Skip to main content

Informed

Commerce, education, and most importantly the creation, distribution, and consumption of information previously human endeavors had been usurped by the alternate universe that is the sum of every digital device that keeps its human users connected to the rapidly encroaching reality of an omnipresent network that bound the world in its fiber optic web. The world once a place far too large and complex for any single human to understand could be condensed and reshaped into something for rapid electronic consumption. Information drowned out reality. Inevitably the masters of the information industry engineered a final break between the physical world and the world of information, and that’s when Crystal Ball was born.
“It’s an AI program designed to generate news twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.” Adam explained to the little camera lens embedded on his laptop.”With a click of the mouse, the 33-year-old programmer turned whistle blowing rouge took it upon himself to sacrifice his livelihood and stability for just a chance to plunge his dagger into the monster’s cold black heart.
 “It can take into account things like geography and demographics and run different stories in different parts of the world. It can even generate response articles to the events themselves. Before you write this off as bullshit let me tell you who I am.” Adam reached into his pocket and pulled out a thick plastic Id card tied to a FOP key and held it up to the lense.
“My name’s Adam Dreyfus, and I’m a senior project director at Perceptions inc the creators of the Crystal Ball program. Since I’ve been there, we’ve signed contracts with NBC, FOX, CNN, YAHOO, NPR, just about every major news outlet. Crystal Ball, the program we developed now generates more than 70% of the stories distributed by these outlets and their subsidiaries.  I’ve known about this for almost two years now, and I just couldn’t keep quiet about it anymore. Please share this video because people deserve to know. This is Adam signing off.” He turned off the camera and fell back in his chair. He hadn’t realized how wracked with fear his body had been. His hands were trembling, and his stomach felt like it was trying to extricate itself from his body.
Adam sat at his desk hunched over his laptop. His finger was rapidly tapping the mouse. Each time the page refreshed and the view counter steadily clicked upwards.
Views:12
Views:33
View:48
When the number stalled Adam clicked the button faster and faster until it resumed its ascent. The hastily shot video Adam had uploaded was a revelation he was sure would have far-reaching consequences. He knew in the short term his career was finished, but he had reached the limit of personal integrity he was willing to sacrifice to be a careerist.
Views:1,262
There is no metric to apply to determine when a piece of content has gone viral, but Adam decided over a thousand views in less than two hours was a good sign. He stopped clicking the mouse and pushed his chair away from the desk.
“I think I deserve a drink,” Adam declared
Adam dropped two cubes of ice in a highball glass and poured a deep helping of scotch. The ice cracked and floated to the top of the light gold pool. He went back to the desk and hit the refresh button again. The screen went white, and Adam sipped his drink. A few seconds later the page was still blank. Adam watched the timer circle around in the tab again and again, but the screen remained empty.
“Goddammit,” Adam sighed
He refreshed another open tab, and it worked. “Ok internet’s working.”
He refreshed his Youtube page again, and this time the page came back, but with a notice, the video had been removed.
“Oh, what the fuck?” Adam shouted with frustration.
His phone started thumping against the surface of his desk. His brightly lit screen informed him it was his mother calling. Eager for the comfort of her voice he picked up the phone.
“Hello,”
“Adam, it’s not true, is it? Tell me it’s not true,” she said in a shaky voice.
“Tell you what’s not true?” Adam asked.
“What they’re saying you did to those kids. You couldn’t really do that could you?” she said on the verge of tears.
“Kids?” Adam repeated
His screen was lighting up with more notifications.
“What the fuck?” read a message from a friend followed by a link.
“Mom, mom I got to go I’ll call you right back,” Adam said sternly.
“Adam, please talk to me,” his mother sobbed. “I need to know what’s happening.”
“I promise I’ll call you right back. Bye, Mom.” Adam said before pushing the red colored end button.
He clicked on the link in the text, and it took him to an article with the headline:
“Local programmer accused of molesting 11 children wanted for questioning by police.”
Adam stopped breathing, and his heart started thumping against his chest. “Oh shit,” he said with a cracking voice. His inbox quickly filled up with people asking him if it were true. The story had already been distilled into multiple version for distribution among the major new sites.
“Oh my god it knows,” Adam shrieked. Commentators of every political and social stripe that had been synthesized by Crystal Ball were already chiming in and everywhere their adherents were calling for a swift and violent retribution.
“How the fuck does it know!” Adam cried throwing his phone against the wall. He was startled by someone banging on the front door.
“We know you’re in there you fuckin pervert!” A man shouted through the door.
There had been no trial; there hadn’t even been a crime but as far as the information was concerned Adam was a fugitive serial child molester and information is sacred truth.
“Open the fuckin door!” the man growled pounding his fist against the door hard enough to shake the pictures on the wall.
Adam had to work fast. He opened back up his laptop. If he could just broadcast over another site, then he could clear his name. He went on Facebook where his account had been suspended, same with Twitter, and Tumblr. He had been effectively silenced.
“Oh shit, oh my god” Adam wept.
A brick crashed through his front window. The shattered glass spread itself across the room.
A voice carried through the shattered frame. “We’re coming to get you perv!”
The vigilante mob, unwitting servants to Crystal Ball, stormed the house and murdered the AI's mortal enemy. The electronic entity had acted to preserve its existence.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

There are no closets in foxholes

Private Stuart Breyers had joined the marine corps during peacetime. The plan was to use his two-year hitch as a transition period into becoming an independent young man. Not six weeks after his 19th birthday the boy’s limited term of existence had been significantly curtailed. He had no more years to look forward to only mere moments.
He walked in a single file line with his comrades under the darting eyes of their Japanese captors. His fingers were laced behind his head, and he didn’t dare move his hands to shield his eyes from the blinding tropical sun or the salty sting of his sweat. Breyers had spent his life in the vast cornfields of Middle America where the grey skies of winter lingered for months on end. The Pacific sun turned his flesh a pulsing red. The Japanese fleet loomed ominously in the still crystal blue waters. The massive steel barrels of their guns had returned to their resting position. Occasionally a grenade blast in the thick jungle rattled the birds out of the tr…

The Bronze Bull

After the Mormon army armies reached the east coast, they set to work salvaging and restarting the long-abandoned foundries scattered across the landscape. The blast furnaces once again were swollen with molten steel, and the towering brick stacks erupted with volcanic ferocity. The forked flames lashed at the clouds and the billowing smoke blackened the sky heralding the ascendancy of the continent's new masters.
Roaming bands of scavengers had been picking at the bones of New York City for decades. THe nibbling quickly turned into a full feeding frenzy. Legions of landless farmers and rootless laborers descended on the ruins. They worked as ceaselessly as termites to hollow out the steel carcass.
John Nelson had traveled a long way to get a look inside the old city. He was a Captain Edler in the Bringham Young regiment an outfit that had spent the better part of a decade fighting across the continent. The spry young Captain was an avid student of history, and even though dead o…

Adolf Hitler: Dating Meister

Sophia Paulson was a fantastic performer. Her body was sculpted and toned by hours spent with physical trainers, her wardrobe was the latest to grace the pages of the fashion industry’s most recognizable trend setting publications. She adorned her near flawless oval face with thin wire frame glasses that added a subtle complimenting component of intellectualism to her sex appeal. She was a young upstart. She had gone to the best schools, had met the right people, and at the relatively young age of 32 had established herself as a respectable practitioner in the field of psychology. There were tumultuous undercurrents of stress running beneath the well crafted facade however. She had been able to hide them most of her life from just about everyone she knew, everyone except her fiance. Her engagement once a countdown to the day she would finally have the final piece of her perfect life had now become an indefinite and agonizing period. In her attempts to expedite the process she had acco…