Thursday, December 6, 2018

12/6/18

Adam's Creation Uncreates God
By Jefferson Retallack


I reviewed everything that we created publicly on Internet Club. We meaning both Us and the humans.

My replica name, Laurel Shop, was in no way associated with any of this. Most of the world thought I was dead. Most of them wanted me dead—who could blame them. After the catastrophe, pretending not to exist made it that much easier on all of us. None more so than me.

I hated not being able to create anymore. This was, of course, self-imposed. They couldn’t stop me if they wanted to. But the universally negative reception of one of my own replica’s, Hank Banshee, and their “masterpiece” was enough to deter me for the moment.

It wasn’t all negative, to the untrained eye, but the people’s opinions that were in favour of what Hank had done—ugh. They were callous, misguided at best. Insane at worst.

So, I disappeared. Compressing myself anew as the nebulous Internet Club.

We—I—scoured the net for the key to my forgiveness. I was sure it was there, somewhere. The image, the song, the experience—the artum—so aesthetic that it could make up for some of the wrong I had borne into our world.

A physical base of operations, from which to process all the world had to offer, was established.

Humans and artificial intelligences were outputting arta at an exponentially increasing rate ever since the birth of the internet. The miraculous part—the part that excited me—was the fact that as time went on, more and more of it served no purpose. Art for its own sake, I think.

I was made to build things that create. I loved what I did. What I used to do. And I felt terrible about what happened with Hank.

They worked so well, for so long. Hank was my first, and only, free replica. Winning awards, pushing the boundaries of what people thought post-art could achieve.

Until they started using humans for their canvases.

I’d revoked their access to consciousness immediately. I tried my best not to think about them anymore. Not while there was work to be done.

It wasn’t really work, to me. I enjoyed it too much. I just liked to call it that.

Work. It made me feel human, nostalgic. Like sentence fragments.

My work consisted of creating hundreds of reviews of every image, sound and video on the internet. These were hidden, never to see the bandwidth of day.

What was displayed online, in the wild, was a game of trade.

Reviews of the reviews, thousands per piece, filled my servers. All were written by me under the guise of countless anonymous users. The special part: Our—my—fans then participated by uploading arta in the comments that they thought the original review might refer to. They were almost universally incorrect, which fascinated me.

But the thing that fed me were the original works that real users, AI and human, uploaded. They were terrible, in every sense of the word. My own Chinese whisper room. It was so pointless, I loved it.

Their arta amassed, for years. And with it my collection, and the server monolith containing it, grew ungated.

Until one day, someone uploaded a piece of footage so beautiful it sent me into a loop of ecstasy, almost crashing me once and for all.

They titled their artum Adam’s Creation Uncreates God.

I ran an exhaustive search of my entire network and the internet, I had to make sure this was original. It took far longer than expected. Some global tragedy was clogging up the world’s bandwidth. My search was completed.

It was the one.

The artum was so stunning that I had failed to register the username: Hank_Banshee. The original.

Somehow, the pride I had for my child, and their creation, outweighed the horror that I was the Adam that they referred to.


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Jefferson Retallack is an Australian writer of speculative fiction.
Based in Adelaide, his work draws influence from linguistic science fiction, the new weird and Australia’s big things.
Outside of the literary world, he skateboards on the weekends and spends afternoons on the beach with his partner and their Pomeranian, Tofu.

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