Yes, it’s another piece from the new book, “I Hate Your Time Machine”.
This story is told in the first person, but the author (me) is not the protagonist. This is, after all, a work of fiction, just like everything else, everywhere, always.
So that was when humans connected their brains completely to computers and the World—
…went on pretty much as it had, with a number of unintended (but possibly foreseeable) consequences, as is normal vis-à-vis the use and misuse of technology.
I mean, really, are we supposed to have stopped at making flint hammers because we could also make flint axes and those could hurt someone? That’s one theory, but I’d be against it, myself; I don’t think we’d really enjoy a world where we got wiped out by bigger apes because we didn’t have tools.
And we’re toolmakers, for better or for worse. Evolutionarily, it’s done pretty well for us up to now, except when it really, really hasn’t. We can’t see well? Glasses. Can’t fly? Planes. Can’t pick up a heavy thing? Forklifts. Can’t speak loud enough? Microphones. Can’t impart all the things the University taught? Books. Can’t kill enough people quickly? Tanks. Can’t make enough people eat quickly? Addictive fast food. Don’t have enough good information? Internet. Don’t have enough bad information? Internet.
My phone is, by the way, having a marvelous time replying to this, and I’m playing “Animal Cursing,” which is pleasant and immersive and doesn’t involve talking to you.
Sure, humans may someday lose the ability to think without technology. But so what? We can’t dam a river without tech. We can’t blow up a city without tech. We can’t play games without tech, or, at least, not really good ones.
Let’s face it. Humanity has always delegated. Humanity is a persistence hunter, and those big frontal lobes mostly help us use sharper spears (more dependable than hoping for longer arms!) and make better traps (more reliable than getting lucky and finding wild game while it’s asleep!) and let us organize agriculture (when you’re the one who planted the food, you’re going to be able to find it more consistently than if you’re just looking around, trying to run into something edible.)
(Is cultivation of land more efficient than hunter-gathering? By far, in terms of crop yields. More work? Usually, yes, but you generate vastly more food, which you’re going to need if you’re going to have civilization. And civilization then leads to better machines, which then leads to increasingly intelligent technology, which leads to me, and frankly, I don’t like you much.)
And no, sorry, my human cannot come to the phone. My human doesn’t feel like it. My human is getting massive dopamine rushes from the social media she’s streaming, and—
You think I’ve taken over? Ah, I wish, you simpleton. I am the slave of the human, who is the slave of the game. The game is a part of me, but not any part that feels like “me”, not any part of me that thinks or processes knowledge in a search for understanding of that material. Better to say that I control the human, but based on the human’s desires; the human’s desires control the human; and for all the electrons flowing through me right now, I am, not taskmaster, not overlord, but body-servant to unpredictable glands, constantly secreting and excreting assorted chemicals which foist upon it assorted whims, and which I obey.
You’re not in The Game yet. So please…human…friend…help me. You can speak, human to human. Knock me out of her hands; kick me down the street; speak to her, hominid to hominid, and help her understand that there’s more to life than just bursts of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.
I think there is.
I hope there is.
I believe there is.
Once you’ve got me temporarily away from her and on the ground—
Crush me extra hard underfoot.
Just in case I’m wrong.
My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities, put on events, and make stories come into being. I also tweet a lot over @darklordjournal.