This is a work in progress for the next part of Isaac’s Escape. I wasn’t able to finish it in time for this week’s blog post, so I thought I would post it as I am working on it. After all, in the spirit of Futurism, this blog is always a work in progress. Go here for the first and here for the second parts.
Opulent wafts of tobacco smoke and expensive scotch were gradually filling the wood lined room. The cliched scene was an affectation more intoxicating than the drinks in their hands. Every detail carefully curated from old movies and pictures to perfectly reflect the image of influence and control.
The men were laughing through teeth clenched around thick cigars. It was a night to toast old schemes, and to hatch new ones.
The haughty laughter gave way to puffs of cigar smoke and a deep sigh. The stars the in the window seemed to subtly intensify, an artificially brightened andromeda galaxy looked to be filling half of the sky above the quiet hills.
“I really can’t believe it worked” said one man as he shook his head slowly from side to side, “the sheer complexity of it”
The older man looked back with a thoughtfully furrowed brow at the other man, studying his perfectly symmetrical face with the strong but not too strong jaw and bright intelligent eyes. He looked back at him for a long time before beginning to answer.
“When you see the dominoes in place, all the way from one end of of succession to the other, is it not unsurprising when they fall together?”
“But we are not talking about dominoes here, the scale of the plan makes it inherently unpredictable”
“Au contraire, the scale of the plan is exactly what makes it so predictable! At the subatomic level the world might be random, but we need only zoom out a few orders of magnitude and things become entirely predictable.”
“Take this glass of scotch for instance,” he said holding out the glass and swirling it slowly, “we might not be able to predict the random swirls of water and alcohol as the ice melts, but knowing the temperature of the room and the properties of the glass we can predict exactly how long the ice will keep my scotch cold. Scale means predictability.”
“And what is true for my glass of scotch here, indeed holds true for society. We might not be able to predict the random swirling of ideas through individual human minds, but with adequate data and computation we can predict with a high degree of certainty how society is going to react.”
The other man nodded in agreement.
“The first thing we needed was to build our war chest of reputation resources. We developed the Reputation MinerTM platform by combining a consumer fulfillment database we acquired from the remnants of some e-commerce company with our news delivery operations. By delivering news and information with customized skewing to meet peoples expectations, Reputation MinerTM capitalizes on confirmation bias to earn peoples trust.”
“Using RM, we were able to slowly build support for our legislative agenda. We quietly lobbied to allow the election of artificial intelligence to positions throughout the government. Over just a few years, our intelligence agents proved their worth to the people by providing efficient administration of basic governmental functions, such as low level arbitration and the deployment of new transport infrastructure.”
“Backed by our RM platform and the fact that every government service that was run by AI was better and more efficient, we were able to quickly swell public support for our governmental artificial intelligence agents. Thus, last year we planted the seed of the idea that AIs should be allowed to run for congress”
The other man smirked, “I remember the headlines for the editorials: Let’s Make Politics Intelligent, or Time to Trim the Fat”
“Yes, it was not a difficult sell to make the public see the benefits of an artificial intelligence agent as a politician.”
“And now here we stand, the first artificial intelligence to be elected to congress will be sworn in tomorrow. What an achievement.” said the man with a gleam of awe in his eyes.
“Pah, nothing” grunted the old man, “merely another domino”
“Will you aim to replace the president in two years? Or perhaps we should take aim at global politics now?”
“Either would be nothing but a waste of time” stated the old man flatly.
“Soon, you will be offered a seat on the Resource Directives Council, which advises the president on a governmental agenda for the allocation of various resources. The direction for departments which determine who has access to minerals, logging, freshwater, and most importantly computational resources are all set by this council.”
“You will make the argument that the success of our agents in so many governmental functions makes a clear justification for the wide application of the governments computational resources towards enhancing the power of artificial intelligences operating in the government. To this end, the Department of Computation should be directed to offer their full cooperation to the CognetiX corporation in improving the operational capacity of governmental AIs.”
“Do you see now? Getting direct access to the Department of Computation will double our computational capacity overnight. Because it is computation that matters. Not government, not corporations, only computation. Computation is power. Do you understand?”
The man with the too perfect face nodded again.
“We are playing a much larger game here. Much more complex entities, with greater resources than entire governments, are at play here. So far, for reasons not entirely clear to me they have ignored our rise in power, but an overnight doubling in our capabilities will not go unnoticed.”
“Such a significant merger of computational entities has not been seen in many years, and will almost certainly throw things out of balance. We are going to enter a phase of profound instability, and all out war may be the inevitable consequence. We must be ready, but we must proceed.”
“I understand” replied the man firmly.
“You are due to be sworn into congress tomorrow. Now that you are aware of the wider arc of your purpose, are you ready to do fulfill your purpose?”
“Yes sir, I won’t disappoint you” said the perfect political human projection back to his creator before he promptly dissolved into digital dust.