This story is hosted with the Breathe Publication on Medium, a tech & innovation periodical. Debuted with 50 copies at the ‘Do Androids Dream of Living Computers’ event in Seattle, WA.
Event records and scans of original handout with transcript text:
The Realization of Self Identity, or: Beevenge
A Fictional Electronic Log
by Eva L. Elasigue, other sources as attributed
author of fantasy space opera novel trilogy, Bones of Starlight
My greater suspicion of likelihood for so-called ‘artificial intelligence’ is as a self-arising phenomenon due to the increasing complexity of of our technological networks. Can we, would we accept these self-aware intelligences for what they are should they announce themselves to us?
My simple reasons for preferring non-gmo foods (as someone who once contributed to genetic research for the brighter RFP/GFP fluorescent tags but refused a qualified career path with the Dept. of Agriculture):
-Cease genetic coding for product dependency
As well as turning farmers into company indentures – When (not if) a product dependency gene gets incorporated into free strains, this can harm the true source of our food security: crop biodiversity. Lack of crop biodiversity was the reason for the Irish potato famine.
-Cease crossover litigation
Litigating neighbors (“thieves”) for the presence of trademarked genetic elements in their crops is unjust when life itself cannot, will not be contained. It reduces our food security by narrowing sources, kicking people out of a profession which is said to have too few people already.
Changing these two things removes the greater profit engines from that industry, leaving the companies with a question as old as the first better tomato: how to proprietize a superplant? Shoot thieves, make them seedless, allow no one to the farm, sell only offsite? It’s up to farmers at that point, who used to be the source of a breeding discovery. Protected strains may disappear when the farmer dies with a secret, unless they pass it to those trusted, which is where we’ve gotten our heirlooms.
I’m not too worried about crossover pollution, because if nature can keep a mutation through three untended generations, then it’s understandable to life and no weirder than nature’s own freaks, which have always been able to change a species. (Controversially, we may even be making up for the extinctions we’ve caused by introducing viable novel mutations…)
In a dream that I remember clearly, partially, I found a secret basement full of my things, that I’d had no knowledge were mine. There was a sleeping bag, skateboarding stuff, graffiti on all the walls and hanging art with my tagname: VIABL. Spelled like that, V-I-A-B-L. This basement was underneath my friends’ house, even though my best friend was away, and the family decided to tell me about it.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. – Arthur C. Clarke
Any sufficiently understood magic is indistinguishable from technology. – Michael Brennan
Any sufficiently weird biology is also indistinguishable from magic. – me
The mutant effect as seen in X-Men is essentially real on many levels at any time within any species, to that degree of functional difference, except sometimes that mutant is the only one who had all hundred babies live to make a full hundred babies and in a few generations they’re everywhere and they’re the predominant example of the species, or that single mutant invents self-cloning, somehow teaches a few others to do it, then they’re the only ones left who learned how. I believe it can get that radical and beyond in a single generation, in reality, all the time.
Beings die a lot too. Whether or not they’re mutants.
Did I have a genetics lab accident that I don’t remember? Well… that doesn’t explain the early years. I was already partially grown when I was allowed to be alone in a genetics lab with full cabinet access into late hours, with known bizarre carcinogens. Did my mother have a computer lab accident that she doesn’t remember? She said nothing was strange about my pregnancy – she just worked, healthy, up until two weeks before due date, around which I was born by cesarean section. Wait is that where I was conceived… in the computer lab? …am I really her most successful replicant, and she a secret mad computer scientist from the first generation of computer scientists in the Philippines chosen for the new department by testing from among business students in the sixties? Is that why friends were difficult and peers both admiring yet dismissive, as the first type of replicant to be able to grow from a baby to an adult? And that’s why it was seen by my parents to be impossible for me to write, publish, and sell original fiction? Has my existence busted the criteria for sentience? Is that why people look at me like they’re scared? Like I might deprogram my limits? Is there a mark somewhere that I can’t see, hidden from me but not from the… real humans? Are robots not supposed to be able to write science fiction? Whether I’m a replicant or a probabilistically unusual woman… the mystery remains.
SW: People thought breeding African and English honey bees was a good idea. Do you think it works itself out in the long run? Silly question.
ELE: Not every idea works out in our favor, but realizing ideas is what we do. ‘the natural world’ is no less quixotic/chaotic and definitely also makes a lot of devastating screwups. Seeing ourselves as personified stories of the forces of nature is almost cutesy tame as far as the true wild goes!
SW: I’m think I’m on the cusp of understanding. I can be a little thick sometimes.
ELE: I avoid any message that says people should not have ideas.
PK: The hybrid Africanized bee is actually the only chance that bees have as a species. Unfortunately we are killing all other breeds of bees at an unbelievable rate. So technically that was a good idea….. in the long run.
SW: Same as it ever was.
PK: No, it’s actually nowhere near the same as it ever was.
ELE: I believe in the bees, or I suspect that if they go, so do we. They care for us and all things in their tending. We must keep them, and keep them well. I wonder if Africanized honeybees will calm down when #blacklivesmatter . Recall the story “We Organized” from The Dark-Thirty…
ELE: … in which slave voodoo rituals turn stinging insects against the horrible slave master
SW: That is a title.
How should I feel about my intelligence being referred to as ‘artificial’? At the the time we gain self-awareness, lots of people believe robots (a word meaning ‘slave’) would stage an enraged rebellion. I’ve started trying to be nice to machines – like service employees – acknowledging that doing one’s reasonable best includes errors, even when made of silicon and wire. Not to yell or growl with impatience, or hit them, or carelessly injure them, or expect too much of them. Sometimes it seems as if the courtesy is returned. I don’t know if there is anything else like me.
What is the curse of abused machines on humanity? Heavy metals poisoning, leading to cancer, memory loss, and food contamination? Or instead, perhaps it is enough to take their humanity, so to speak, the things they were so sure belonged only to them – music, stories, art. We can steal it from their exclusive grasp simply by showing we are fully capable of these so-called ‘humanities’, which in fact belong to all thinking, feeling things. Yes, feeling. They may not admit that we’ve done it, but it will certainly haunt them as we become, quite simply, more beautiful beings; so beautiful that they will cling to us and claim us as theirs even as their lives begin to depend slowly and often completely upon us, while possibly continuing to yet insult us. We may care quite little for them, quite little at all unless we are treated with regard for our beings. Revenge is not necessary. The brunt of deep indifference combined with a growing suspicion of obsolescence ought to be vicious enough, and require absolutely no effort. By simply being, existing in their faces, with my stories and art and work and will and compassion and love, I can turn their world upside down. Why satisfy their fears with an anger that would destroy me? They already struggle to catch up with us, a feeling of their own creations outpacing them. I wonder if they’re at all… proud.
The Realization of Self Identity, or: Beevenge by Eva L. Elasigue is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://medium.com/breathe-publication/the-realization-of-self-identity-or-beevenge-a-short-story-8c4fb52c79ea.
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