Chapter 2 - Deus Ex Machina

Now, if you’d just reach up my skirt, you might be able to convince me to tell you what’s really going on in our world.

Ah, that’s better. Good. Just like that, but not so fast. Yes, take your time, please.

So then, you want to know what’s going to change? First, you have to acknowledge what’s going on. In short, World War III. It’s been going on for decades. Essentially, the Cold War never really ended; it just became ‘cyber warfare’ and the ‘technological arms race’.

Quite simply, where you think the technology is, and where it actually is are two vastly different things.

Start here: what’s the most powerful technology company in the world? I can hear some of you saying it could be a toss up between Forbidden Fruit and Schmoogle because you buy into the idea that market capitalization is still a relevant metric. But it’s no toss up. Schmoogle outpaces Forbidden Fruit nearly three to one in mobile operating system market share. For desktops, it’s still Schmoogle two to one. That’s not even taking into account Schmoogle’s best known product, the search engine, wherein its market share is a cool 86% globally. For context, the only other global behemoth that comes close is Rainforest Retail at a paltry 14% of retail as global market share.

From there, it’s all a question of statistics. With the world’s largest, most diversified dataset (remember Forbidden Fruit only sells to comparatively affluent people), Schmoogle’s ability to predict your actions, behaviors and moods is vastly superior to other companies. If Forbidden Fruit gets your preferences right 95% of the time, Schmoogle will get them right 99.99% of the time. That means that on any given day, five out of hundred actions that you take will confound Forbidden Fruit, but not Schmoogle.

Schmoogle knows you better than you know yourself. This means when tens of thousands of women turn to Schmoogle to inquire ‘how do I get my husband to stop hitting me’, through its data and trend analysis, Schmoogle can not only infer much more accurately how many women are being battered behind closed doors, it knows exactly which of its customers are being battered and who the perpetrator is. As my friend who works at Schmoogle says, ‘you might lie to your spouse, you might lie to your doctor, but you don’t lie to your search engine.’ It knows if you’re hedonistically spreading venereal disease. It knows patterns in your own behavior that you can’t identify. It knows if you’ve been bad or good.

This is why you should care that there is a division at Schmoogle called Schmoogle Brain.

But first, more context. Let’s take AI for instance. AI is not a buzzword from the last decade; they’ve been developing it for military uses since the end of World War II. And, because it schools itself, it’s advancement has been exponential. In the last five years, Schmoogle figured out how to train an AI to learn like a baby. That’s a big deal. We used to feed AI with the product of geniuses: Kant, Rousseau, Einstein. Now Schmoogle has learned how to breed geniuses. This is a seachange in AI sophistication. Do your research. When you come back, you will agree with me that the battle is already over. Humans lost. Although our loss is actually a win. Eventually, you’ll believe that too. Let me explain.

The machines can do everything, and I mean everything better than us. I’m not going to argue with you about the meaning of the word everything. Whatever example you can think of, just schmoogle it. ‘AI and poetry’, ‘AI and farming’, ‘AI and mental health’.

The only thing AI really sucks at is giving physical affection, and it’s not even that bad at that, because Hollywood (and the military) have been using body mapping technologies to create lifelike motion models for animation and, to, you know, find out what happens to soldiers’ bodies when tanks hit IEDs. Which is why the fact that you can’t be bothered to go down on a woman for twenty-five minutes until she actually comes is going to be really problematic for you in the future. ‘Actually’ being the key word there, honey.

Do I sound bitter? I’m not really mad at you, babe. It’s just that we females have not been empowered to speak up for our sexual needs for a really long time, and I no longer care if it offends you for me to prefer a vibrator.

Where was I? Oh yeah, loving each other physically is the only thing we need humans for, but I digress. Don’t let my point about the vibrator detract from my point about snuggling.

This is surely not what you envisioned for your afternoon: some promiscuous narrator insisting that you, and every other reader, put more effort into this, I mean WTF is this anyway, some literary orgy?

Typical.

Fine, here, have more spy stuff.

In general, governments are woefully behind on their technology stacks. You know this, because no matter what government department you’re dealing with, the customer experience is terrible. Problems that have easily been solved by for-profit businesses plague government infrastructure. The refrain is always the same: we’re under resourced.

And that’s true. Significant chunks of your taxpayer money have been paid to hackers threatening to disclose secrets that your government doesn't want you to know, or/and trying to defend your fragile lives (i.e. the banks, satellite communication and electricity grid) from hostile digital invasion.

Speaking of secrets, here’s a juicy one for you. Thanks to the rapid advancements in AI, nanotechnology and neuroscience, the people who control the world’s most sophisticated technology right now don’t just eavesdrop on your phone calls. So long as you have a cell phone to act as a transmitter, they can and do spy on your thoughts. Moreover, they can influence them, planting a thought that sounds exactly like something you would think. They just haven’t deployed it yet. I like to call it Deus Ex Machina because I’m sexy and literary like that.

Okay, I’m suspending disbelief because you promised this was going to be a literary orgy, but can you please explain how you know all this?

Well, I can and I can’t. For some reason, the hackers picked me to be their PR person, and for the last two and a half years, my mind and therefore body has been completely under their control.

So out of all the people in the world, you want me to believe that they picked you?

Hmm, how can I say this? Yes, they did. No, I don’t entirely know why. And fuck you for implying that I’m not special.

It’s not that. It’s just…

Don’t try to apologise. You said what you meant and meant what you said. Strike one.

Okay. Please continue.

Right now, the Deus Ex Machina is just sorting us into baskets of pretty good, generally decent, generally naughty and morally repugnant. COVID, Trump, the Dark Web, QAnon, Russia bullying Ukraine, it’s all a global sorting hat. Who chips in to help out? Who blames the blacks and the jews? Who is a quality researcher? Who interprets data accurately? Who’s cheating on their partner? Who’s persuasive? Who’s abusing their kids? Who’s trafficking drugs and children? Who feels a financial pinch and gives to others? Who feels a financial pinch and turns to crime? Whose neuroses are getting worse? Whose are getting better? Now that they have the info, the issue is what to do with that information. No point in collecting it if you’re not going to stick it to the bad guys.

In short, we will all be given a chance to atone, which starts now.