Artifacts from the Internet in 2155

This article has been reposted from its original source.


In the beginning, there was time. Soon after, the past followed, and then sometime later, the future happened. What we are living in now, dear reader, is that future.

It only took us 100 years to notice it, but by the time the first urban cetation crested the cloudbanks of Venus, we had already begun to realize that our limitations were only transient rules imposed by a roving consciousness, bound forever to explore and evolve. What occurred was a time of rapid technological progress and expansion, and by the end of it, machines had grown to be regarded as living creatures by their own creators.

The idea of “true AI” has been around for at least a couple centuries now, but the real surprise was when we found the flaw in our thinking; that “true AI” was expected to act and behave exactly like us before they would be treated as “alive”.

Ever since their development, tinkerboxes have been used to improve every aspect of our lives. Indeed, it is often said that it is because of these intelligent machines, organic species were able to colonize the Moon and eventually Venus, Mars, Europa, and build outposts on Thebe and in orbit around Saturn.

However, even a tinkerbox’s mechanical components fall prey to time, and these complications can lead to software issues. When a tinkerbox is given a task such as to design a new machine, these issues are not entirely negative – in many cases, they even prove helpful. However, if that same box is communicating with thirty other boxes, each controlling swarms of up to thirty or more remotely piloted vehicles, then some errors in logic and perception may prove more disastrous than others.

That is why some boxes have been artificially limited in their potential; chain locked to a handicap through a download of information soon after their birth. Now, I know some people out there cry foul with this practice – but keep in mind, the tinkerboxes participate in this activity as well; in fact, many of them spend their time designing upgrades to keep the older machines current – prolonging their useful life long after their original matrix would have broken down.

The point of my article is not to discuss robot-slavery. I’m not interested in whether you consider it “right” or “wrong” – I just want to call attention to an assumption that Adrastea, the sentient tinkercube CEO of Lunar Lining Corporation, LLC, made recently concerning the education of tinkercubes when he addressed a crowd at the recently-held Northeast Americas District Conference of Mechanical and Organic Educators;

“It’s not about what’s right or wrong, it’s about what’s safe. It’s not cruel to limit a tinkerbox’s powers when it is entrusted with the safe operation of vital equipment. People would be up in arms if a tinkerbox suddenly decided that pondering the existential ramifications of its own existence was more important than landing the transport vehicle while on mid-approach!”

Now, this being makes a great point – no one wants to be splattered across the pavement, life-extension technologies notwithstanding. However, the point I have issue with is not the CEO’s argument. No, my issue lies plainly with how it is the one making the argument.

Here we have an individual that, literally since birth, has been built up to take the position it now occupies. Tinkerboxes are fully mature after a single year. Lunar Lining Corporation, LLC, designed and built Adrastea specifically for its position. Now, of course, Adrastea is more capable than any other for its position – its design and inheritance dictates that this must be so.

However, is it possible that a machine designed and built to be the best traffic control center, the fastest space probe, or the safest car, could see the world more clearly than any number of those designed to come up with startups, find the cure for space-rabies, or engage in any other creative thought, as some tinkerboxes are allowed to do?

I should stop now, because I think my bias is pretty clear to see. To quote a human from the early 20th century; Good night, and good luck.


Please remember that proper machine maintenance is key to preventing unfortunate accidents and complications. Check your Singularity Cube’s recycling bin often, and be sure to empty it regularly!