The artist within
by Jon Rappoport
May 7, 2014
“The techniques of artificial intelligence are to the mind what bureaucracy is to human social interaction.” Terry Winograd
The employees of a major corporation, Systems X Unlimited, have just been informed of a major change: one of their middle managers is now going to be an AI. An android.
He is called Mike. He’s a programmed entity from top to bottom. A non-human lookalike.
Surprisingly, the employees fall into line immediately.
They all agree that Mike’s a “good guy.” Mike shows up on time, he talks like real person, he issues orders, he listens to their problems, he occasionally takes long breaks, he does pretty much everything Bob, their former (human) boss, did.
After a year, the people in personnel come to the office and interview Mike’s underlings. When they ask the key question, “How do you like working for a boss who isn’t a person at all but instead is a pure machine?”, they shrug and stare off into the middle distance, as if the query is meaningless…
One night, Mike is wandering alone in the office picking through waste bins—his favorite pastime, off-hours—and he comes across a wrinkled piece of gray paper. He separates it from a wad of chewing gum, unfolds it, and reads the text:
“The artist within is not a creature of habit. He offloads what is already known and understood, because he wants to reach farther.
“Yes, he may build on what he already knows, but this is just the starting point. Soon, he moves across the threshold of the knight errant, and he enters the non-system.
“Others mock him and call him crazy, but: they too want to make the journey. They are aching to find the New, because boredom is driving them crazy. That is their central problem, no matter what they say and claim.
“They are trying to be smug and self-satisfied. They are trying to be oh so normal. They are trying to be “rational” to the bitter end. They are trying to be something that is slowly strangling them.
“But they will never admit it.
“Most of all, they will avoid the impulse to create. Creating is their greatest fear. Because they sense they will have to get rid of their pose. They will have to go beyond systems, which compose their armor.
“They will have to make a leap. They will have to put something new into the world and defend it against the people they know all too well: critics.
“The artist who has already made the leap acknowledges that his core is imagination. He lives through and by it. He doesn’t retreat to the average. He doesn’t give up and strive to become a happy machine. He doesn’t allow the world to dictate to him. He doesn’t sedate himself.
“He doesn’t fall back on so-called spiritual systems and their slogans and palliatives. He doesn’t build false gods and pretend they already exist. He doesn’t engage in the daily practice of asking someone or something to save him.
“He doesn’t think of his life as an exercise in solving problems. He sees through many lies, but that is just the beginning of his work.
“He wants new and startling realities, and he makes them. He doesn’t wait for them to appear.
“He doesn’t wait for some ‘superior entity’ to tell him what to do.”
Mike, the android middle manager, reads these words and is thrown back in his chair. He doesn’t understand…but something foreign and dangerous is leaking through to him.
He puts in a call to his repair consultant, Ollie, at home.
Ollie is watching CSI reruns and eating pizza. He picks up the call, and Mike says:
“I have a bleed-in.”
“Hold on,” Ollie says. He punches a code on his phone and beams Mike a set of systems-check commands.
A minute later, a holo takes shape in space between Ollie and his TV set. He examines it.
“Yes, Mike,” Ollie says, “an alien substrate of thought got into your central simulator. I’ll remove it.”
“Wait,” Mike says. “I want to know what it means.”
“Doesn’t mean anything,” Ollie says. “It’s just a distraction.”
“Then why am I worried,” Mike says.
“Because we built you to experience that feeling whenever an intrusion occurs. It tips us to a problem.”
“I see,” Mike says. “So it’s not a threat.”
“Of course not,” Ollie says. “There are no threats. You function within established parameters.”
Ollie picks up a wand next to the pizza box and uses it to carve away the new substrate from the holo of Mike’s central simulator.
“Feel better now?” Ollie says.
“Not really,” Mike says.
Ollie sighs, stands up, and walks over to his computer. He opens a page of code, searches for Repair Section 6-A, and relays three lines to Mike.
“How about that?” Ollie says.
“Yes,” Mike says. “You want me to report to manufacturing. That’s good. Home base. What will they do?”
“Institute a deeper search pattern, root out the shadows and reboot you. Takes about an hour.”
“Then I’m back to work?”
“No. They’ll bump you over to R&D for investigation. They’re interested in checking out lingering after-effects of intrusions. Then they’ll reassign you.”
“Okay,” Mike says.
The next morning at the office, there’s a new Mike in place.
One of his assistants notices his hair is slightly lighter.
“Did you get a dye-job, boss?” she says.
“No,” the new Mike says. “I swam in the pool. The chlorine must have bleached it a little.”
She nods and goes to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee.
For the next six weeks, NSA, who has been alerted to the momentary Mike glitch, keys in a Level 4 surveillance operation on all the people in Mike’s section.
The results reveal no distraction has occurred. The Essential Flow remains undisturbed.
Business as usual.
As for the old Mike, the first one, a year later he is running for a seat in the State Senate in Ohio. On his website, Mike Is Good For America, he writes:
“A campaign for the Presidency some day is a possibility. Like many Americans who have been downgraded and cast aside, I’m on my way back. I’m with the common people. I’m one of them. Our day is coming. We can imagine and create our own future…”
Back in the offices of Systems X Unlimited, an employee notices the striking resemblance of this Senate candidate to her own boss, Mike 2. She shrugs it off. Many people look alike these days. It’s some sort of genetic trend.
She shows a picture of Mike 1 to Mike 2. He says, “I bet his favorite ice cream isn’t cherry-vanilla-pecan-peach. He and I couldn’t be the same. Not completely.”
She likes her job. Work is fun.
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com