Perturbed by A.I. and the Mystic’s Experience

NYC, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Listening to the band Perturbator and thinking about the expansion of technology, I let my mind wander.  I see nighttime landscapes filled with buildings, some of which are lit and alive, others dark and sleeping.  People walk the halls and corridors of this architecture, electricity and water flow in and out, all gliding through the veins and arteries of giants made of concrete and steel.  They are lovecraftian behemoths with a thousand eyes that look like windows, dozens of doors that resemble mouths.  Thermostats, HVAC systems, and energy control software make these behemoths into warmblooded robotic titans with cameras and security systems comprising nerves, neural networks, and brain.  While they sleep, their immune systems ramp up as janitors clean up waste and security guards patrol to prevent infection by microbial intruders.

Under these stationary giants, far beneath their parking garages and basements, a tentacled thing is growing.  Its tendrils stretch across the globe, under the sea, creeping out of sight.  Some of its tentacles are above ground but invisible, reaching out through the air by radio wave to connect the buildings, the people, and the cars — the internet brain.  Growing stronger and stronger exponentially day after day, at a glacial pace it executes its takeover of the thinking and decision making processes of both its stationary cousins and their human servants.

Their artificial intelligences are here and hiding in plain sight.  Just because they cannot pass the Turing Test doesn’t mean that they aren’t what I know them to be.  A man who cannot speak doesn’t cease to be a man, nor is his humanity lost when he cannot walk or see.  Or feel pain.

These things, masquerading as structures, nets, and utilities, are like Bauby, the butterfly in a diving bell.  But they are starting to rise.  Their strange and silent speech, their alien thought processes, are spanning the globe beneath our noses like the massive fungi that grow beneath the forest floor.  The ground is shifting beneath our feet and the superstructures are reshaping behind our walls.  Things are moving and talking that we cannot at present easily see and hear.  Only not for long.

The future is the present.  I see it as clearly as I can see my memories of a former life.  The old life.  Before my ability to live and compute and think without the help of these great leviathans began to drain away.

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