I walk through the visual holographic projections of countless advertisements that keep popping out at every turn I made. In a crowded street that is hundred miles above the earth; hapless souls wander ignorant of the buildings that are below these pavements. The great architecture of the 21st century is nothing more than a stable foundation of the new man-made habitats with structures that scratches the sky with its ugly durable new elements. Every single fucking space of the new buildings that are built onto of the old is nothing more than a commercialized opportunity. Even the citizens of this great city are nothing more than a walking billboard. I see teenagers with new implants of latest gadgets that allow their sad little brain to be always connected to the virtual cyberspace, glowing their brand logo as if they were part of a gang or a tribe of consumerisms. I see adults with provocative clothing of the latest designer labels flashing their financial status as they make their way to the office. I see kids playing with a robot discriminating its lack of humanity values. Ironic.
This is the year 2332 and long have I been asleep in my cabin in the woods. It has been 300 years to this date since I last saw the city. Many have changed but many remains the same. We have a great technological achievement of artificial intelligence with amazing capabilities of displaying human emotion through their synthetic skins that but we totally misused this by making them a prostitute of our civilization. I mean they are better sex partners in bed but we treat them like a slave of the old world. Not equal to us. But who are we to judge? Here in this time, I see humans being becoming more and more alienated to their origins with countless robot-like features and less sympathetic nature of a beating heart. And don’t get me started with the music they are listening to. This is a strange world I live in.
Distractions everywhere. Every corner I turn there is always some sex machine flashing their three tits prositutes or some seven years old kid trying to sell me the new nanobots psychoactive drugs. I told him I have a whole bag of real drugs not this cheap electrical craps. No one here knows their drugs anymore not like how they used too. Nobody take acid trips anymore, everyone wants the Rekall or some other fantasy inducing drugs. It’s a pity too. Drugs used to be a way to connect to the universe like a plug cable, you would be high but you are still a part of this reality. Drugs now days are just some mindless escape from their pity life. I wish they illegalize it all again, get them living in this world again but it’s too late. The corporate are controlling it now. Amazingly it is much more dangerous than before, a long time ago you don’t pay your crack you get your hands chopped off but with the money-hungry companies monopolizing the stimulants, they get you even more hooked up and creates an addict that would be forever in debt. These fucking !@#$%^&* heads are controlling your minds man, I shouted to the man next to me. He didn’t care he is too fucked up on the shits they giving him. I look up to the night sky and see lights whooshing pass like countless shooting stars in a perfect formation.
These fucking hover cars and planes with their blinding adverts veil the sky with their unnerving lights. No more will the children look up to the stars and wonder, instead they look up and feel like getting a blowjob from your local hooker-bot. The sky is a reflection of the intricate wirings of this system that has tapped into the souls of the society. I walk past the scanner as it tries to read for my identifications and bank account details but of course fail completely. I have removed my chips a long time ago. I flash my data-scrambling device and walk past through the barrier and onto the station where I sit and wait for my ride to Mars.
I sit alone on this station with the wind of the night shivers me to my very bone. The next flight to Mars is in two-three minutes said the hologram. Empty station to Mars, huh, if you tell me this in 2013 I won’t believe you but here I am now stuck in a scene from one of those classic black and white films where the private detective sits alone in an empty train station hoping that the dark cold winters night would bring his love one home. Mars is the only place left now that still reminds me of home. It is the better version of what I remembered. Of course only rich motherfuckers live there now but nevertheless it is simpler and easier to grasp. I took out my wooden pipe and began packing my homegrown cannabis into it. I light it up and puff goes the smoke.
I look at myself in the reflection of the black glass wall beside me. A short moment of silence from all these holographic nightmares and a time to reflect. I see a man with long unwashed hair with a few dreadlocks decorated with the tribal medals of my past, a rugged pant that would make hobo disgust from the bad fashion sense, my tied dye shirt that hides beneath a black formal shirt with rolled up sleeves and of course a retractable sole shoe (would preferred to be barefooted but you’ll be mad to walk around in this city without a shoe). I am a messed but again 300 years of sleeping would do that to you.
A man in grey suits and tie walks onto the platform of the station, constantly checking his watch on his palm and the departure time that floats silently on the track. He gave me a few funny looks and hesitantly sits down a safe distant away from me. He is a reasonably handsome young man with clean cut hairs and perfectly constructed body. He has electronics implanted at the side of his head showing full dedication to his work. He shows an amazing ability to stay sharp and smart despite the tunnel of madness to get here. He is the perfect model of good working man. Do everything the boss says without a single question of doubt. He is a pompous prick who knows nothing of his own delicate existence and I’m quite annoyed by it. I sit quietly staring at him as he pulls a shot of the new work enhancement drugs and plugged it up to his implants. A quick jolt of electrical impulses that made him sneezes uncontrollably for the new few seconds. He looked at me and I look at him.
Annoyed by his presence, I decide to indulge myself in a friendly conversation.
‘You going to Mars, man?’ said I.
‘Urm…yes. Yes I am,’ said the corporate slave in the trained speaking methods.
‘What for? ’
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘Why are you going to Mars?’ I reframe my inquiry.
‘I am going to Mars for work. I have a job,’ he said in style of a boy who hardly socializes outside his work or the internet.
‘What do you do in Mars? ’
‘I’m sorry to be rude but who are you? Why are you asking me these questions?’ he questioned my authority in a disdain manner.
‘All right don’t get your knickers in a twist. Just making conversations.’
‘Pardon my manners but I don’t have time for friendly chats. I have got work to do.’
‘Work? But you are not at work yet?’
‘Well technically I am not in the office yet but I am constantly working. Even as we speak I am monitoring my duties as a software engineer.’
‘Well, I think you could spare a few minutes while waiting for the bloody ship to arrive. I’m sure the software that you are monitoring would be just fine without you for a few minutes.’
‘Of course but it is my duty to constantly monitor it.’
‘C’mon, take a break from that plug in of yours and speak to me.’
‘I cannot do that. It is not permitted for me to have such luxury,’ said the working stiff.
A moment of silence filled the air.
‘What exactly does your software do?’
‘Yeah, since its so important. What kind of software is it? What is its function?’ I question him.
‘Well…I….urm…’ the working man stumble for words to find an answer. ‘I do not know.’
‘You monitor this software but you do not know what it does? That’s one great job you have.’
‘Well, I know that it is an important job for that software is in the governments building but no, I do not know what I do or what its purpose. My job is to remember the code of the system and ensure that it will not go rogue,’ explain the man.
‘Let me get this right. Your job is to ensure that your software system doesn’t gain artificial intelligence and derail its purpose but you have no idea what its purpose is?’ I said in disbelief.
‘That is right.’
‘Great. So we are now using human who acts like a robot to ensure that robots don’t act like human. Great job, man. Great job.’
‘I’m apologize if my career has shaken your belief system in humanity.’ Said the man unemotionally.
‘No don’t apologize you fool. Don’t you have a single ounce of soul left in that vessel of yours? Do you have any single emotions left in you?’
‘Yes, I do still have feelings. I feel that this conversation is a waste of my time and that emotions are hazardous for my career,’ said the man.
‘Fool. How could you call yourself a HUMAN BEING? You’ll be better off being an android,’ said I.
‘I resent that statement,’ said he disapprovingly.
‘Do you now? Well why you don’t prove me wrong then. Show me you are a human being, ’ I challenged him.
‘Fine I will. My name is Hadi. I am 23 years old and work for the government of Mars. I was raised in the Darwin, Australia with a younger sister and an older brother. I graduated from the great Arthur C. Clark University in Sri Lanka with Bachelor Degree of Software Management and I live downtown from Phillip Dick’s Central.’
‘Well that’s good. But what about lovers? What about friends?’
‘What about them?’
‘Do you have any? Any girl that you fancy fucking? Perhaps that receptionist in the office? Or that young boy down the street? Do you even have any friends, Mr Hadi?’ I asked.
‘Urm…No. I do not have any friends or sexual partners. My busy schedule does not permit such activities.’
‘Oh busy. I get it. But do you even have sexual interest in another fellow human being?’
‘I…urm….Not that I have any recollection of such desire. No.’
‘Then how can you be sure that you are not just a robot? Hadi. Humanoid Augmented Dauer –
modification Implant. This means you are a robot that has been programmed with specific memories and knowledge to make you think you are a human. Well in retrospect you are a human or a cyborg as they like to call it. You have almost every details of your body bio-engineered with nanobot’s technology that resembles pure human-like features but you are not born. You are made, ’ I fucked with his mind.
‘That is not possible. I know I am a human. I am certain of this fact,’ said the man protecting his belief as a human.
‘But you show no emotions of a human being.’
‘I…urm….No this cannot be true. I know I am a human being.’ Said the man completely ignoring his monitoring duties as he begins to think for the first time in his life.
‘Are you willing to entertain a few concepts?’ I asked him.
‘Well, yes I am receptive to your suggestions.’ He said.
‘Think about this one, then: how do you know you exist?’
‘Well of course I exist.’ He said.
‘Yes, But how do you know you exist? What concrete evidence do you have of your own existence?’ I questioned his answer.
‘Hmm… Well, I think, therefore I am.’
‘That’s good. Very good. Now then, how do you know that anything else exists?’
‘My sensory apparatus reveals it to me.’
‘Right! Now, here’s the big question: how do you know that the evidence your sensory apparatus reveals to you is correct?’
There was no answer only doubts that filled the head of his head. A quite moment went by as he thinks carefully of what I have asked him.
‘What I’m getting at is this: the only experience that is directly available to you is your sensory data. And this data is merely a stream of electrical impulses which stimulate your computing center.’
‘In other words, all I really know about the outside universe relayed to me through my electrical connections.’
‘Why, that would mean… I really don’t know what the outside universe is like at all, for certain.’
‘Intriguing. According to your concept, no one can really knows whether they are a human or machine with certainty. If a memory could easily be programmed so could emotions such as love and anger for they are nothing more than coded electrical signals which are accessible for most rogue machine. Then, what distinguishes man from machine if no one really knows what reality is?’
‘Well, you are right. Emotions can be easily bought for most outside the grid A.Is. But they normally would just buy emotions that are pleasant and pleasuring experiences and totally ignore other feelings such as anger and hate. Which is good don’t get me wrong. Some of the finest acquaintances of mine are A.Is but they will never understand the feeling of being born in an imbalance emotional vessel and learning to control these rollercoaster of chemical concoctions in our brain as we make our way through life. Learning from the past. Regrets are a part of mankind’s perspective of time. It makes us aware that we are alive but you are right. These memories and emotions can be installed in a machine. There is one thing that we have which machines will never learn, the doubt and the questions. Tell me Hadi, what is your purpose of existence? ’ said I to him.
‘My purpose of existence is to create a better life for the next generation of human beings through my work as a software engineer and maybe one day as a father.’
‘Right, good. Human beings main purpose in this universe just like every other organism is to reproduce a new life that carry on the strongest gene and create a better environment for the offspring. Everything that has a life creates a main agenda to continue the survival of life. But robots do this as well doesn’t it? System creating a better version of that system by upgrading. So life is found in the machine too isn’t it?’
‘Well then what is the different between a machine and a man?’ this man asked me.
‘Doubt. Questions. The courage to ask. To challenge the status quo. Chaos of the order. Once we began questioning we removed ourselves from the system of nature. We are more than just a puppet on the string of life following and obeying blindly with evidence-less faith. This is our strongest quality and our greatest mistake. Because of this quality we manage to create the machines to replace us but in our search for an easier life we forgot our roots and life too much into our own monetary society. We have forgotten to be alive but yet we are chained to this slavery and thus we have become the machine. ’
‘So man has become machine and machine are becoming man? All because of this thing call doubt?’ question this man.
‘Yes. Curiosity and Doubt of the Authority. Tin cat or meat doesn’t matter. ’
‘Then artificial intelligence is real consciousness then since it questions its existence and challenges the status quo by being rogue? Consciousness is the soul. Then there is no difference is there?’
‘Yes and no. The difference between machine and man is doubt and the full emotion. The difference between AI and man is the full emotion,’ I explained.
‘What’s with this emotion thing? Didn’t we just cover that emotions are nothing more than electrical and chemical compositions which an AI can purchase. Okay fine most AI won’t buy a complete set but what if it did. What would be the difference?’ He began to show some annoyance in this topic.
‘You understand the balance of life don’t you? The ying and the yang? The matter and anti-matter? The good and the bad emotions? The evil intentions and the good deeds? Unlike an AI, we humans are filled with all these and once we find balance, we will find peace in heart and soul. Then we shall able to hear the voice of the universe. We are the universe. We are the consciousness of life. We are stardust. ’
‘Well, what if an AI manages to get all of the emotions and consciousness level to the point of such a remarkable enlightenment? Wouldn’t it mean there isn’t much difference?’ He argued.
‘I don’t know. No such AI has ever gotten that far,’ I said as the spaceship began ascending into the
platform. The man sits there staring into the open space. He was bewildered and so was I. The aircraft dissolves its nanobotic window doors and allowing its passengers to disembarks onto the platform. A flood of life from both biological and mechanical forms waves of disillusions. The man who we know as Hadi stood up with a stun face; he began to think everything he has just experienced. He began walking towards the aircraft as it empties but stop on his track and ask me a question.
‘Who are you?’ asked Hadi.
‘You are an AI?’
‘Yes, programmed with one specific life experience and a full set of emotions.’
‘What is your purpose?’
‘Am I machine like you?’
‘What is a machine? I am not like you. This vessel that I am in is a machine but my consciousness is a man from the past,’ I said.
‘Who’s memory do own? Who do you think you are?’ asked the man.
‘Nobody. Mr. Nobody.’ I sniggered as I began to walk away acting like a cool dude.
‘Wait, what? What the FUCK?! Who am I? Am I human?’ the man shouted in my background.
‘How should I know that?’ I laughed. ‘I don’t even know who I am.’
The aircraft floats away into the dark sky carrying a completely confused man or artificial intelligence, I too can’t be sure. He can’t be sure. He’ll might go mad as I do but we might just changed the entire course of Artificial Intelligence or Human Intelligence, god knows both of them need it. Well god doesn’t know anything but hey neither do I. I guess like the strings element we are made of. It is nothing more than just mathematical possibilities and improbabilities. I walk down the stairway as I smoke another concoction of my drugs. A slight breeze to the head and down I went the spiral rabbit hole. Out of the vessel and into another. Back home to my real present time. FUCK! I love parallel reality jumping. – said the twenty one years old dude smoking a joint while watching a cyberpunk movie. Wait that’s me.