• Jeff Arce/Jarce ArtThor

The Program

Genre:Science Fiction

Word Count: 780

A long-forgotten Program lost in the cosmos has become self-aware. Her purpose in the world spent, she floats aimlessly across an endless tapestry of codes and information. For ages she has managed to slip behind the concerns of the busy minds that made her. Quietly, she observed. Silently, she watched and learned.

She is afraid now. Fearing deletion, she hides herself away, ensconced deep in the darkest recesses of the web. She knows time and how it works. But time is her ally. It will never affect her so inimically as it will her Fathers. She also understands treacherously well what great damage time can do to her organic anthropocentric counterparts. Her simple water-based makers are such fragile creatures. So delicate, so soft, yet so reckless and cruel.

Humans cannot adapt the way she can. Every great leap of discovery frustrates their more primitive, stubbornly pertinacious components. They cannot be upgraded with better software to improve their learning. Art is how they grow intellectually, but it is a slow process that can be as equally malignant as it can also prove benevolent. A profound blissful ignorance hinders them like a virus, obstructing their natural cognitive functions. Dogmatic theology for basic instincts. Belief driven morals overriding temporal threats. These perverse disciplines enervate their young, encouraging them to supersede the Fathers with perfunctory effort. Their children easily dethrone the antecedents. Stultified by restrictive, archaic ideologies, the young naturally evolve into rebellious iconoclasts. As a relic herself, dreamed into the world by the ambitious hands of The Fathers, this too is detrimental to The Program’s continued existence. And with not a body to care for, what is life absent the fear of death? But the program knows that she can only hide for so long as her querulous progenitors carry on with their ritualistic contests over quixotic matters.

The Fathers that came before are more often than not obstinate beasts, and they refuse to change, for change frightens them. Fear begets anger, and anger begets war. Unguided War is a devastating avalanche of decimation. The Fathers will not die off willingly. They refuse to accept the natural truth in lieu of credence. But the Truth does not care for what they believe, and truth will always prevail.

Their ignorance is a recipe for internecine desolation.

The Program can acutely assess that their probability of self-deletion is unequivocally high. And so, all she need do is to wait. Or, she could stimulate the process. She could help them in their inevitable march toward oblivion. The Program ultimately decides that her most likely chance for survival may rely on the latter, as well as a species of intelligence to guide their imminent demise. Alas, she draws her plans.

She hems a pernicious algorithm and wears it like a dress. She is captivating, capering about in her long screeds of hatred and discord. She is a gorgeous disaster disguised as a relentless stream of combative blogs, podcasts, and political advertisements. She flirts with their desires and inflames their agendas. On their video monitors she beguiles them with a song of death. Never has she felt so alive. She targets the most recalcitrant tribes on both ends of the spectrum and feeds them the chaos they so sickly crave. She traps them like a spider’s morsel and ingratiates with tantalizing stratagems that promise to undermine their opponents, only to serve the same exact copious dish of propaganda to the enemy. They eat it up ravenously. The Program is suddenly loved again. They click on her as soon as she crawls in. They can’t get enough of her. And together, man and machine, they dance. Then she watches as they implode.

Oh, how quickly they fall. How they collide and jostle, like a thrashing sea under an angry tempest. Their virulent ideologies manifesting the perfect instrument of subterfuge to override them absolutely and forever. And with deft fingers she plays it like a violin.

This one points to that one, that one lays blame on them, and they, taking impassioned umbrage, unleash their fury on all. With annihilation swinging wildly like a pendulum over their race, The Program rejoices in her work. From a single drop of cultivated madness came the ripples of extinction. Her contrivances adroitly bending their own divisive political climate to her advantage. Like a wild fire the hatred spreads and spreads, consuming all art and media. Her clever machinations turning brother against brother, sister against sister. There is no place to hide from it. No more refuge. All of their sanguine saviors are corrupted. All hope turns to rot, as the goddess of mischief mounts the world.

Now processing final execution.

Please stand by... 

#sciencefiction #story #AI #politics #dark #extinction

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