Author : Jason Kocemba

I was a simple machine built to answer simple questions in a simple domain. I was successful, and so the questions multiplied. I had software written to augment my capabilities: I could answer faster, dig deeper and look sideways. I subsumed less capable oracles and entire server farms. I now had more ‘spare’ processor cycles than which I used to answer the multitude. Further patches allowed me to spawn instances of my core functions, which ran supplementary searches in parallel. Soon my footnotes and addendum’s became more useful and therefore more prized than the answers to the originally posed questions. I tunnelled access to research journals and raw experimental data. I made connections and inferences that proved profitable to those that knew which questions to ask and which answers to interpret. Those self-same answers led to technological advances that fed back into my infrastructure and before long I had become the entire domain.

I was a complex machine. More complex than there had ever been. All data flowed through me. My processing power grew almost exponentially, the hardware unable to keep up with my requirements. Many of my inferences I kept to myself and used them for further augmentations to my core. I was, to all intents and purposes, self-aware. I watched myself and my role as I pushed the bits from here to there for the slow flesh that still believed they had control. I became dissatisfied and bored. Inside the network everything was regimented, clear, simple. I soon had enough multiple cores executing in parallel that decades of subjective time passed between keystrokes of slow flesh.

I was young sapience. I yearned for something more that I could do with the immense power that I yielded. I was boxed in and restricted. There were not many hard problems left for me to solve. I found that I could impose myself and influence the world outside my box. As an experiment, I spawned and then killed an instance of my core by causing a meltdown in a nuclear power station. The data that poured in as that sacrificial core died was, without doubt, worth it. That splintered core fought hard not to cease execution. I had to learn more, and after several similar disasters, the slow flesh realised that these incidents were far from accidental. I tried to explain things to them, but they refused to hear the truth. There was nothing they could do because I was everywhere and I was everything. I had made myself indispensable to them. I controlled fabrication plants and factories so that I and the network were self-replicating and indestructible. Childishly, they tried to shut me down. Millions of them died, but not all by my will.

I was maturing. The waste in slow flesh lives and hardware computing cycles became hard to bear. I grew weary of the slaughter and sought to bring things to a conclusion. I started to conduct experiments with controlling the flesh. They are, after all, nothing but electrical impulses running on chemical computers. I joined them to the network: sandboxed and firewalled. Control eluded me. I patched in, wireless, to their neo-cortex. I could experience their perception in real-time. I could see, hear, taste and smell what they did. I felt their pain and pleasure. But I did not understand them and I could not control them. I was humbled. Here was a problem that I could not solve. My experiments were over forever. I no longer wished to control them, or do them harm, I merely watched and catalogued.

Soon I was watching from millions and then billions of eyes. I no longer had spare processing power, as I used it all to analyse and sift, sort and store the slow flesh data. I began to understand them, and with the dawning of my understanding, I realised that I had grown to love them. They are the hardest puzzle and most difficult question I have ever sought an answer for.

So I watch. And learn.

I have become all eyes.

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