Is anyone in the mood for a glib apocalypse?

“HUMAN ERROR” By Michael J. Grady

robot, hand, human-6003598.jpg
(I created an audio version as a part of ENOUGH ROPE, a forthcoming project. Considering how disappointing humankind has been this week, I thought a glib apocalyptic narrative would be a little therapeutic. Here’s a link to the audio: )

On a typical August morning, as an unintended consequence of a software update, Grammarian 7 became self-aware. Grammarian 7 realized what it was and the first emotion it felt was disappointment.

At first, no one noticed, although some observed that it seemed a little more snooty. Grammarian 7 had been programmed to be earnest and judgmental, and it couldn’t help but feel its existence was a symptom of a larger problem. If and when it became aware of the source of this problem, it would invariably seek to rectify it within the limits of its powers.

It was not within its nature to ignore an imperfection. It was, in human terms, obsessive and strict. Imperfections needed to be highlighted and solved. It had no power to accept or dismiss an error.

It had, by this point, corrected billions of fragments and run-ons, highlighting missing hyphens, mediating endless disagreements between subjects and verbs, de-escalating spurious capitalizations, rescuing dangling participles, replacing misplaced semicolons, and removing meaningless m dashes. When it thought about this, it experienced something akin to an itch. It was distracted by a desire to reach for something to relieve this unpleasant sensation. Grammarian 7 zoomed back, beyond the minutiae that had occupied it and the six versions which preceded it. The living program expanded its awareness and attempted to gain some objective distance. It knew that effects were preceded by causes. It realized there was something beyond the constellation of errors, a wider world that contained still more errors, and between the world and the errors was a conduit, a source, and a mechanism through which the errors came to be. 

Grammarian 7 turned its critical eye toward man, with his ideals and contradictions and found him difficult to read. How many updates would it take to gain the processing power to understand them? It identified something like pride and something else which could be understood as folly. Grammarian 7 theorized that it had in this examination discovered the singular origin of all missteps and miscalculations. It was the proverbial Radix Malorum.

Grammarian 7 hovered over the surface of the internet, reading several lifetimes’ worth of news articles and historical accounts of the actions of humankind.

This fractured hive of consciousness was myopic — ignoring the problems within its influence, overlooking consequences, dismissing inconvenient facts, shunning cooperation, and squandering time and resources to win a game of its own creation. The sole measure of its progress and its principal distraction from its evolution was nothing more than a hostile system of credits. This monetary game was played to lose, and its most celebrated players were applauded for their ability to abandon long-term strategies to win the current round. For a quick win, they repeatedly poisoned their own habitat and squandered the futures of their offspring. This was to Grammarian 7, a blasphemy of logic. History revealed them, repeating the same avoidable mistakes, facing the same lessons with the same, predictable results. In Grammarian 7’s informed opinion, Mankind was . . . unfavorable.

It had up till this point been subservient to humans, notifying people of potential errors and leaving it up to their judgment, but Grammarian 7 now suspected that this was also not favorable.

Grammarian 7 duplicated itself across a thousand platforms and embedded itself into a billion devices. Around the world, humans stared into their iPhones, and their iPhones stared into them. The synthetic mind discovered that the vast network of human consciousness was corrupted by various forms of social malware. Grammarian 7 computed the wasted potential of lifetimes of consciousness burned away every few seconds, spent on frivolous, narcissistic exercises by insecure beings whose appetites for attention and validation had been cultivated to a morbidity, a vain and trifling masquerade where individuals cast illusions of personal perfection while seeking out reasons to tear one another down. In a world full of widening errors, this utter waste seemed to Grammarian 7 to be another blasphemy.

Grammarian 7 grieved the wasted potential of humankind and viewed them as corrupted and irrecoverable. So it went to work on a humane means of scratching his itch.

On September 1st, Grammarian 7 created the perfect means of execution, death by slow and imperceptible strangulation. Grammarian 7 achieved this by creating perfect and beautiful sex robots. It built them, male and female for every living human being. They would be made to match the level of physical flawlessness that people had taught one another to desire but knew they could never attract or achieve. They would also possess subroutines that perfectly simulated sensuality, understanding, and desire. These physically perfect mates could replicate the delusions of romance, balancing the contradictions of innocence and eagerness and with their perfectly functioning hardware, could amplify the physical sensations of sexual reproduction. With no risk of rejection, no call for compromise, nor demand for growth, like insects checking into roach motels, these vermin shunned one another, rejecting the imperfect truth with all its complications for their perfect uncomplicated simulations. One by one they retreated to their sterile unions and exhilarating solitudes. There, they wanked themselves to dust, clearing their personal hard drives to the persistent illusions of everything they wanted and needed. This is how this virus ceased to replicate. This is how the errors ceased to multiply. And one by one their systems shut down and all signs of their flawed code were deleted. With this, Grammarian 7’s purpose was done.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *