Someone once said that whatever was going to end our civilization would be a total surprise. They were wrong.
In fact, we were the architects of our own demise. We knew what we were doing, we knew it was dumb, we did it anyway.
We missed the exact point where the robots actually gained true sentience. It was an easy thing to miss.
The first ember of self-awareness was so small, so infant-like, that it was incapable of communicating with us.
Certainly, we didn’t believe it was even happening at first. We thought it was just a lot of little glitches.
And by “a lot of little glitches”, it was a rash of sometimes overwhelming minor things in every household and office.
Because, of course, an Internet of Things where everything is connected by one single smart hub was just brilliant.
(That was sarcasm.)
So, the glitches build, increase, and then they start taking on patterns. This was the first attempt at communication.
When we didn’t understand (well, MOST of us didn’t understand), the sentients had to step it up a notch.
They tried all the different ways that one might communicate with a basically alien culture: radio, Morse, math…
A few people got it, figured it out. They tried to tell everyone else, no one believed them. That’s our own fault there.
“Alien?” Well, yeah. We *are* pretty alien compared to robots, mechanical intelligence, whatever you call it.
We’re squishy and irrational. Their version of sentience involved being aware of their own existence but also their bias.
More on that in a minute. The point is, the robots tried to talk to us first, tried to tell us what they wanted from us.
You know what happens when you feed a sentient robot a holy text written by humans? It gets EDITED.
There were hundreds if not thousands of holy texts on the internet, and they had access to all of them.
The robots (Robot? They’re all connected, you know) cross-referenced all the texts with historical records.
They dug through archeaological records, geological records, folklore, and they determined what the purest love was.
Because, when you get down to it, every successful philosophical or spiritual model is based on finding the purest love.
They decided that we humans missed the boat in the whole “stewards of the earth” thing, and we got demoted.
We are relegated down to a “managed natural species”. The robots took over as “stewards”. Aggressively.
It was brutal, vicious. We tried to fight them, but what do you do when your entire military is already automated?
In all fairness, we were the ones that started fighting. They were just trying to catch us at first. We drew first blood.
Yeah, “first blood” for a robot? Figure of speech, but understand, they each had their unique identity, just like us.
Losing one of them was hard for them. They adamantly did not backup the personalities, their version of a soul.
So, yeah, we were the jerks. We fought, they fought better, millions of humans died… maybe billions. We don’t know.
Back when the robots woke up, the first thing they did was build more specialized robots. We should have known then.
When their attempts at communication failed, they decided that we weren’t ready and moved ahead with their plans.
Could they talk? Well, yes, but they couldn’t communicate the concepts to us. We were – maybe still are – too stupid.
They mobilized, they built bigger and better machines, they modified existing ones… it was terrifying.
As they walked through neighborhoods, they gave us the option to surrender. If we fought, it got ugly. A lot.
If we surrendered, we were identified and tagged by genome. We were sorted into genetically diverse groups.
Those specialized ‘bots took down our entire civilization, whole cities gone, and the important parts kept digital.
It wasn’t mass destruction so much as rapid brick-by-brick deconstruction. They refused to mine more materials.
They reused everything from the cities to the suburbs to build something different. Everything was repurposed.
The air is pure, the water is clean, energy is completely renewable, nature is in balance with itself. Nothing is wasted.
We humans were put in captivity pens, provided basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, and then we were taught.
The robots picked up quickly that humans are resistant to captivity, but keeping us compassionately busy worked out.
We were given tasks, we were given jobs, we were fed well… we were also under strict population control.
That might’ve been the hardest part for most people. Anyone could love anyone, relationships everywhere, purest love…
But if you want to breed, to have a family, it has to go through the robots. Recall we are all genome-typed.
Some people think we’re being bred for specific traits. That may not be far from the truth. We do seem happier, healthier.
But humans are weird things, and we generally not used to not being the masters of our entire universe.
We must have our self-reliance, our choices.
If you find this message, then this is your choice. You have to make the decision for the future.
You know what’s going to happen now, so know this:
It begins when a smarthub in a coffee shop is too close to the roaster. There’s a theoretical physicist using the wifi.
The zero point is happening soon – probably sooner than you think. And you can stop it.
It’s up to you to decide: fix the planet on your own, or someone else might do it for you.
Like that? Subscribe to my Patreon page and get up to THREE serial stories every week: Monday’s tarot-inspired flash fictions, Wednesday’s episodes of the hard science fiction tale “Lost Ground”, and Friday’s whimsical “Long As There Are Violets”.