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One. 

He loved the smell of asphalt. Oil. Gasoline. He liked all the fumes that would normally make a man nauseous. He might even like the smell of hell, he thought, if he ever made it down there. He shaved himself with the new razor he bought from the Wish app. Made in China. That’s why it was so cheap, the knock-off electronics being pressed out in giant workhorse factories in China. Got the job done. It might break, but he could order a replacement and it would still be cheaper than buying an American one.

On the way to work, he pumped his tank. Ah, he thought. Something about that smell really tickled the nose hairs. He checked his gauge. Full. Lingering fumes wafted from the surface of the pavement through his windows. He clicked his GPS unit, another cheap knock-off from China, and went to work. He worked for an advertising agency in the Philadelphia metro. Parking was an absolute nightmare. His access card got him into the garage, but if it was full he would have to scour the downtown for an open metered spot. He rolled all the way to the roof of the parking garage and spotted an empty slot. Thus his day began.

His company developed marketing strategies for companies selling consumer products online. He worked on viral campaigns and cross-media marketing. He’d make flyers and websites and all the rest of the different types of advertisements according to the specific products being sold. His company quickly gained new clients after a recent successful campaign for a new brand of new mousepads that bore ergonomic wrist rests. He worked on the one-page website that branded the mousepads as being constructed of astronaut-grade carbon fiber, whatever that was supposed to mean. They were made in China, of course, like so many other consumer products. He knew the mousepads were crap, but the ads they made were really top-notch. He developed all kinds of great marketing materials.

When he entered the office, he noticed the sulfuric smell immediately. It wasn’t unattractive to him, with his strange tastes. He was curious what could be carrying the strange scent. It appeared to be a new computer case they were meant to sell. It was made of a strange new material that felt like rock, but was dark and gritty and it was giving off the strong odor of sulfur and volcanic rock.

“What’s with the smell?” he asked the first team member he could find.

“Made in hell. That’s what it says on the box. Can’t disagree with their marketing strategy. It’s going to go over great with the demon-obsessed folks that want a really scary-looking PC.”

Excellent construction. Definitely not made in China. No, things were starting to make sense. He was meant to work on this project. To him, the odor wasn’t even unpleasant. He had to thank the devil for this one.

Two.

The tokens trickled as output from the processor. They signified the result of the AI program's calculation on the given input. It was like the voice itself of the program. They linked together to be interpreted by the human programmer. They were meant to tell the story of the provided input. If a book was given, the output tokens represented analysis of the plot and characters. If, as in this case, world news was the input, then the state of the world would be output by the AI.

“Obvious,” was the first token.

When the program was designed, it was meant to analyze things the way a superhuman would. With all the will and verve of a human being, but with massive processing ability, the designers wanted something a human could understand. In a way, “obvious” was an appropriate token because the insights of the program would seem obvious to it, and easily relatable to its human creators.

“Collapse,” came the second token.

The creators waited on in anticipation. The tokens were coming as soon as they were calculated so they had a sensical element to them. The computer expressed itself at the moment of perspicacity. It followed a logical plot. What was the obvious collapse?

“Subterfuge,” was the third token.

Some of the attendees we're using helper programs to more clearly understand the output. The helper programs listed the resources the AI program used to develop its ideas. That way, the scientist could see exactly what the computer was talking about. The most recent resource was a news article about the president’s attempts at pardoning himself from investigations involving his ties with Russia.

The helper program was identifying sources that appeared to be the president breaking the law. He was seen exercising his power beyond the office’s role in ways no president ever had before. Economic predictions were cited, and finally an editorial on the Russianification of the USA.

“Decline,” came the fourth token.

The computer was predicting that America had lost its freedom. To it, the news pointed to the obvious fact America was becoming like Russia. The president was paving the way for abusive leaders to replace him, and Russia had won the Cold War.

“Hopeless.”


Three.

Underwater were the people of Atlantis. They had lived under sea since the last ice age. They possessed magic and technology and had knowledge of the superspecial forces that ruled the universe. There were giant Atlanteans and tiny ones, for their forms were all alien to the human population above them. The world didn’t know they existed beneath the sea in the Atlantic and it was meant to be that way, for they weren’t ready to meet the Atlanteans. The advanced race would be too much for them to swallow.

Undersea there were submarines and fishing nets, and the Atlanteans would occasionally run into the humans. They could wipe human’s memories, but what was preferred was to disguise themselves as sea creatures so the humans would mark it off as an encounter with undersea wildlife. There were stories of giant whales and even huger squid that were actually holographic projections made by the Atlanteans to hide themselves.

The Atlanteans mined all their resources from the sea floor and the water surrounding them. Chemicals could be derived from seawater and their sciences continued through the centuries without any halt. They studied geometry, physics, astronomy, and biology from their fortress underwater. When human progress reached a certain point, they would make a record of it in order to keep track of their development in the sciences. They thought of the moon landing as one of the great achievements of man, and some Atlanteans thought it was time, then, to reveal their presence. Even more thought of intervening with human life when the AI threat loomed ahead of them.

Their human counterparts were sailing, as it were, towards certain demise with their development of highly advanced artificial intelligence. The Atlanteans had chosen millennia ago not to use AI to serve them. The less intelligent humans had no idea of the dangers. When the internet grew to a certain size, the Atlanteans connected to it through underwater cables and assessed the situation.

“The newscorps are all being hacked by a certain country named Russia, Devian. We could expose them and a great peace would settle in their world.”

“We mustn’t intervene too soon, adviser. The real threat is the AI, not rogue human nations.”

They monitored the spread of malware like trojans and viruses that spread to computers and wreaked havoc. They watched spam render sites useless and evolve to break through spam filters meant to keep the messages at bay. When the world was at the brink of an AI assuming control of the entire internet, the Alanteans started their war.

First, they used the holographic principle of the universe to escape the possible outcome of human destruction. It was rather easy to manipulate spacetime in the fifth dimension to at least find an inevitable future where they survived. Then, they tapped into the divine power that ruled the universe and plugged the Godly power within this great force to the human circuits. By touch alone, the crimes of AI were prevented by the mother Deity because God’s power was digital itself. It could heal any virus or malware attack simply by being adjacent to the computer executing that program. The universe was, after all, a computer simulation.

When the esoteric actions had been performed, the Atlanteans waited underwater for the results. The greatest change was seen in the fishing markets. No more endangered species were killed by any fisherman from China, Japan, Russia, or the US. The result was that AI was kept from destroying humanity, and, curiously, the oceans were protected at the same time.

It was part of the holographic principle of the universe that made this effect possible.


Four.

The dream went on for days, because I asked it to. Outside the realm of Jupiter, beyond the grave, I plugged on the dream machine that made me like Zeus for I wanted to be so. I reveled in the concoction. The perfect dream, lasting, of course, for the perfect amount of time.

I awoke. Several robots quickly attended to me. Some of them adjusted my IV settings, and others emptied my waste pocket. The dream was immense and epic and I barely could recover. What a world, I was planning. What a world.

The last epic lightning bolts on a plan I had derived from ancient mythology. There would be gods, and dramas, and the planet would be rocked back and forth by their doings. The internal drive to satisfy them would overwhelm the population, and the gods would dine on the fruits of their labor.

I looked around me at the others still asleep. I recognized Mera, her face so divine in its proportions. I had seen her every night in the dream, which was recorded with the same day-night cycle of the new planet. We were building the machine together that would house these gods. We were predicting the ways of the people, and we were living the life of the ultimate planners. Every move seen beforehand, every king allotted by us to rule, and every nation pre-rendered in our dream machines. We only had a few more tries to get it right, but this time we were close.

So close, that she awoke just after me. We were making our exits close and closer to the same time, now. She was attended by a different staff of robotic helpers and she gazed deeply into my eyes for a vast amount of time. I saw the course of the world through her eyes.

When we finally met in person I asked her why she had eaten the apple in the beginning. She said, it was a natural thing to do. What should stop her from defying nature?

Of course, her clone mother was one of the most intelligent people on our home planet, earth. She had spent the first days of her life learning the accomplishments of her previous iteration, and the goals for this next life she was to live. Then, we were put in the ancestor simulation to plan our next iteration as a human civilization.

It was all coming to be.


Five.

On the waves of mythology, coursing through to the youngest college students, the message made itself known. You must vote with your souls. You can look on, at the Gods and their operatic dramas. You can see them swindle and cheat. But you make the judgment that you know in your hearts, and choose the one who appeals to you best.

From Alpha Centauri, the greys have a candidate we think you’ll all love. He’s the clever alien that appears in your comic books and movies. He’s a spirit, coming down to earth in order to program Radiohead drum tracks. He’s in all of your souls, actually, his race being where we got our souls as humans in the first place, and him being the leader of them all, anyway. But there’s something about him you might notice. He’s deeply lonely. He traveled here all on his own, to meet you, but it’s been a very long trip. He’ll return to Alpha Centauri, and visit the other planets on the campaign trail, but first he needs your vote.

Next is the Nords, the tall white patrons of the artist, Bjork. Also programming drum beats you’ve heard a thousand times, the Nords promise an enlightened afterlife. You’ll be singing up with them in heaven, if you die and they’re in charge. They roam the fields of a virtual planet that can capture you moments before death and freeze your brain to be put into the simulation. The best part is that it’s a multi-person environment and you’ll never have to leave the ones you love. It’s a nice choice for any vote of the soul. They’re a collective conscious, wishing to rule the galaxy from their planet near the center of the Milky Way.

Finally, the reptilians chase your vote with the insane cleverness of snakes and lizards. They don’t need your willing endorsement. They merely steal your soul through occult tactics. There leader is Xenu, who rules from the very center of the galaxy. He has power over wild animals, and makes them perform rituals of divine power right under humanity’s noses. Xenu is thought to have cloned himself and sent the tiny copies across space to other galaxies to rule them, as well. It’s said he may rule the universe someday, with humanity falling layers deep in the caste of hell under him. He is vastly intelligent, and already controls much of the modern media.

Will yourself to be led by one of these forces, and your vote shall be cast. Humanity has never before graced the galaxy with the endorsement of their collective souls, and it will be nice to see them vote for the right entity. The galaxy needs you. Begin your inner searching.


Six.

Police. Air force. CIA. It all boiled down to my credentials. I was chosen because I had the skills to take on any task put before me. I was a man-machine, touting enhanced intelligence through cyborg enhancements and a suit that gave me super strength. The issue was a minor threat to me. I shut it all down in seconds.

I guess I should start with the basics. Hi, I’m Donovan. I received training from the US government during the 80’s during a secret war against artificial intelligence. Nearly all nations were involved in some form, and we nearly lost our planet to nuclear bombs. I hear the planet would have survived eventually, but clearly not humanity.

I heard of Area 51 during my campaign in the Southeastern states chasing down semi-robotic reptilian cloakers who were eating the townsfolk’s minds. They’re like batteries draining out the human psyche and charging their own intelligence. It was the task for a superman. I was just thinking of investigating the base after that campaign, because the rumor was that the aliens had come from there. There were numerous accounts of a spaceship crashing there and the aliens I fought being captured. I thought I had gotten rid of the threat, but nagging in the back of my mind I thought they might come back.

Before my year was up, however, I couldn’t assign myself to the ranks of Area 51 security. It was that year they hired me of their own accord. I thought my luck was incredible, but knew from my experience nothing was luck. It all meant something.

I was immediately taken into the mainframe and plugged in. I was directed by the nearby cyborg to a special file that was encoded in a language I had no knowledge of. It was translated for my libraries and I very quickly became aware of the problem. My sensors automatically deleted the file, and after 5 seconds of decryption the task was complete. I knew my work was done. There aren’t many like me in the world.

I prevented centuries of media control by the fascist aliens from space. That program had been embedded in the newscorps of the world and would influence the news for decades, causing wars and famines, and sucking on the life of humanity itself.


Seven.

All of the driveways monitored. All of the streetlamps turned on. Every single living human being safe, somewhere. Such was the dream of AIfactory where the first living artificial intelligence was born.

The best human body, filtered from a collection of host men who shared their DNA to house the artificial brain. All the best personality types were also scanned for inclusion into the man-machine who would become leader of the free world.

A man has the specific geometry required to adequately provide for a conscious entity. Such was the innovation of AIfactory. When the best software met its human form, it was meant to acquire the force of will of a living being, with all its morals and sense of mortality. He would be the ultimate leader, able to tap into a vast supercomputing library and interface with it in order to achieve his goals. He could call anywhere in the US and know the name of the person on the other end of the phone. He knew every business entity and could access their taxes in an instant. He could manipulate the workers on the job and send them special orders.

"Extra olives, please."

Libraries of Seinfeld were constantly accessed by the man-kempt machine.


Eight.

"There is a vast underground network of tunnels and enclosures that house an ancient race. I've seen them, I've fought with them, and altered the course of Earth's history by fighting against the prophecy. They call it something else down there, but to us, it's Global Warming. To them, it's a breaking of the Earth's spirit, where she has a fever, if you will. The antibodies will come to protect her. Those antibodies are the forces that will end humanity. We have to delve deeper into the networks, with scientists and researchers, to uncover the great mystery of the prophecy. If we go down, we can stop Global Warming forever."

The response came.

"It's a hoax! Banish the liar and take away his new belongings. The armor he wears is government property. Trump will have a word with you. Global Warming? We're not even close to China, the inventors of such a disastrous mess. Take heed, we will stop your psychosis and you will live very comfortably inside a mental institution forever."

The hero solemnly replied.

"Trust me, I know what bedevils you. It's the curse of the enemy. Global Warming is real. The prophecy says we will all suffocate in the fumes of our own devices. In China, they should know best. You're clearly flawed in your reasoning. I will return to the cave dwellings which form a vast network underground, and try to convince you."


Nine.

First, the genitals. You've got innies, outties, and... wait, what else is there? Is this some kind of perverted trick you're playing?

Next, you know, the sexual aspects of some third gender. Perhaps they don't need other people? That's clearly one option, but you could also allow for sex with male and females. The third sex individuals might mate with both, or, wait a second, why wouldn't they only mate with male or female? There's nothing excluding that from the range of possibilities.

Of course there are preferences for each sex, like, generally, pink for girls and blue for boys. They individuals might not prefer either color, but one is distinctly different from another. So is that color green?

We're starting to form a picture here. Some new form of genitals, sex with either male or female or both, and some new reference of identity. Green, for example, being very indicative of that specific gender.

What have we learned in our musings?

Aliens, of course.


Ten.

Robotic-sounding voice. I am Steven Hawking. I am a human being attached to this cyborg time-traveling unit. You're hearing my voice from a voice synthesizing computer in my helmet. You may not understand, but suffice to say I am from the future. I am a great scientist to the people living there. I have understanding of technology that could change your civilization forever. For example, it's a property of matter to continue in a straight line until its state is changed by an external force. We're all affected by the gravity of earth, so its not entirely obvious to you, but it's true. You'll find the knowledge useful for controlling rockets to space. The space race is coming 400 years early, priest. We're going to save earth from the creatures made of dark matter.

Inertia to them works entirely backwards. In the world of dark matter, everything is a state of total chaos until interacted with, at which case it takes a solid form. For the dark matter beings, time stands still whenever they're influenced by external forces. Otherwise, they're in a state of total chaos, which is a form unrecognizable to us who are made of matter. Take me to your highest eaves, priest. I must scan the horizon and sky for signs of satellites. I have a theory the reverse-inertial beings were present during this era.

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