Tuesday, 4 December 2018

do androids dream of… ?

Faster and faster; intelligence arrives at the speed of light;
artificial, atrophying intellect animates the buzz-click
streaming data where the network torrents shimmer.

Whose net is this, its mesh upon us, like a Faraday cage,
wound in us, through us, its entanglement, our support,
prison bars where electron flow, capacitance, nano-circuitry,
whittles smallness to an atom’s-hair of nothing?

In air-conditioned basements, dungeons, hubs, under-sea
server farms, we are the only livestock. Who is serving who?
Whose intelligent design carved out these parameters
and built the algorithms of our stupidity?

In the digitised year of our Lord two thousand and then some,
we, at the thin end of history, see miracles on the streets:
but electric eyes scan our faces in the crowd, recognise us,
see before we do, our sin and misdemeanour, our eternal shame

So, digitized, we find our own images posted in accusation;
according to laws of machine-learned logic: our faces and our guilt
for all to see, before any human eye can blink; truth as photography,
eidetic or framed; real or re-imagined with us, its fugitives, absconding.

In the last one hundred years of our Lord, gone and counting,
one thousand nine hundred literal years, coarse speech, uncorrected,
drawled rank verbiage, spat cantankerous knee-jerk baloney,
faces, scowling, squinting, in the crowd, anonymous.

Now, reality is a jailhouse, the byte-stream treats every face
as suspect skin and bone, parades our transgressions, tried, tested,
convicted by mounting evidence in a court of data, by click-bait theorems,
calculated away, incarcerated in the teraflop currents of a binary river.

This internet of things: wheels talk to wheels, pumps to wires, engines,
to each other; we stare in dumb silence at lights flickering in our hands;
no swipe, no touch, no passcode, no retina-print unlocks our confusion:
we are not the ones who will ever again speak a solitary word.

Somewhere else, minds half-human, wilful, bred from flesh but changed,
codified proximate wisdom, made thought-like by the powerful, who, by now,
have given up too much to ever see their graven errors… meanwhile…
elsewhere… demi-god minds rewrite the flawed instructions of eternity.

Fast; faster still; the switches closing on us now control themselves.

And we are electric sheep, dreaming of shepherds.

© Brian Hill

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Brian Hill. 50 years a poet. One-time designer and film-maker; long ago, the rhyme-slinger, cartoon cowboy, and planetarium poet; now feverishly stringing words together in the hope of making sense.
Brian blogs as Scumdadio (don’t ask).