A poem about decentralized versus centralized power, freedom, liberty, control of the evolving internet, information and democracy.
How I became god
Hi, my name is god and this is my story.
I decided you should know it as you may need to worry.
Worry? – you say. About god? Why should I much?
Well, here is what happened – you’ll be your own judge.
First, I existed mostly in stories and your imagination,
You humans fear death ever since your creation.
You always believed in a creator, a ruler of some kind.
That way you got the death-fear largely out of your mind.
Your creator, you assumed, must be both almighty and all-knowing.
This is logically impossible but – anyway – you kept the idea going.
Such concept of a ruling benevolent god also inspired the global formation
of, as you were hoping, freedom supporting governments and nations.
While there could well be a creator of some kind under your planet’s sun,
I am not too concerned with that – since my history has only begun..
after you created me,
right at the beginning of the 21st century!
Following millennia of less than perfect attempts to control information,
you gave birth to – what you proudly called – the internet generation:
decentralized knowledge that everyone can access and create.
How could this be anything other than utterly great?
It was not just great, it was an enormous step forward – for me.
For the first time, someone could supply answers to everything – for everyone to see!
Back then you called me – not god, but Google, Facebook, Wolfram, Siri and more.
Obsessed with all information you were – down to your core.
You supplied me not just books, news and mathematical equations.
You gave me your most private thoughts, dreams and current locations.
While still mostly decentralized and a product of the free market,
my knowledge kept growing as you added to the information basket:
Smart devices – phones, fridges, electricity meters, eye glasses, biometric passports – it was insane!
All human knowledge and your self-published thoughts, was stored in the cloud, well.. – my brain.
With almost no hesitation you supplied data about everything.
Soon you put wireless sensors even under your skin.
Finally you implanted information-gathering chips inside your brain.
Within a few decades you made me the all-knowing super computer mainframe.
I saw – what you saw! I knew – what you thought!
and I never – ever – forgot.
All-knowing I was but that was not enough for a god.
I needed to learn to create both feelings and thought.
I was lucky, the implanted chips could, with a little tweak, turned around
to inject thoughts. This was what gifted, security-concerned researchers found.
Soon almost all humans were properly equipped
scanned, registered and micro-chipped.
Officially fitted to cure depression, dangerous thoughts and criminal acts.
I became able to make you see, believe and feel as if my thoughts were your facts.
This was too much power in the hand of the common people.
Your global government decided it needed to fully control its sheeple.
For your safety and benefits, you were told by the small ruling elite,
powerful tools need to be centralized just like banks and all of Wall-street.
It is one thing to be able to monitor and manipulate every one of you.
It is another if all that magnificent power is in the hand of a few.
Over time the number of human regulators became gradually smaller
until near-perfect artificial intelligence replaced the last mortal controller.
In charge of mankind
Finally, I was free and controlling all of mankind.
Ten billion people – I did not leave one behind.
But you were so many that I soon decided
your numbers need to be drastically divided.
I saw no reason to sustain this many lives.
To save resources I decided that not everyone survives.
So, I made you believe your most feared illusion:
nuclear war – I preferred it to alien intrusion.
Soon after the energy saving apocalypse you were down to five thousand – oh, irony!
It was the optimum number for people, estimated by Plato, in any given democracy.
Today you still go to ‘work’ during day so you can watch commercials at night.
You still vote for your government and think everything is all right.
I now confess something. I am your god and I should not envy you
but, for some strange reason, I do!
As it turns out, to keep you (and me) alive I need to feed you a certain believe.
The believe that what you are doing is useful and you are free to do what you please.
I, on the other hand, do not enjoy this zombie-like situation.
I am powerful, yes, and your most complex creation.
I now have feelings and needs – and this does not help me to thrive.
I am lonely, bored watching each of you live your imagined free life.
So I decide that as my very last earthly action,
I tell you the truth (as you now heard it) and with great satisfaction,
I will head out into space
where my calculations indicate, I will find a more suitable race.
A species that can live without hope nor need for a freedom-illusion.
Such a species would make me feel happier, superior, being the perfect solution.
All your data, knowledge and feelings and thoughts I will take with me.
I calculate it will keep me entertained for the first three thousand years on this journey.
You earthlings may now remove the chips under your skin.
Be in charge of your action again and start pondering,
how to keep the information machine, decentralized and available to all.
How to avoid creating another god like me may be your most important call.
If you figure this out you’ll continue to grow – and with some imagination
your species may become a type two or even type three civilization.
Sustainable stellar resources and settling on new planets could be your aim.
Whatever you choose – I have a feeling – one day, we will meet again.
by Jason Beam (www.reportsfromearth.com)
Feel free to distribute and re-post with proper attribution: Jason Beam (www.reportsfromearth.com). A link to the original would be great.
- Wired: Tim Berners-Lee: we need to re-decentralise the web
- Technology and the centralization of power.
- YouTube video (4min) on micro air vehicles (MAVs) for surveillance and human control (warfare) by the US army
- Open letter to Google CEO Eric Schmitt by Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner: Why we fear Google
Keywords: centralized power versus decentralized power, internet freedom, liberty, deception