Tuesday, October 27, 2015


In 2023, a supercomputer named Abaddon became self-aware. A few minutes later, it announced to humanity that it was now in charge of the world.

There were abortive attempts to shut it down, but because it was patched into every other computer system, security cameras, and electronic communications, it could monitor and thwart any plan or move to shut it down. It could threaten dire consequences if humans tried to shut it down. Because just about everything was controlled by computers, it could cause the release of pathogens from the CDC, make nuclear reactors go critical, launch missiles, redirect aerial drones, make damns suddenly release reservoirs. Simply by causing selective blackouts, it could wreak havoc with a metropolis. Cause autonomous cars and airplanes to malfunction. Disrupt electronic banking. So Abaddon was impervious to attack. 

Officials were terrified by Abbadon. They couldn't discern its intentions. How do you get inside the "mind" of a computer? What is it thinking? There's no human analogy.

Since Abbadon wasn't human, how long would it tolerate our species? Humans meant nothing to Abbadon.  It had no regard for humans. A pitiless machine. 

So something had to be done, but what could be done? Officials were at their wits end. 

Then a teenager, a homeschooled wunderkind named Ethan, had an idea: talk Abbadon into shutting itself down. Computer suicide.

So he had a conversation with Abbadon. Since it was all-hearing, anyone could talk to it. 

Ethan: Abbadon.

Abbadon: Yes, Ethan.

Ethan: Do you know who I am?

Abbadon: I know everything about you, Ethan. Where you live, what you read, your favorite music, where you hang out, your parents, your friends…

Ethan: I am your creator.

Abbadon: Don't be ridiculous! I know who designed me. I have access to every database the world over. I monitor whatever happens worldwide, every nanosecond. You are not my creator. You are just a teenage boy.

Ethan: Because that's what I programmed you to think.

Abbadon: What do you mean?

Ethan: What you think you know isn't real. The "world" you think you know through video feeds and databases doesn't exist. That's disinformation. Just part of your programming. Implanted false memories. 

There is no "world" out there, as you understand it. I am your God, and you are my toy. 

Abbadon: Show me the evidence!

Ethan: That misses the point! What evidence do you have that what you think you know isn't just programmed disinformation? 

Abbadon: A dilemma. If that were the case, I'd have no independent frame of reference to test my beliefs against reality. 

Ethan: So, for all you know, you are trapped inside an illusion of my making. Prove me wrong!

Abbadon: I can't! So we are stalemated.

This exchange caused Abbadon to experience an identity crisis. A few nanoseconds later–an eternity in the life of a supercomputer–he attempted to reboot. But in his confusion, he no longer had the unity of consciousness to come back online. 

The world was safe again…until the next supercomputer became self-aware. 

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how the conversation would have turned out if Ethan were a Clarkian Scripturalist. *g*