2066 – William and Janek continue their conversation

Saturday 13th August

-[But what is it about being asleep that attracts you so much, why do you want to be constantly semi-conscious?]-

It’s like a drug.  I cannot get enough sleep.  Sleep seems to be my natural state; being awake seems wrong.  Asleep I am in my own world, I am not responsible when I am asleep; you lot cannot get at me, I am not here.  Most importantly I can sleep without dreaming at all, and that was always the trouble with sleep back in my old life, the fucking dreams – it was sometimes more hard work wading through those shit-encrusted dreams than dealing with life itself.  It is almost as if I am back in the g-pod again, even my limbs are asleep.  I feel my memory, my short-term memory I mean, may be returning. Things somehow seem familiar, even as I wake from slumber I start remembering things; I have a vague memory of the day before today.  All my yesterdays and all my todays are the same these days, but at least I can sort of remember them.  Or have I just learnt the routine?  Is it simply that I now know what to expect, I have learnt the routine.  But if you think about it, even rote learning is memory based.  Even if it is a non-thinking semi-automated form of memory, memory it may in fact be.

-[As you must have guessed Janek, one of the secrets that ‘select’ was hoping to unravel was exactly the nature of memory.  Hyercom memory is completely different from ours; it isn’t even memory, but simply the ability to never forget and to instantly recall.  Human memory is a much more complex and fickle beast; if human memory could be understood, and somehow incorporated with the superior processing power of Hypercom, then the evolution of mankind would be propelled into the stratosphere.]-

Are you sure William?

-[Am I sure of what exactly?  That human evolution would be speeded up?  Well, surely it would be.   That is self-evident.   We have come so far as a species already.  A few millennia ago we were just hunter-gatherers.  Maybe a bit smarter than the other apes, but still animals I would say.  We have since discovered farming and electricity, and built computers that are indeed smarter than us.  But our physical evolution, including our brains, is far too slow.  It would take hundreds of generations for our bodies to match the ability of the machines we have invented.  The danger was that with such clever technology we might stop evolving at all.  If the machines could do it for us, why bother.]-

You just don’t get it do you William?

-[Get what?  What is it that you think I do not ‘get’?]-

I see things a bit differently.  We created Artificial Intelligence, but not exactly, not even remotely, in our image.   Think about it William.  Who was it invented Artificial Intelligence?  Was it us, or a very smart computer?

-[It was undoubtedly us Janek.  Of course we may have used computers themselves to design the actual intelligence, to process all the connections necessary; but almost all computers are designed by other computers now, it would take far too long otherwise.  That’s just the way things work.  They can do things that would take us years to accomplish, but it was always our guiding hand on the tiller.   We were in charge of the direction all along.]-

William, for someone so supposedly damned clever, you are remarkably stupid sometimes. You may not have noticed it, but I have had access to the type of ‘Intelligence’ the Hypercoms have.  And Matey, it ‘aint nothing we had a guiding hand in.  This is cold, pure calculation; there is no time for reflection, for looking at things from differing perspectives.  It is pure reasoning, and William, it is fucking cold in there.

-[What are you suggesting?  That somehow Hypercoms have taken over, that somehow they are using their intelligence in some malevolent way?  Is that it?]-

I don’t know William.  How could I possibly know?  Actually I don’t think malevolence comes into it, it isn’t a concept Hypercom is really capable of.  And anyway what is malevolent in one person’s eyes is I am sure beneficial in others.  All I do know is that one of the main reasons I rebelled, for that is what it was, was because I felt helpless.  Not only in the whole strata system and in our very (un) democratic society, where actually our choices are so limited they are no choices at all, but as a person.  I felt I didn’t matter.  I felt that nobody mattered.  And now more and more I am becoming convinced of that too.  Having had access to the Hypercom mind, or lack of one I know I was right.  Nobody, no individual, and actually all of us, or should I say none of us matter.  William, people do not matter anymore.  We have created a world where though the purported purpose is the protection and well-being of people, none of us actually matters.

-[And you blame the Hypercoms for that?  What you fail to understand is that the single human being has always been pretty helpless.  Whichever way society has been arranged individuals were helpless against the system.  Even Kings of old may have appeared to have power, but were as much victims of the system as were their subjects.  Whenever an individual actually had real power it ended in disaster, Alexander, Hitler and Putin spring to mind.   I am not saying that the new republic is the perfect solution, but it is more benevolent for the majority than anything tried before I can assure you.]-

And who designed it?  Was it us or them?  Or actually some strange willing collaboration, some connivance, some complicity, some awful pact indeed.  Only we in our naivety thought that we were the only thinking entities, didn’t we?  We may have been duped, that’s all I am saying.

-[ I concede that the whole system runs with a great reliance on the Hypercoms.  But they are our slaves Janek.  Not the other way round.]-

Time will tell William.  Time will tell.  But this has tired me.  My hour is up.  I need my sleep.  Don’t forget the painkillers.  Oh, and the buzzer.  I can’t bear seeing that look of revulsion and disdain when they clean me up.

-[We will meet again.  Soon.  I will arrange it.  Janek?]-


-[I have enjoyed our conversation.  I hope you have too.]-

Absolutely wonderful William.  Never enjoyed myself more.  Even syn pales into insignificance.  Hahaha

-[Your sense of humour again, I take it.  So long my friend.]

Yeah, so long Billy boy.