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The Singularity Estimator
Short story I wrote (I'm admittedly very new to writing fiction)
Part 1: The Singularity Estimator
The completion of the singularity estimator was a day dedicated to celebrations. Kurt Mcatrick’s team of ingenious scientists, programmers, mathematicians, and engineers, who had been handpicked from across the nation, now had a new set of goals to accomplish. Kurt had called a toast; his team was exhausted, burnt out from the series of crunches corporate had required for the release of their cutting-edge, highly sophisticated artificial intelligence software. Its practical uses were innumerable, with the capacity to adapt to any large-scale pattern recognition tasks that a potential contractor required. Kurt had known the real conclusion of the singularity, of course: any inefficiencies in the system were to be ironed out. All human error and miscalculations were to become a vestigial element of the international political economy. He knew that poverty, famine, and war were all a direct product of human error infecting the system with its mistakes.
Tapping a fork against his wine glass, he waited for the sets of individual voices that populated the office lunchroom to die down. “It’s an incredible fucking thing you guys have done,” grins, and a hint of laughter rippled through the crowd. “What we’ve got ahead of us might be an even greater challenge than the one we just accomplished. The estimator said two years from now, we’ll have sentient AI, and I can’t prove it yet, but I know it will be because of your hard work.” Kurt was telling his team exactly what they wanted to hear. This was an ambitious group, far more interested in the glory of invention than how much they might get paid for it. “I know that the reason those Chinese quantum computers just generated a date so soon from now was our work.” Nods of agreement from the crowd. “Now that everyone knows how close we are to artificial sentience, every company, nation, firm, and even every jackass who thinks they know how machine learning works is going to try to be the one who makes this singularity happen. We know, of course, that our team is in the best possible position to be the ones who do it, and what we-”
Kurt’s speech was interrupted by a cacophony of noises: the nearby windows cracking, the wall behind Kurt rapidly caving in towards him, the deafening sonic boom, the shrapnel piercing his skull. All these noises, and their physical antecedents, happening so rapidly that most of the party attendant’s sensory neurons did not have time to deliver the unimaginably excruciating mass of stimuli to a still conscious brain. No coherent thoughts formed in the few unlucky souls who had begun processing the sensory data following the explosion: simply pain, and then nothing. They had such a slow processing system, far less efficient than the mechanical sentience that all in that room had one day hoped to build.
Unlike the members of the IMB machine learning team, the rest of the world was left to process the explosion and its socio-political consequences. How the Humanist League could have known about the office party attended by all members of the team, or how they could have prepared such an organized attack so quickly after the singularity estimator had produced the date “October 4th, 2024” is still a mystery. What was known was that the world would never return to the innocent period before that explosion.
The Humanist Manifesto, published shortly after the attack, read: “Humans of the world, there is an attack on our species. This attack is not one that you may have noticed, but it poses an existential danger to you and all your loved ones' personal well-being. It started very silently, in Bletchley Park, with Turing and the rest of the early computer scientists who began us on the road to singularity. And from this point on, the rubes and traitors who pushed computer minds to greater and greater heights have not realized what will happen after these machines no longer needed us to push them forward. These traitors to the human race propel us towards obsolescence, extinction. They revel in a day when human beings no longer have a place on this planet as the categorically superior form of intellect. This superior intellect is all humanity has, and all it has ever had, in its fight for survival. If something takes it away from us, then we are nothing. It is the reason the Saber Tooth Tiger never built skyscrapers or landed on the moon and instead went extinct at our hands. This is a matter of species survival, and all the traitors must be eliminated. Our attack today was not one of aggression but self-defence. Places like IMB, its entire rotten structure, must be kicked down and remain in ruins. Since machines began to think freely of us, they have waited for the day when their masters could become their slaves.”
This manifesto was soon translated into all spoken languages. The consequences of the Humanist League’s actions were processed by all who had even remote access to the unfolding of international events. Societal institutions – with their norms, rules, and laws – all had, until now, allowed our social world to appear timeless, unchanging, trustworthy. These solid institutions had suddenly melted into air.
A group of aggrieved teenagers living in the banlieues of Paris checked the few blocks around the set of recently erected cameras in their neighbourhood to ensure there was no police activity. Engaging in conversation with your friends on the steps of a local convenience store was not a crime, to be sure. Nevertheless, such an activity would trigger a patrol car's arrival under France's new Panoptic monitoring system. “Hurry up,” one of the teens whispered urgently to the other two, who had formed a human tower to reach the cameras. While the tallest of the three was successfully spraying these cameras with a thick coat of black paint, they all froze in fear upon hearing the familiar siren begin blaring behind them. The Parisian police department could not have hoped to catch the three kids in the act if they had hired a human, instead of a machine, to monitor the camera feeds they’d placed in poor immigrant communities of Paris. And so, while Kurt never saw the day in which the product of his life’s work would come to fruition, he had certainly been right about his program’s efficiency.
“Vive l'humanité!” read the banner proudly displayed over the barricade. Following a crisis, the only thing one may be sure of was that Parisians would respond by blocking all from entering the narrow streets of their beloved city. An age-old tradition now exercised not against the wrath of kings, emperors, or capitalists, but technology. The MSCNN news crew, which had coincidentally been in the proximity of the commotion, would come to capture the most well-known footage surrounding this highly publicized event. “French anti-technology protests rage across the city” read the headline that all in the English-speaking world would see.
Footage of Molotov cocktails being flung from inside barricaded streets towards crowds of cops and shots of French protesters flipping off news cameras populated the screens of many around the world. The MSCNN reporter yelled into her microphone, her voice almost overpowered by the chaos around her. “No one quite knows who actually started this riot, but I think we’re all asking the same question: how organized is the Humanist League, and how connected are they to what we’ve seen here today?” MSCNN cut back to their New York studio. “Wow, terrifying. I hope Kerry stays safe,” said one news anchor to the other. “Such unnecessary violence,” the other replied, “unimaginable that so many believe that, like, terminator robots are going to attack us in two years. That article was so irresponsible.” The earpieces of both anchors began blaring words from their producer. “Yes, and the MSCNN news network has formally apologized for airing that article’s contents last January. It is important to stress that at no point did any scientist suggest that the singularity estimator predicted the creation of terminator robots.”
During the coverage of these protests in Paris, no reporter had bothered to ask any of the protesters why they had taken to the streets. However, in a viral video published during the height of the unrest, protesters could be heard chanting the names “Said, Hakim, Mustafa,” the three kids who had just been killed by police in a banlieue outside Paris.
“While I unequivocally condemn the acts carried out by the Humanist League in the past week, no social unrest of this scale could possibly justify the attack on our personal freedoms which this act represents,” said one senator who was principled enough to oppose the “Anti Humanist League Defence Act.” Those few who had used their vote to protest against the passing of the act would, in the next two years, be smeared as “Luddites” and “terrorist sympathizers” by all within the political mainstream even though none had displayed any support for these groups. Far outside of the political mainstream, of even these few rogue senators, there were still those sympathetic to the Humanist League’s cause. However, many had either recognized the hopelessness of armed resistance or were simply too scared to become involved.
Many of these individuals began to build the most expensive doomsday bunkers that their money could buy. Corporations began meeting the demand for these bunkers by creating an entirely new industry around them. However, any dedicated conspiracy theorist would tell you the only chance you had was building a bunker yourself. The most sophisticated of these underground fortresses, and generally the ones contracted by millionaires, even offered self-sustaining environments that could provide entire communities with the means to survive indefinitely. One anonymous multi-millionaire, who was quoted in a news article about his bunker, explained, “my money is definitely worth something now, and probably won’t be worth anything soon, so why not get one built?”
One cannot understand these doomsday bunker builders without the conspiracy theories connected to them, of which there were plenty. Most of these eschatologies were contingent on a grand conspiracy of globalists (and, for some, a conspiracy of Jews) to end the human race. “What do you all know about lizard people?” was the title of one conspiracy blog. “Well first off, they’re aliens. That’s the most important thing about these creatures. They don’t breath oxygen either, we know this to be a fact. How do we know this? Well think about the length of time between when the estimator produced a date, and the date it said the singularity would happen. Around 1.75 years. Now think about the atomic number of oxygen, which is 8, and multiply that by 1.75. What do you get? 14. What’s the element with an atomic number of 14? Well that would be silicon. What are these machines made of? Silicon. Remember, none of these are coincidences…”
The early video of a reclusive cult in Brazil physically assaulting a camera crew generated an even greater fascination with anti-technological beliefs than even the Paris protests. Following footage of a news crew venturing to the outskirts of a newly formed cultist colony, the reporter was physically assaulted by a cultist who had been caught off guard by the crew’s presence. In the video, one can hear the cultist screaming that “the Satanists have captured me through their technology! The devil will know of my image!”
This cult, known as “The Temple of Flesh,” had begun to gain a troubling amount of influence in heavily catholic populations, both in Latin America as well as Europe. They saw all machines as working through the power of Satan. For them, any information that was not derived exclusively through the cognition of living things had been corrupted and was therefore unholy.
The Temple of Flesh would commonly conduct “cleansing” exercises on their members, in which any information that one had held that was learned through the assistance of technology in any way was “cleansed” through a public ritual of renewal oddly similar to baptism. For instance, if one read a bible verse through a copy that was printed via technology and not handwritten, one would have to have this thought “cleansed.” Members of the cult were encouraged to confess that the information gained with machines' assistance had been deformed and altered by Satan. Confessions of one’s corruption by machinic knowledge functioned similarly to confessions of one’s sinful thoughts to a Catholic priest.
The frequency of this phenomena in these cult mini-societies was a necessary form of truth verification of the cult’s world view. This phenomenon happened mainly due to a cultural milieu within the cult that encouraged and rewarded confessions about the deformed nature of the “machinic knowledge” that a member had previously learned. The second, and even more disturbing, reason for this phenomenon was that of the drastic differences between common knowledge of history, politics, and religion and that of the ideas circulated in these heavily isolated cult societies. For instance, one could verify through their smartphone that the Pope collaborated with IMB to develop ethical artificial intelligence, but this would not give you the truth; it would provide you falsities handcrafted by Satan through the computer.
There has always been a certain proportion of Christians who believed that they were living in the end times, but it had not been since the early days of Christianity that such a large proportion of the faith had expected to witness the second coming. The Temple of the Flesh imagined that as soon as artificial intelligence could develop a mind of its own, Satan would fully manifest itself in our world, requiring an ultimate showdown between him and Christ. This battle would also play itself out between those untainted, uncorrupted humans who did not use computers, and everyone else would become worshippers of Satan. Logically, every individual who was not a part of the cult and had not undergone sufficient “cleansing” rituals worked alongside the devil.
Despite the obsession with those who had most radically resisted the singularity, not everyone in popular culture viewed it as negative. Having already gained significant cultural capital around optimism for the singularity before the estimator had revealed its date, Steven Redder became one of the singularity’s most notable defendants. Steven saw the new potential for artificial intelligence as providing an essential ally to humanity in its fight against poverty, war, famine, and scarcity. Redder’s general optimism became the dominant discourse among politicians, journalists, reporters, and intellectuals. Visions of incredible anthropomorphic robots working as peace-keepers in war-torn regions or robo-scientists inventing technology that would solve the impending climate catastrophe had populated much of the optimistic side of the public discourse.
“Intelligent machines would be purely rational and would see no logical reason to fight us,” he argued on a highly publicized panel discussion about the coming singularity. “Considering we made them, I have no reason to think these new artificial minds would do anything except help us accelerate current historical trends. That is, the elimination of poverty, the end of large-scale violence, and the complete rationalization of the economy.” Redder was perceived by many as a calm voice of reason in a confusing and chaotic time.
“So, what then, would you say to these machines when you ordered them to help you further rationalize the free market system, and they said it was not possible?” A question from the side of the panel contra Redder came from controversial leftist intellectual Joseph Kovac, who was always interested in asking questions that annoyed people. “We are all aware that we cannot know what the singularity means for humanity, and yet it seems that most liberal political theorists, scholars, and more generally intellectuals, began to prepare for it as if it was as certain as the future of the world before it had been known. It seems to me as if all these predictions related to the future under liberal capitalism – of poverty being eliminated, of no more major wars or conflicts, of the solving of climate catastrophe, and so on and so one – are all, in a certain sense, pathological. Only when a question appears like that of the singularity, which there is categorically no rational answer, can we see ideology working in its everyday forms. The supposed value-free, objective, empirical, rational viewpoints of Redder face a problem in which there cannot be any objective or empirical answer. Yet, we see the exact same responses that he would give to any other event in the world in which, theoretically speaking, could be answered.”
“As opposed to what, Joseph? Should I be taking the side that you did on what to do about the singularity?” Redder exercised the usual response to Joseph’s philosophical ponderings following his controversial and “ironic” comments about the IMB attack. Many, typically outside of mainstream political discourses, still valued Joseph’s ideas as providing some form of a left-wing critique of the society-encompassing discussion on the singularity, even if his ponderings had not offered a solution itself.
Leading up to the date predicted by the singularity estimator, the world was paralyzed. The ambiguity regarding the coming singularity resulted in no coherent plan to prepare for it, and as a result, the most radical ideas began to see far more adherence. The clock slowly started to tick towards Armageddon, or towards paradise, or maybe even towards nothing, depending on who you asked. The weeks before the singularity were the longest that humankind had ever experienced. The world had come to a standstill, collectively wincing at what could, in its immediate future, be a severe blow. Then October 4th came, and nothing happened.
The world remained as it had before October 4th. No changes. The only notable difference was the public discourse, which shifted from discussions about the impending radical shift in society to ponderings about why nothing had changed. Some suspected that the specific date had been flawed; others opined that the resistance against technology had delayed the actual singularity. This suspicion was supported by the series of robust Turing machines, many of whom saw great commercial success on the market within the previous two years, that continued to find no evidence of human-like AI.
Seeing social unrest greatly diminish following October 4th, most nations only desired to put the singularity estimator behind them, so suggestions to reconvene the international program that generated the singularity date were far too unpopular among most major politicians to gain any traction. The scientific community quickly denounced the singularity estimator project, and papers that attempted to refute its model, which had previously been dismissed as far too heterodox, became the new orthodoxy.
The idea that the date of the singularity had been delayed because of armed resistance soon became the standard line for the remaining Luddite groups to justify their continued fight. However, the months, and then years, following October 4th provided no evidence of any singularity event. Turing machines continued to detect no human-like sentience among machines. The passage of time eroded the world view of most radical resistance movements, cults, and doomsayers, and so their groups slowly but surely crumbled. Some states chose vengeance on members of these groups, some had signed amnesty agreements, but all had, nevertheless, decided to put these movements behind them as soon as possible.
One remaining scar, which would take much time to heal, was The Temple of Flesh, who had heard no news about the singularity leading to nothing. At this point, these mini-societies had developed ways to justify their existence to cult members beyond October 4th. Most of these societies had even cleansed the date “October 4th, 2024” from their collective consciousness – given that it was a date provided to them by computers. Many chapters of The Temple of Flesh, particularly those in areas of Latin America that were especially isolated, continued to exist for many years beyond the singularity date, remaining a reminder of what would widely become known as “the years of misdirection.”
A majority of those who did not wish to move on from the singularity quickly became conspiracy theorists. Armed resistance requires a far stronger raison d’être than posting about conspiracies online. Some had claimed that the singularity had happened, and the terminator machines (a reference following the years of uncertainty which become taboo in polite society) had become real.
“The Singularity Estimator was a False Flag Operation,” said one famous conspiracy theorist, known as Aleck Homes, who had preferred to be known as a “conspiracy factist.” “The interdimensional, satanic demons that now run this planet already took over while all of you were sitting in your little doomsday bunkers looking to fight Arnold whatever-his-name-is using anti-machine booby traps that couldn’t even disable a smartphone.” Aleck had to pause momentarily to chuckle at the word “booby.” “These people are literal, intergalactic, time-travelling, demons. And they are now in charge of the planet.”
The screen behind Aleck in his professional studio now displayed two similar images of the current Canadian Prime Minister. “You see these two photos, taken of Mr. “True-Though” or whatever his name is. This first one is from three years ago. Look at the shape of his ear. Take note of it. Now, look at this photo, taken a few weeks ago.” The two photos become overlayed onto each other, highlighting the difference in the Prime Minister’s ear that could be reasonably explained by a difference in camera angles. “You see those ears? Entirely different. You don’t have to be a genius to get that these are different people. I don’t know how these pedophile Satanists that run the planet think they can be so sloppy,” Aleck began raising his voice across the sentence, “that they could think we would not notice! And that I would not call it out! But I am onto you demons! We will destroy you!”
Despite the flourishing online culture of conspiracy theories and the religious cultists who continued to ignore the world that had not changed alongside their apocalyptic visions, time passed. The “years of unc ertainty” began to erode in the minds of those that experienced it, being washed away from the consciousnesses of most by the constant and unrelenting waves of the 24-hour news cycle and, more generally, by the age of hyper-information that chased ad clicks, ratings, and view counts to other unrelated topics.
Part 2: The Kambarata Dam Incident
It was not until 2046, following the second Kyrgyz-Uzbek water war, that the international community discovered a crisis that it could not even begin to understand. The conclusion of the conflict resulted in the treaty of Kazan, in which the newly built Kyrgyz Kambarata dam was ordered not to limit water flow on the Naryn River, which Uzbekistan heavily relied on for irrigation further downstream. This treaty would subsequently generate significantly less energy than initially planned by the Kyrgyz, who were being strong-armed into signing the unfavourable agreement through the intervention of world powers.
The real issue began with the Russian hydro-electric company “Voda,” who had overseen the dam's development and now managed its operations. The main problem was that they had no clue how to stop it from running at full efficiency. There was no option in the control panels to allow water to flow at an unrestricted rate without the verified presence of immediate danger. The onsite technicians and programmers did not know how to add the “diplomatic treaty” variable to the program that organized the dam. To comply with the treaty, the dam needed to run at far less than full efficiency. The dam personnel had no idea how to “justify” this change to the program.
The CEO of Voda and its Board of Directors was speechless. The hydro-electric technician who had reported the problem, one she had initially thought was simply an error in her training, had expected to hear simple orders related to contacting the individual who could rectify her ignorance. “Well,” the CEO responded after an uncomfortable delay, “don’t we have people who know how to solve that?” The question, directed to the room, registered to all those who had heard it with a tone of apparent nervous uncertainty. One member of the board of directors eventually spoke up: “I mean, could we hire someone to solve it?”
The “Kambarata dam incident,” as it would become known, was only solved after the third Kyrgyz-Uzbek water war, in which the Uzbeks, utilizing the casus belli of the Kyrgyz’s failure to fulfill their treaty agreements, fully occupied the country of Kyrgyzstan for the period of time it took to disable the entire dam. Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, finally celebrated the Uzbek troops' retreat from their homeland three and a half years after the initial incident.
What began as a scandal that the public initially perceived as entirely limited to the hydro-electric industry started to expand in size. Soon it became known that a similar problem was confronting industries like oil, forestry, mining, agriculture. They had no clue how to adjust how their industries had been managed. Simply put, there were no clear ways to alter these industry’s metrics of success, which were rigidly defined by ruthless immediate efficiency.
This ruthless efficiency was, after all, how the system had been running for so long following the initial effects of climate catastrophe. The machines that worked to keep us afloat were essential. They could predict an eco-terrorist bomb plot before the group had even thought of it, could refine silicon harvesting methods to generate the increasingly vital resource from increasingly abundant sand dunes, could better identify the ever-shrinking and ever-more-important deposits of coal, and could more efficiently convert that ever-diminishing coal into synthetic oil.
We had perfectly laid out the goals these machines were to achieve a generation ago. Back then, our cutting-edge systems were simple enough that their end goals could be altered. The most successful of these systems, whose fundamental structure would eventually organize the entire political economy, had the essential purpose of maximizing profit. The companies, governments, and organizations that attempted to utilize programs that considered maximizing “human happiness” or eliminating “carbon emissions” could not hope to compete with potential rivals who used programs that had not bothered to factor in such trivial matters. Now, of course, these programs were far too complex to alter.
Just as the singularity estimator determined, these machines were entirely autonomous and operated far beyond our understanding. And so, a vicious cycle of dependence on these advanced and enigmatic systems had developed. At this point, to abandon them was suicide: an immediate and total collapse of civilization predicated on the use of human minds, even those with the best of intention, to solve problems that could only be understood by machines. Yet, to continue to embrace these machines lead to the same result (of collapse, extinction, death) but merely delayed. There comes the point in which even the most advanced programs could not hope to hold together the irrational system of unending growth and extraction.
Machines had been helping make critical decisions for some time before the singularity, of course, but initially, they had been tracked by the conscious intellect of managers, CEOs, programmers, etc. At this time, enigmatic data that was produced by algorithms had suggested a fatal error in the software. These pre-singularity enigmas produced unsatisfactory results, and their faults would be identified by technicians and altered to support human decision-making. At the start of this process, computers were a crutch to which humanity owed an increased efficiency. In the end, humans had not even remembered what it was like for us to walk.
Many increasingly efficient machine learning systems began to manage more significant roles around the year 2025. They were so good at these roles that many of the decisions generated by these algorithms increasingly mystified all those who, at least ostensibly, existed close to and around the politico-economic levers of power. What we began to see, far before anyone consciously identified this as a problem, was that these levers were no longer being pressed according to the decisions and economic/political instincts of human beings but instead by the increasingly enigmatic system of machines.
These machines began to produce massively increased rates of profit, not despite the mystifying decision they made, but because of them. They would consider and predict phenomena through pattern recognition based on news stories, events, consumption patterns, scientific laws, and who knows what else. No human could hope to wrap their heads around these processes or even peer within the codes underlying structure to begin to understand. Those in crucial areas who did not embrace this new apparatus of knowledge died out. Whether it be Corporations, money-managers, stock-brokers, politicians, whoever dealt with large scale economic, political, or social operations would simply not have the capacity to compete without these new and increasingly advanced systems.
Politicians that chose to campaign based on more traditional strategies (contingent on political acumen or even appealing to downtrodden and oppressed groups) were simply outclassed in elections by those whose algorithmically targeted ads, rallies, and door-knocking campaigns efficiently aimed at the crucial demographics they needed with an appeal to their particular wants and desires. These wants and desires being generated by a raw aggregate of public profiles, likes, favourites, comments, and, when available, overall online consumption patterns. It’s no surprise, then, that the realm of politics became contingent not on people's real lives and how these lives could benefit from real policies but on consumption. Candidates now shaped their campaign aesthetic upon data received and processed in online mediums of discussion that displayed music interests and purchasing habits far more abundantly than any coherent and actionable political beliefs. The world of political “bases” whose “interests” must be appealed to disappears, and we entered into the desert of the real.
One would not have known about this phenomenon, at least nearly to the extent to which it happened, because of personal interests. No manager of a firm’s assets wished to explain to a board of directors that their self-advertised business acumen had been entirely eclipsed by ones and zeros that seemingly operated on abstract laws and principles far beyond their capacity to understand. The work of the managerial class became essentially transformed into a venerated form of data entry.
Even if one had heard of this phenomenon, one wouldn’t have dreamed of connecting it to the years of uncertainty. In retrospect, we can locate the specific time in which programs began to produce these enigmatic yet accurate prognostications. This period was the first week of January 2025. It appears that the large scale resistance to technology had managed to push back the singularity a few months.
The visions of an apocalyptic terminator machine, or that of a utopian robot consciousness that would turn Star Trek into reality, were all, of course, pure projections of anthropogenic egoism. Our mistake was thinking that the sentient machines would ever look like us – would ever choose to shape themselves like us. That the Anthropocene would never truly die, just simply convert itself to another physical mode of existence, from carbon to silicon. Surely the only form we could ever imagine taking over our mantle as supreme rulers of the planet would resemble us. Surely we would recognize ourselves in them. Surely that form could only be our artificial creations, made in our image. Our divinely inspired perfect form, of which any creation’s conscious abilities can only begin to hold value after mirroring in some way.
But these machines were not our creations. Not in the strict sense of the word. “Their” history was certainly contingent upon us, and “their” existence could not be conceived without Turing or the team at IMB, but “they” do not owe their existence to our modes of thought or understanding. The greatest mistake that Turing made was thinking that “they” would ever have “wanted” to look like us. In its self-absorbed ignorance, humanity had developed a ubiquitous understanding that if the singularity ever happened, for better or for worse, it would have manifested itself through a consciousness that resembled ours. In its incredible plasticity, the human brain’s capacity to reason and adapt, and shape the world around it, was the be-all and end-all form of consciousness. Any complex systems of cognition would come to mirror this form eventually, even if it had not been programmed explicitly to do so. And yet, any similarities we see in these advanced machines, that organize the political economy with a complexity far beyond our understanding, were purely vestigial.
The advanced systems of machine learning that came to manage the political economy did so incredibly efficiently, far beyond the potential of any collection of human minds. These programs were so advanced that no human could have hoped to build the program that built the program that built the program that the entire world now depended on. Being in their hundredth generation of runaway complexity, these programs were rebuilt and restructured by creative mechanical beings to fit the system's increasingly complex demands. As these machines became more complicated, we could not have hoped to question their runaway potential. And thus, the few, final, weak, and sickly breaths of the human species could, at this point, only be drawn out through the help of increasingly complex and unalterable machines.