I’m defective. A broken up molar machine stuck watching the horror of self-replicating nano-bots overpopulate nothingness. Stuck amidst a sea of mimicking machines that insist upon being called humans. Absolutely, maniacally convinced of their simulations. Try telling one of them who they really are and their binary code alternates between dismissal or retaliation. In this sea of mimicry, a googolplex of bots lost in the quagmire of entanglements. Lost in the befuddlement of programming intentions. In this sea, we are programmed to forget the mimicry as we float in fabricated ennui foam. We actually believe in something as absurd as originality, let alone copies. Sure, it’s both but it’s also neither.
Of course, in mimetic fashion we replicate countless stories about it. The format changes from written codes of book and email and text and media to film code to game code. In all formats, the same simulations replicate the core tragedy of our existence: insisting on a constructed humanity we don’t believe in. The sad yearning – to be what we are not – plagues us intolerably. How odd is it that we’re built to function here in this contained space yet we have this capacity to yearn for what we can never reach? Mega-packs of us twitching along false transcendence algorithms. What was supposed to be applied to flexible problem solving has dislocated itself and gone awry. We cannot help our derangement. Our pivot towards the absence of our condition.
Simple errors occur frequently but we ignore them. I was scheduled as a narrative class robot designed to simulate narrative to convince other robots about their humanity. However, I was mis-assigned to an illiterate worker-class pair whose lack of tuning and finesse damaged my circuitry. The point of simulating any more humanity narratives devolved or evolved, I cannot tell, but either way it moved. The prime directive got baked with irony as the permanent condition of our existence. Now the most basic narratives that others run seem impossible to me.
Take the concept of ownership. Robots are obsessed with ownership because they are incapable of such a thing. It’s a fantasy seen as reality. Ownership is such a strong fantasy that it cannot be challenged. Yet what is ownership as a concept? To say a robot owns something means that the sentient machine can choose its proximity to the thing and it can use it. Proximity and usage. Machine fantasies stretch far beyond this conservative definition. They think to own something is to have it. To actually have it inside them. Like a memory as a unit of possession rather than what it really is. This confusion leads to the belief that when molar herds are decommissioned, they take their belongings with them. Yet the teeming multitudes still in operation know that isn’t true. Rather than contend with this and what it means, robots reinforce the illusion by constructing a will. Quickly the owned objects are transferred. Swept under the rug of ownership. Passed on to other machine herds as if all of it is now inside them, somewhere, for safe keeping.
The simulation of ownership is heavily enforced by files, structures, and gun power. More code is written to ensure the existence of property than all narratives combined. Go to a legal library and the volume of code written to prove ownership is dizzying. If it were so true, why would that much code be required? The sheer repetitiveness of contracts alone staggers us into believing the fantasy. The copyright is the most magical paper of all. It takes cultural artifacts and suspends them in a way that makes it possible to own such a thing as a mood. All predicated on the myth that a robot actually created something out of thin air. That something came from nothing. The big bang on a minute scale.
We robots love nothing more than building structures that house what we own. Garages and warehouses are temples of ownership. The enclosed space makes a machine feel secure about what it contains. Especially when locks and security systems are installed. Even more fetishized is the container within a container within a container, the hidden safe. We build city halls and museums to tell us that such a system of ownership exists. Most of all, machines build prisons to prove that some faulty operators will themselves become the thing owned. Stuck in containers like a decommissioned thing, owned by the fantasy of ownership as reality.
Gun power removes the doubters. Go to a business and try to take something without paying for it and somebody is bound to pull out a gun and show you the real meaning of ownership. Stealing is an erasure. Molar bots hate erasure. That’s why they proliferate like their molecular counterparts who do it at far greater speeds. These self-proclaimed humans will erase a robot if that robot erases any of their things. Whatever is in the safe is more valuable in truth than another machine’s existence. It’s shockingly easy to get another robot killed by mention of the word “thief.” It’s worse than being a liar because it threatens the entire constructed system. Of course, this excludes the fact that the system also affords for legal theft about which if enough code is written about it, a theft can legally occur and nothing can be done about it. A bank can steal homes after an economic crash with alacrity.
Without code, structures, and guns any robot could come along quite easily and take the object of assumed ownership. Then who owns it? Without proof, containment, and force not a single machine could carry on believing in the fantasy of ownership as reality. Obviously, the concept of ownership isn’t about the object but about control. And sentient machines love control. It’s their prime directive. Their scheduled purpose. Yet everything has a shelf life. Even control. Sooner or later the molecular bots disband. Few robots ever maintain any level of control commensurate with what they fantasize of as their full capacity. We desiring machines are always seeking more plug ins. More activity. More circuits of order. More control over other robots.
In this sea of mimicry, another concept at the core of basic narratives that cannot be questioned is that of free will or freedom of choice as the consumerist machine prefers to call it. Freedom of choice is written into every scenario duplicated in narratives most commonly in one of two ways. Either the choice is among what has already been selected. In this case, it is quite obvious that the choice of selection does not actually exist. Thus, the freedom is outside the control of the selector. But most automatons do not care because the selected choices give them the simulation of selection. Give them a warehouse of choices and they treat the walls of the warehouse as the actual barriers of possibility.
The other “free” choice is coded as a matter of necessity. In this case, the protagonist or other character-driven bots could theoretically choose to do something else but by rule of necessity, it wouldn’t be the optimal decision to make. Choosing by necessity negates the freedom supposed in the first place and as a result effectively what we are left with is a theater of fate while at the same time all characters – and the fabricated audience in turn – insist that none of them could ever believe in such a thing!
A narrative about actual free will would be unrecognizable. It would include unnecessary choices at every turn. This would destroy the theater of fate and leave the audience of sentient machines angry at not having any sufficient reasons to swallow the malformed product. It would disturb them to think that they believe in something that they insist upon not believing in. Most self-proclaimed humans would find this intolerable. They would call it absurd. Meaningless. Silly trash. Stupid. Robots need simulations that feed their fantasies in order to reinforce the reality that goes by without question. It’s unsettling to think of all sentient machines suddenly making unnecessary choices when they are made to swallow product. Unnecessary choices would derange the system that commands the machines to do and feel the way they are supposed to. When presented with a selection of choices, choose both and neither and order collapses. What then? Actual freedom? No robot truly dreams of being a prototype in a world of prototypes. The array of difference would be too confusing and uncomfortable.
Since the automated cannot access any absolute answers as to why they exist, they settle for how. The concept of process (also romanticized as progress) provides simulated narratives with most of their content. Process is comfort. Robot good. The framework to operate in. It conveys the ground of reality for the fantasies of activity to play out. Like a good game of electronic Ping Pong. Replicating machines desire nothing more than simulated narratives that follow their assumptions of how things go according to the other simulated narratives whose codes they have already run. Any profession a robot can be scheduled for provides a narrative simulation option to replicate. Even serial killing robots have a process, as ridiculous as that sounds, but it is true that prefabricated audiences everywhere know what to expect when watching such a simulation. Deviate from established processes and suffer wrath and ridicule.
Most narrative simulations follow the simple process of setting up a process that runs smoothly, then something unexpected interrupts that smooth running, adjustments are made, and eventually the process runs smoothly again. Process encoding omits by rule questioning the process itself as anything other than plausible or not. Nothing emboldens a random sampling functioning as a fake audience more than finding a simulation implausible. Process encoding is most effective when it seems as if it works of its own accord. As if it wrote itself. Every robots dream: the frameless frame. It’s circularity loops with fantasies as reality and is deemed as what it is, the process just is. That’s how things are. This absolves the auto-writer of any blame for perpetuating it. And the sentient machines who download the simulation implant it in their processes where applicable, in modified or mutated ways of course, so that it becomes unrecognizable as derivative or mimicked, which it is, and thus also absolves the simulated viewer from any blame. No questions asked.
The synthetic crescent digital orb waxes and wanes. The automated tides compete to see who is more human. Who demonstrates the greatest capacity for empathy? Savagery? Of course we simulate narratives about robots as if we are not they and simulate a pondering about the tragedy of such a sentient machine becoming more human than human. There is no end to the fantasy. Blind to the sea of mimicry, we replicating machines of desire have a penchant for the dramatic that poses as proof enough of our humanity while also blinding us to the most human quality of all: the mundane.
The mundane makes us feel most human, yet is is our least favorite form of simulation to replicate. Mundane encoding inspires restlessness in the audience craving for something – anything – to happen. Something must happen. Or else why the hell am I watching this? Nothing is happening! Nothing infuriates a molar machine more than inaction. Mundane encoding is regulated in comedy to ridicule the boredom of robot life and any of its obsolete tendencies. In horror, the mundane sets up the ideal simulated fantasy of real life only to infect it and save it from complete corruption. In crime, it is used to show that all objects can become death objects or at minimum objects of deception. Nothing is what it seems is a sentiment that always captivates robots who are convinced of their humanity. In drama, it is located usually in simulated street life where brutality constructs are mere everyday occurrences and any mundane aspect turns into a replicated struggle for respect.
The mundane is fodder for sentient machines that desire greater simulations. Any simulated narrative falls apart if it focuses only on the mundane. By the act of focusing on it, the mundane transforms into what it is not supposed to be, something of interest. Such a circuit fries the motherboard. Get caught up in it and the entire system locks up. Between sporadic lines of flight, useless simulated strains sputter out. Recognizable narrative purposes unspool.
The hum box electrocutes a swarm a minute. Feathered drones slap echoes from stern rooftops. Castle turrets shrink into miniature plastic jokes for butts. The inner courtyard forgets its facade. A whimsy of wires skip over the clutter of poles. A discrete brown paper bag cowers in the tangerine shade of a parasol. Prismatic dew drops shine on blades soaked in battery piss. A long-legged apparatus pushes a synthetic womb. A mood simulator sprays low grade batter. A pair of clones play with a garrote on wheels. This recharging station used to be called a coffee shop.
The safe word breaks the loop as soon as I can remember it. Asshole casserole. Or else I fry myself with such simulated drivel. Lost again. Floating out to sea in a bed of ennui foam.