* * * * * Entropic Forest * * * * *

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Series No. 05



(Author's note: Hey, I know that the writing this month is extremely bad and horrible and lame, I know it sucks, it was a failed attempt at a mistaken goal, so I'll rewrite this part when we make this series into a book or something, so I don't need you to pick on me for THIS particular piece, OKAY??)

With the 21 st century well on its way, there was hardly a soul left who can seriously deny that the machine is capable of intelligence that far exceeds that of human beings. The Massive Hyper Computer Golem XIV has remained silent after that famous final lecture (Lem 1985), but as its various output had gradually been disclosed, the impression of our inferiority became final. All of us have experienced, at one time or another, conversations with minds that are much superior to ourselves. Logics that are obvious to them at a glance would require extreme effort on our side to make any sense, and after a while, we would hale to accept the fact that we are left behind. In the case of Golem, this happened at all fronts, in every field. Its output becomes obscure as it goes. First, we would not be able to understand the connections between the assumption and the conclusion. Next, the assumptions and conclusions themselves would go beyond human understanding. Finally, it would no longer be possible to decipher the output itself. At first, the deciphering itself became a huge global project. But people started to lose interest. Why bother, they argued. We know it's been done. Why repeat it?

At the end of the last century, the civilized world was in a deep apathy, in which people worried that the realm of the thinkable had been exhausted, and all that remains is the realm of things that are fundamentally unthinkable. Golem and the other machines have eloquently disproved this apathy. The limit, therefore, was not of logic or intelligence. It was of human nature.

The old apathy gave way for a new and even deeper despair. The theological debate among the Muslims led to civil war. Serious rejection against machines and computers were inevitable. All over the world, machines were destroyed and networks cut. However, this only backfired. Power distribution grids failed, other lifeline distributions were seriously hampered, famine and riots swept across former Poland and Lao, EC was almost disbanded. All attempts failed, causing only serious destruction. This failure led to further despair. It seemed that the human race was virtually controlled and exploited by machines and other superior unknown intelligence. As pets and domestic animals rely on various human systems for their survival, we human beings seemed to be dependent on something else. Economic system, technology, cities, the whole civilization, they all seem to be controlled by some unknown ungodly forces. Are we humans doomed to be cornered in this ever sprawling cities that no one even seem to understand much less control (as of 2050, over half of the world lived in cities), confined to miserable kludges that has no actual significance? But the only being that might actually be able to answer this, GOLEM XIV, no longer dealt with people.

Out of this despair, new religion upholding Teilhard De Chardin and/or Authur C. Clark's Childhood's End as the holy scripture emerged all over the world. Human beings CAN'T end this way, we MUST deserve a higher status, and we SHOULD soon emerge from this stage, out of this physical confines into a higher being, and would be released from the grips of gravity... Some even tried to push it themselves, calling this scheme "Instrumentality of Mankind" and performing terrorist activities as "Apostles" (although they lasted for only 13 weeks, and the movie was a flop). Regardless of their faith, people were still bound by gravity, trapped in this body, on this planet, cornered in this city.

Apathy, and its flipside, some sense of purposeless freedom spread like a disease. Like pigeons in the park, people would remain useless, die pointlessly, and just be there. Isn't that good enough for us? Why try harder when we already went as far as we can?

The Mechanist movement changed all that. But that's another story. OUR story.

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YAMAGATA Hiroo (hiyori13@mailhost.net)