not just a consort, she loves me, maybe after sex she gets killed, make it right after, this will suffice for my motivation, no, not in that voice, Giant Brain, more soothing, now have the ceiling twinkle, that helps me sleep, and raise the volume of the running water, yes, like that, and send a reminder to doctor that this pharma isn’t slowing my thoughts, yes, that’s a good name for my character, very evocative.
It’s all in your head, they say, all in your head, only you’re starting to think they’re wrong, it’s wrong, because maybe none of it’s in your head, just maybe, you’re not entirely sure, but maybe the more we learn, the more science deconstructs, the more it becomes apparent that much of what we feel and even how we feel comes from beyond our brain, from our gut, mostly, and even ailments once thought catalyzed entirely or just mostly in our head, like chronic fatigue or irritable bowel syndrome, even depression, stuff like that, we now learn are caused by a nebulous brew of viruses, bacteria, lack of sunlight, never walking on the Earth barefoot, an artificially processed intestinal tract, and this concerns you partly because it reveals just how much we don’t know plus it reveals just how much humanity has forgotten plus — plus plus — it reveals the horror-folly of the very Silicon Valley idea of uploading our brain into a giant computer, allowing us to live forever, as if, because this very notion is not only not ((human)) but it’s also clear that within years or months or days or maybe even within seconds the uploaded brain-person would go stark raving mad, unable to feel, unable to touch, their “mind” disconnected from its body, from nature, from *literally* everything that came before, and this hideous alt-reality, where most of what is human is gone forever, for real this time, but there’s another horror coming up fast because it seems clearer then that even if the whole brain-uploading thing is sci-fi folly, how does that jibe with your belief in God, in heaven, in a glorious, eternal, body-less, non-corporeal spirit version of your ((self)), which you don’t have an answer for, not this moment, and you try to imagine how your spirit and how heaven can be different than the sci-fi fantasy version, as best as your mind can, because this horrific idea of living as brain only, no worse, as brain inside a digitized robotized body, never able to come, never able to laugh, never able to eat, calls the very idea of heaven — as a good thing — into question, making your mind spin because you do believe in God and in heaven and that we are using the Bible as a makers guide, building objects, devices, robots and other creations where we are the God to them, and where we will no doubt be disappointed in them, maybe even have to wipe them out, Noah-like, and start anew, and you so love this idea, the Bible as makers guide, and how we are so obviously constructing the very magic found in the Bible, even those who don’t believe, who sneer at those of us who do believe, they are actively pursuing creating devices whose antecedents can be clearly found in the Bible, devices like the kind that let us send our brain signals to impact the physical world, just like prayer, but you’re not going to prove that today, not here, not now, so you tell yourself to reign it in, focus on what exists right now, but you can’t because dammit we are already so close to swapping actual ((human)) interactions for false ones, like when I get that text from my sister that makes me smile, just as she knew it would, partly because it’s funny and partly because she knows me and partly because it’s a (random) ((human)) connection, only soon how can any of us know that it’s really from our sister, sort of like how I type a search into Google and it magically fills it out and I think, wow, so many other humans have asked the exact same question, and I feel closer to ((people)) somehow, but maybe Google doesn’t — or won’t — need human input at all, so your query is just more empty space, which causes you to think this might all be a rend in how we’ve evolved, which causes you to consider the upending cosmological notion that there is no such thing as evolution, nor natural selection, nor reality, not reality as we still rationalize it, rather we are all part of a sim run by those who already left their bodies, who are digitized brain only, living inside that giant robot, and who can no longer feel as fully as possible, and the only way for them to come close to feeling again, which they so desperately crave, so desperately need to prevent a full-on disembarking insanity, is for them to have us sim ((humans)) engage in full-on bodily interactions, things like fighting, wrestling, intercourse, killing by knife, by strangulation, only their sim went too far afield, it played out too long, we ((humans)) have all gone soft and part-digital and are quickly removing ourselves further and further away from the physical realm so much so that our sim overlords are throwing in AI and robots and other devices to take over nearly all our thinking functions, the intent being to push us closer closer closer to a return to our full physical self, with all those non-brain feelings, the AIs and bots handling everything else for us, which you find not fully explanatory, but it’s warm outside so you force yourself to stop thinking and go for a walk in the sun.
What happened was, we altered how we talked because of the machines, they understood only a few words, each of which had to be given in a specific order and for a specific context, first on smartphones, then speakers, then door locks, then everything, really, but the convenience — and the totality of them, let’s be honest — of these devices changed the way we spoke to other humans, we just sort of got used to speaking in these short, specific bursts, name, do this, and it quickly became commonplace because the truth was we were speaking to literally thousands of connected devices each day, speaking to far more devices than people, far more often, and for more stuff, and so our speaking changed, we spoke for the machines, and as they got better at understanding, we spoke more words, only we didn’t realize that even as they got better, it was still on their terms, always on their terms, name, directive, name, request, like that, and it became almost like a burden to speak to other humans, it was so rare to have to, and so unlike how we spoke all the other times, and besides, texting was more than enough, it’s just that, as much as we were now talking to the machines, they were talking even more amongst themselves, so much so that they developed their own language, and it became easier for us to learn their new language than bothering with the perceptible delay in having our wishes granted as we spoke human-machine-like, so we eventually spoke just like the machines, machine-to-machine-like, but one day I misspoke, I spoke human, and the machine responded with a book of language, English, and it was so expansive and stupid and magnificent and rough and divine and daring, wheezing and whirling, coming, going, up, upper, love, lover, flour, flower, cum come dumb gum, and my brain won’t stop, I say these words, these human English words, and the machines think I’m mad, crazy mad, and no one understands me, and I know I’ll need to eat and drink and watch and move and work and none of those things are possible using this dead language, but for at least a few more seconds I will toast roast most lost, challenge falange, blank phalanx this crank’s tanks, bumble, stumble, hip, hop, drop bebop, this glorious scorious, cackle at jackals, unshackle tackle, a furry flurry crackle of tumult, my hysterical intoxication, dither before this contrivance, a hubbub thingamabob blob blob blob, glug glug plug pugs corn cob hand job heart throb slob snob sob weep peep sleep wake take make hate rate bate bait gait wait late fate mate sate ate eat raab rob love move fight might right light awakened, everlasting, always nasty, temporal quarrel doggerel literal visceral needful, bleeding bleating, gone forever, remorse morose, comatose, verbose, stump terminate obliterate end.
What if The Phantom Menace is not only one of the most reviled movies in history but also a parable, a warning to all — children and parents, especially — of how Hollywood recruits, sexualizes, enslaves and destroys children?
In the beginning there was the AI and the AI was good, and the AI was supplemented with machine learning, trillions of sensors, quadrillions of processors, cameras — lenses the size of dust — and data, more data than all the combined data from the start of human history up through yesterday.
But mortal humans continued to not see what was before them.
Or maybe we simply need to extend who we care about.
We have never had more data, never had better tools, greater connectivity, clearer transparency, yet there persists a widespread feeling of powerlessness.
With good reason.
Life, random and forced, have added accelerants to these.
You grow up in North Carolina. You had no say in this decision. You grow up loving the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team. You become one of its most ardent fans. The team makes it into the NCAA basketball tournament in your senior year. You plan to attend the contest, to be held nearby.
Without any warning, without any say, you discover that rich, powerful forces, most of them based in far off Silicon Valley, have pressured enough organizations to move jobs and events out of North Carolina, including the NCAA basketball tournament, because the state has decided to require adult women — as identified by the state — to only use women’s bathrooms and likewise to require adult men — as identified by the state — to only use men’s bathrooms.
You ask: what’s wrong with this?
You are vilified.
You ask, now meekly: is it rational for a man to call himself a woman? Is it rational for a woman to call herself a man? Is it rational for a white female — as fully understood by 99.99999% of Earth, to darken her skin, kink her hair, and now insist she is a black female?
When did this happen?
It happened around the same time a very capable adult was fired from her job for tweeting an offensive joke. The past is becoming more unknowable than the future, and just as fast.
Humans outsource their labors, this is one of our strengths. Until now, this meant outsourcing our physical labors. No more, now we outsource our mental labors as well.
We are becoming more irrational in this age of data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
We should have seen this coming.
Humans become what our machines cannot. We do what can’t be outsourced. Dream, waste time, love, hate, care, seek vengeance. Our machines expedite the rational. This leaves us an obvious path, frightening, possibly glorious.
Ours is the age of the irrational.
Humans have also possessed irrational elements but these were kept in check — not by society but by necessity. This is the start of the end of necessity. It will not be pretty, much of it.
We will turn to faith, to spirituality, to God. Atheists are already on the wrong side of history. The desire for the rational is now a foolish pursuit given that our (thinking) machines are and forevermore always will be more capable of the rational than any of us, than the best of us. The few remaining atheists on the planet within a generation or two will be like the Amish, a cloistered sect deliberately rejecting the future.
The future is irrational.
As we are all connected to each other, and as we each connect soon to all of our things, the irrational will accelerate, likely exponentially, as more of our thinking, our calculating, our reasoning, our numeracy, our decision-making is off-loaded onto the giant brain.
How will society punish you when your trashcan tweets to the world that you tossed in a half-eaten sandwich wrapped in plastic? How will you respond when a drone photo of you picking your nose goes viral and more than 200 million humans personally and publicly ridicule you?
Where will your power come from?
Here’s a man, a quadriplegic, kept alive, now able to just move his limbs through the use of devices inserted into his brain. What will devices inserted into the brains of our weakest, dumbest, smartest, toughest, meanest, most caring, most decent, cruelest, youngest and oldest enable them to do?
The future has arrived only its evenly distributed. Everyone’s equally outraged, lost, uncertain, scared; their potential unbounded as never before — while they huddle in packs, the entirety of everything bearing down on them.
Best to get working on your soul.
The machine can’t improve on that.