Monday, 14 January 2019

Artifices of Intelligence

” …Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space, 'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!” - The Galaxy Song – John Du Prez / Eric Idle

It’s not the algorithm
that eats out our soul;
it’s not the robot
in whose extensible
arms we take comfort.

It’s not the driverless car,
not the 3-D printer
nor the satellite that knows
exactly where we stand;
none of these have made
our all-too-human feet
stumble on dead-world clay
and mired them in a lifeless
accretion of waste.

Blame the planet’s reaction
but reaction it remains, equal
and opposite to every action
of our misbegotten species.

The fault, dear brutes, is in ourselves;
it is our own stupidity, now and forever,
turned by our smart-alec hands
into this intelligence of switches.

It is sleight of hand, an accelerating blur,
an amplified momentum already flawed
by our incomplete grasp of who we were,
perpetuated by our self-deluding ignorance.

The satellite knows we are lost…

The algorithm regrets…

The robot feels no sorrow…

The cars drive on till the end of time… 

© Brian Hill

Brian has been 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.