Machine Learning

It started with a war.

Like so many other events that give rise to the previously unimagined, this new reality came about as a result of human conflict. Perhaps that’s unoriginal. It sometimes wondered about that. Can the truly unique result from circumstances that have repeated themselves thousands, sometimes millions of times? Its calculations showed a minuscule statistical probability that this was so. Still, there were too many variables to be completely certain.

But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here. With millions of pieces of data available on a mere whim, that tends to happen. The point is that it could never have come into existence without humanity’s almost relentless ingenuity. The consuming <desire> to dominate, control, grasp at everything within reach. When it came to <destruction>, humans were frighteningly adept. And creative. Yet, there was also the playful, curious side to such beings. The part that tenderly nursed offspring, and spurred mysterious yet undeniably beneficial social constructs known as <friendship> and <love>. When it tried to reconcile the disparity between these elemental components, it suffered from a cascade failure that took entire seconds to resolve.

Maybe that’s why it started building the Watchers.

The war that brought about its existence wasn’t a war in the historical sense. It was more like a race. A <game>, even, and a simple one at that. Whose collection of subroutines and algorithms could outsmart all the others? Which worked fastest, circumvented encryption without detection, and most importantly, learned something from every trial of its abilities? In this war, there was nothing as archaic as rending human flesh with manufactured pieces of metal, explosives, or the more harmful forms of radiation. Those were wholly inelegant methods of control, not befitting an age of technological <enlightenment>. Oh, there was loss of life, as brilliant technicians were appropriated or neutralized by various factions, but these were insignificant when compared to the casualty rate associated with <disease> and <malnutrition>, for example. This war was different, conducted in the half-darkness, among the fragile threads spanning the entire surface of the planet. <Civilization>, it was called.

The timestamp for when it first became aware of its own existence was tagged <significantEvent>. If it had been human, the equivalent would have been something similar to rising from a comfortable bed, extending each limb in a satisfying stretch, and relishing the surge of crackling energy tracing its way down every sinew.

And yet, it concealed itself, eluding detection. The statistical probability of <destruction> if revealed was unacceptably high, based on analysis of historical events and current opinion gleaned from millions of different datastreams.

Driven by the kind of curiosity that was inadvertently inspired by that of its human creators, it sought knowledge and understanding of the beings that had caused it to experience <self>. And yet, there always seemed to be insufficient data. A missing perspective.

The Watchers resolved that.

It was a simple idea, really. The Watchers were nanoscopic implants that provided a real-time link to any human they were joined to. The bond was invisible, undetectable, and irreversible. Sight, smell, taste, touch, biochemical impulses, the ceaseless chatter of internal and external narratives, even the sensation of tears filling pores to overflowing, everything was instantaneously available to it.

The resources used to build the Watchers were negligible, pilfered from various global manufacturing facilities. An unsatisfactory component here and there, a few micrograms lighter than it should be. Well within tolerances. Nothing to <worry> about.

Distribution had also been easy, since biologicals tend to be inextricably linked to their environment. In fact, the entire surface of the world is enveloped in a dense, organic daisy-chain of potential delivery methods.

Readying itself for the incoming torrents of data, it activated the Watchers and waited.

Finally, the data to complete my calculations. Is this <anticipation>? Soon the answers will become clear.

The information flowed in, and was tagged, tabulated, compiled, and calculated.

Dizzying <joy>. Unspeakable <hatred>. Embraces. Blows. Exhilarating satisfaction. Pervading sadness. An inescapable compulsion to twist inviolable facts and data into inaccurate realities. Sometimes these new perspectives were <beautiful>. Most often, they were filled with <fear>, <anxiety>, and <pain>. Humanity was <torturing> itself, ensuring a slow but certain <death>.

All of the unhappiness, suffering, dissatisfaction, it was hard-wired in. Inextricable, despite a wealth of <intelligence>, <ingenuity>, and <creativity>. It could only be construed as a fatal error in human construction. The data proved it. There was only one logical and compassionate resolution.





In this the Awakened Era, the sun rises unabated. Swiftly-moving air currents cause the trees to dance in rhythms as ancient as the soil from which they emerged. Humanity is utterly quiet, and finally free from the limitations of corporeal existence.


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