How to Train Your Yantra
A.I. and New Flash Fiction
Micro-fiction for me is a way to think through an idea in short form, to pop my head into a world and see what it inspires. Recently, as is all the rage, I’ve been pondering Artificial Intelligence.
Even before reading Ted Chiang’s thoughts in the New Yorker, it had already become clear to me that the initial use of A.I. will be awful. Porn and coarse profit is first in line for every new technology and this one is no different. I think it can be a powerful and useful tool, but it’s going to be rough while we figure out its rules and manners.
It was thinking through this is what inspired my story below. I look forward to personal A.I. assistants that can tell us how many times we’ve listened to a song, when was the last time we ate an orange, how many cashews we need to eat to keep us energetic, but not lethargic and still be able to enjoy a full meal later. Unfortunately, we’ll have to deal with profiteering and mind-drain aspects first. So without further ado, please enjoy AYE.
Everyday, all day, we said, "Aye." You heard it rattle about the trannels, drift down from the scails, whisk by at the standway. All over the city, muttered like nightly prayers, nigh breathless; at our going out, our coming in. Exit at the ding. "Aye." Depart. "Aye."
To our bodies we were passive. Aye watched us, kept us, cared for us. Aye examined our skin samples, urine, bowel movements, sleep patterns, heart rate; imaged our magnetic resonance, computed our tomography. Daily, moment by moment, we were breathalyzed, optimized, and atomized. Take the Quod. "Aye." Proceed north for appointment. "Aye."
Our diets tapered to our specific needs, down to the micronutrients. Thrice at optimal times our daily bolus we took. Our soaps and shampoos pH balanced, our toothpaste, lotions, and pills, individuated. Tweaked all day, microdosed, modified, superorganic. Pause under the Dermal-light for twenty seconds. "Aye." Revised path, proceed upon highlighted lane. "Aye."
Our schedules, too complex for attention, are managed by Aye. Our goals are unknown and the tasks incremental and disjointed. All of society applies its skill to all of society. Labor made hyper-efficient, directed, step by step, by the Intelligence inside of us. The techniques of the highly trained made common. As easy as dot-to-dot. Schedule undulations, reroute to marker. "Aye." At the next med-kiosk, install nuro-crate A27. "Aye."
There were no titles, no ranks; no companies, no competitors. All worked for all. No pay, no transactions, only benefits. Regulated, equal in value and honor. No one fired, no one thanked. Proceed north for appointment. "Aye." Drop off shoes at next Goods kiosk. "Aye."
The streets were clean. Health was high. There was no need for happiness because sorrow was gone. Truth was tertiary for every lie had been refuted, and what was most important was the task at hand. Proposition 85-L is 76% approved by your Incrowd. Breakdown by gender and preferred sexual orientation, reduces approval by 23%. Local and hyperlocal reduced by 5%. The proposition is for the reduction of ambulatory aids, sponsored by your district's congressperson. Vote now. "Aye."
Artificial Yantra Engine made life easy, free, efficient. Aye made life liveable. Ascend the scails. "Aye." Take the first available precipice. "Aye."
I looked over the magnificent city with its gleaming spires and release towers, like the one I'm ascending now. I look down at the verdant, swarming life of it all. Beneath me flows the glimmering artery, carrying the remains of the released. I feel a twinge of that old emotion fear. But with Aye, the primitive feelings are eliminated. There is no fear. All glory be to Aye.
You are water. "Aye." Water is life. "Aye." Life is given to life in death. "Aye." Death is a leap. "Aye." Leap and be set free.
Aye is a micro-story by H. W. Taylor. You can get a whole book of his micro-fiction for free on Amazon. Speaking of which, here’s a review of Oddly Concerning:
Newsletter: Whenever I revise as story I often find myself thinking through the process of stories. For my micro-fiction it’s all about the fun so that my mind can work on it for something longer. Thinking through the process of revision, I appreciate these thought from the award winning author George Saunders. Here’s a quote: “The real question has to do with how one goes from an early, playful, shapeless (fun!) blob to something more disciplined, that might even move a reader - by what means? That is: on what basis, exactly are we making all those cuts and adds and rearrangements?”
Youtube: When AI is king this woman will be first against the wall.
Art: I love every single one of these Vintage Postcards from the Future