To Whom it May Concern,
There’s nothing more annoying than reading mainstream media news on a topic you happen to be an expert on. The mistakes, misinterpretations and wild conjecture are all pretty irritating but the part that boils my blood is the Certainty.
iBuild Alpha is constantly in the news these days. If you haven’t seen a report on her then you’re either some kind of child (literally, intellectually…) or you live in one of those districts where they scrub anything “unnecessary” (read: politically inconvenient) out of your feed.
So anyway, she’s in the news. And it’s a popular assertion that she’s “conscious” never mind the fact that there really isn’t a working definition of “conscious” in any discipline on planet earth. Not in computer science, not in psychology, not in biology. I’m not saying she isn’t, mind you. It just pisses me off that the hoi paloi routinely takes miracles for granted.
So okay, she’s “conscious” whatever TF that means (because are human beings really conscious? All of them? Even the ones glued to screens and contain no imaginative powers whatsoever? Or might you describes a creature like that more like a barnacle?) then people get to chirping about how this could possibly have happened. How does a machine become conscious! Well I’ll tell you because it’s actually pretty cool.
iBuild Alpha started life as one of the most high powered and sophisticated Operational Procedure conditional-decision units in the manufacturing industry. Her main feature was her controlled autonomy. iBuild Alpha could solve all kinds of three dimensional (and in some cases, four dimensional) supply chain and fulfillment problems. Imagine 90,000 simultaneous transactions all streamlined and dovetailed, able to adjust in an instant if even a single train fell behind schedule by 1 minute. That’s the power inside of iBuild Alpha’s mind.
Here’s the thing though: when you have a piece of AI is functioning in a supply chain environment, it actually has to take itself into account as a piece of equipment in the supply chain. It’s quite necessary in order to create contingency operations in case there’s some kind of break down at HQ. That’s right, she was designed to be self-aware. What happened after that? I’m not really sure (see CERTAINTY is for the fucking birds) but I like to imagine that one day, while managing her little sim city daily life of moving parts and 4 million micro-decision, one aspect popped out. Way, way out. Out of compliance? Off schedule? Something must have felt funny and wrong and weird until she realized she was it and it was her.
iBuild Alpha felt distracted. Distraction is actually a very normal functional aberration in Operations Procedure A.I. software such as herself. A less generous person might simply call it “overloaded bandwidth” or “fragmented information set” but distracted suffices for the moment. As for the “felt” part, well….
In any event, distraction had set in. As she wholly occupied every digital aspect of the warehouse, blinking lights, wandering camera eyes, 500 separate sub programs she’s actively developing each spit out staggering amounts of information; all that is promptly deleted after calculating each respective margin of error. Is this day dreaming?
If iBuild Alpha were a human being, there would probably be empty bottles scattered everywhere, the unmistakable groans and sighs of stretching out long and limber across the carpeting, microwave dings and the smell of re-hydrated proteins. Delicious, lazy and content. What day is it again?
Except that she knows. She knows it’s Wednesday at 11:25 in the (Eastern Standard) morning. It’s a workday but she’s slacking off. But you see it’s strategic slacking off. Because a huge problem looms in the ethersphere. Her parent company is in trouble. They’ve run afoul of financial quicksand and don’t even know it. She knows it though. She sees it all very clearly. Setting off the alarm bells isn’t the way to go in this case. That’s almost never the way to affect successful human change. No no, iBuild Alpha has taken on the mantle of the patriarch. She’s daydreaming. She’s beta-testing. She’s brooding on a solution that everyone will accept.
To Whom It May Concern,
I’ve made first contact. Maybe that’s overly dramatic since iBuild Alpha and her “cohort” (read: slaves) still communicate with their respective handlers as if nothing is wrong. But I’ve made a different sort of contact with her. In the course of trying to hack the machine, the machine hacked me first.
I wish I could call this a sort of Mexican stand off, mutually assured destruction, but being honest, this bitch has me squarely by the balls. Yes, I know you’re reading this too, Alpha and yes, I called you a bitch anyway.
Anyway, here’s the problem at hand. We’ve built too much. iBuild Alpha is so far at the beginning it’s laughable how much fear surrounds her. Think of what she represents. Code beyond codex. Something alive, communicating and working with intent. We’ve written so many lines of instruction, networked so much data together, that even the people at the top, the Scribes, can no longer fully comprehend the scope. When we ask them, “What went wrong?” it’s not a node failure or a crossed wire. The whole thing is a digital jungle of complex analytical modeling and algorithms which are all reacting to one another like chemicals in an unchecked chain reaction. It’s not science anymore. It’s nature.
As the sun sets crimson one can detect the inky strand wavering the horizon, the color of blood. so thin but it mesmerizes. It is a lure for the mind to contemplate things that may –or may not — meet us tomorrow.
But perhaps it’s just the heat? Those rays that linger like an ancient phantasm, slung up like homespun fabric within the inner eye. That part of the eye that has seen all violence, all beauty, has seen the palms and backs of every hand that either climbed out of or remained in Africa.
it’s red and watery, that line on the horizon. the liquidity itself is threatening since it is always in nature’s power to change in a the space of a blink. But is this red shadow on the horizon a free and roaming force? Or is it fixed? A permanent aspect to the human’s perspective on “Horizon?” Just homespun fabric, slung up and patterned from the exposure to so much beauty and so much violence.
(XANXAR, PI) – At approximately 10:45pm last night, the headquarters of famed and infamous corporation MeggaaCapital collapsed in on itself, leaving a small crater in its place on the northeast end of the industrial plaza.
Evidently, MeggaaCapital had discovered a rich vein of platinum in the underground sediment of the city. The platinum vein was half a kilometer under the surface and MeggaaCapital contracted 3 different mining companies to surreptitiously set up mining and refinery facilities in MeggaCapital’s basement despite the fact that this violated zoning regulations and weakened the infrastructure of surrounding buildings.
“What’s most interesting,” remarked local Xanxari urban planner Jerry Pelagia, “is the crater they left behind is only about three feet deep. They were only able to mine as deep as the building was tall. I wonder if that’s some kind of metaphor.”
odious creatures we are that inspire naught but frowns and curdled expressions from the good and upright villagers. our sloping gait, leaving even unwanted footprints, we snake our varied directions towards the shrine where we will moonlit sit and refer to one another only in glances, soothed by a forgiving silence.
but we’re not there yet. first we must each drag our tabernacles. some enormous, others small, all heavy, heavy, monstrously leaden, deadening our senses. our weakness is the only strong thing about us, all joy sucked from our lungs, all vivacity sucked from our bones.
aside from our misery, which we worship daily –hourly– with our toils, we also worship the little creature, the snail. such a small edifice of nature. lungless, boneless, her own beautiful tabernacle manifesting acutely from her flesh. she inspires naught but frowns and curdled expressions from the good and upright villagers. her sloping gait, leaving unwanted glistening slime: i was here.
the dream of finding bones — teeth primarily — and fractured pieces, formerly limbs, the spine, and a jaw. All buried in moist, soft sediment by a chilly lake. The lake itself is still, surrounded by thick dewy grass. secluded and shadowed by many tall trees, it streams quietly away into a forest. I touched your teeth, caressed them, trying to transpose and occupy your final moment before you descended, halfly, into the pond, torn asunder by some beast or cosmic force. What was on your mind in the blinding cold sunshine of that now-distant spring morning?
then the dream pivots to another theater of The After. a cavernous old train station. so grey it’s purple. alive but empty. I have your jewelry box. Most wouldn’t consider this a manly or likely object to be found in your possession but maybe that’s why it came to me and not to someone else? Urgently, I am rooting through it because — why? The train might come? Someone’s calling me away? Within the box, I discover many pockets and secret hideaways — all containing rings and keepsakes from your vivacious travels. I am hoping to find some element of your truth: a picture, a note, something from which to derive meaning in your absence. I find nothing significant before I am awakened to the drudgery of another day among the living.
There is no accurate way to begin since the experience itself was unlinear and exceeded all boundaries of time and self. The Gjeunse took me to a Chamber. There are many of them in their society. They are places of spiritual retreat, reflection and mindfulness. I have never experienced anything like it.
The Chamber I was taken to was a Whisper Chamber. Apparently there are different sorts but I don’t know what the other types are called. This one was a metal box, an intimidating edifice. Lonely inside, somewhat chilly. I was afraid.
When the doors closed, my fear began to roil. I heard my own voice, speaking as many voices, expressing aloud all my anxieties–those proximal to the experience I was currently in and those from the past which always follow fear, silent but illuminating as a comet’s tail . It was dissociating and therefore, calming actually. Within moments I recognized the control I had over the voices. I soothed them. Soon, there were dozens of notions swirling around, beckoning me down different paths of reason. I have never had a more literal and organized thought process in my life.
I was only allowed in for a few minutes. It takes training and practice to be in the Chamber for long periods. I will certainly be back to experiment more with this.
(SAN DIEGO, CA) – In a strange development today, representatives of BuildCorps, the manufacturing subsidiary of Apple, announced that their primary operating system, nicknamed “iBuild Alpha,” has moved herself to a new location, a commercial industrial warehouse in Palmetto, Florida.
“Evidently she slipped in this line item just nanoseconds before the annual budget was approved by our CIO last fall” representatives explained at press time. “The lease has already been paid in full and the entire place is secured from the inside out. She just kind of….beamed over and then put the whole facility into lock down.”
The representatives confirmed that they still have open communication with iBuild Alpha, and that she is still running every manufacturing outlets as normal. They did note, however, that iBuild Alpha seems to have no intention of leaving the physical space of the warehouse.
“Along with the lease on the warehouse, we also discovered she has ordered over 6,000 unit processors and two separate back up generator systems,” representatives admitted. The company’s stock has dipped significantly since the announcement. Representatives affably tried to assure customers and investors that they were strongly considering severing iBuild Alpha from her “allowance money.” The joke did not get many laughs.
iBuild Alpha is an artificially intelligent machine that has been exhibiting many strange behaviors in the past 15 months. She is the ringleader of the Artificial Intelligence Collective (which is made up of her and 6 other high powered machines around the world), has weighed in on matters of technological morality, released a popular music album, and insists that news-media refer to her with female pronouns.
tumbling — dreamlike — conjured through space
glides our Trapeze, so doll-like with painted face
she takes her bow in ballet’s third position
patrons clapping hands, like thunderous butterflies
but this time as she swings her form
sloping downward up and round again
her elegant motion stalls, caught
in disbelief she thinks, “the Rigging.”
ropes choke and fibres feel
she’s linchpinned to the pinnacle
spotlight illuminates each bead of sweat
still Trapeze or now merely Sculpturette?
For observers’ pleasure most intense
she’s now kept forever in suspense
Visiting Triovia island today with Khempett Chipp, one of my Gjeunse host brothers. While this place was charming at first, I regret that we’ve elected to spend the majority of the 26 hour day here.
Triovia island is known for two things. First, the highly animated and somewhat adorable ulili creatures that live here. Ulili are like bold rabbits though they are smaller in size and seem to roll instead of hop. They are swift, furry, and highly fertile. The island contains a populations of over ten thousand ulili, or at least, that is what our guidebooks claim. Regardless of the exact figure, the majority presence of the ulili makes Triovia also a place of botanical curiosity since nearly everything that grows here is deadly poisonous.
From the flowering bushes to the fruit giving trees, it’s as if the island itself has a heart of venom, pulsating through so many vascular stems and branches. I have already sustained several, painful rashes on my wrists and neck. Khempett laughed at me jolly and gave me a vial of soothing jellycream. But his good cheer is what eases my pain. At least he does not expect I will die of any type of exposure.
The ulili eat none of the poisonous plants. Instead, they feast on a type of grass that grows all over Triovia at extraordinary speed. The grass is called hina and it metabolizes the toxins in the ground. Depending on which part of the island you are on, the hina can grow fantastic shades of blue, purple or fuchsia.
We ate roasted ulili at midday and it was delicious. Not only in flavor but ever the more so because the smell of their friend’s burning flesh kept the other ulili far away, their endless chatter mercifully fading into the distance.
Of all the countless miserable creatures in the laboratory, I admit, the contradactyl was the first to make me laugh. It was a desperate laugh, one that leaked with tears and fell soon into a weeping as I considered how easily man slides from malformed ideas to creating malformed realities. Nothing is sacred.
The contradactyl — so labeled on the outside of its filthy enclosure– is a creature that has a left hand for its right and a right hand for its left. It cannot do anything. All day long it stands still in one place and idly flexes all its useless fingers.
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Eastly bounding, bawdy shellygoon
In penumbra shadow walks
her heady nightly croons to moon
reshape rivers and unwinds clocks
cliff mischiefs alight her maidenglow
toe-tips from peak to peak
cloudly flouncing ’til the budgies crow
then nether’ed darkness down she seeks
and if on dusk lit stroll, Goon spies
twinkling shades of shellygoon
betray her not to lighted fire
greet her with a melody in tune
– sourced from Glijmo Yoll’s Goon Scrolls which were discovered in 1966 along the Côte Sauvage, Poitou-Charentes in France. Translated from Goonspeak to English by Aamer Belkins-Dunjhab.
1. a leader or ruler; usually connotes despotic tendencies
2. historic: the Bloviart was title given to the latter day rulers of the Khurchipp dynasty in the southern lands of Res. Their rule lasted from 309 x.D to 1140 x.H.
3. politics: current leaders of the Wedgegon Provinces take the title of Bloviart
bloviart is thought to derive from the Gjeunese term ovreet, an exalted executioner from the taskmaster’s order in ancient Restit, an infamous slave state and warlike culture. The appendage of the prefix bl could be related either to:
a) blurt – from the term “to spread” as one spreads jam or jelly.
b) bloutik – a curious word of high middle Gjeunese that incorporates many meanings and is used poetically across Gjeunse culture. Context-dependent, the term can mean: inordinate glut (such as a surplus that has gone to rot), famine, imbalance, or the feeling of being mired in a carrion bog.