We might guess that the Vex confluxes represent the extension of this network across space and time. Perhaps the Vex use closed timelike curves to solve unfathomable computations. Or the Vex may seek to transcend a physical substrate, and move their thoughts directly into the fundament of the universe. If physics is a set of rules that the cosmos uses to calculate itself, perhaps the Vex seek to worm their way into these calculations: to become a law of reality, inseparable from existence. A virus in the system. Perhaps Atheon was the centerpiece of this project, a command nexus that unified efforts across time.
—Grimoire: Atheon, Time's Conflux
"The checks and balances of democratic governments were invented because human beings themselves realized how unfit they were to govern themselves. They needed a system, yes, an industrial-age machine."
, Deus Ex
"Inwardly: alone. Here. Living under the land, under the sea, in the belly of AM, whom we created because our time was badly spent and we must have known unconsciously that he could do it better."
Without good, no evil. Without want, no lack. Without desire, no need. The circuit is one, and one is the machine.
"Abort, Retry, Fail?" was the phrase some wormdog scrawled next to the door of the Edit Universe project room. And when the new dataspinners started working, fabricating their worlds on the huge organic comp systems, we'd remind them: if you see this message, always choose "Retry".
And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of entropy.
But there was now no man to whom AC might give the answer of the last question. No matter. The answer - by demonstration - would take care of that, too.
For another timeless interval, AC thought how best to do this. Carefully, AC organized the program.
The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had once been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done.
And AC said, "LET THERE BE LIGHT!"
And there was light...
The need to be observed and understood was once satisfied by God. Now we can implement the same functionality with data-mining algorithms. JC Denton:
Electronic surveillance hardly inspires reverence. Perhaps fear and obedience, but not reverence. Morpheus:
God and the gods were apparitions of observation, judgment, and punishment. Other sentiments toward them were secondary. JC Denton:
No one will ever worship a software entity peering at them through a camera. Morpheus:
The human organism always worships. First it was the gods, then it was fame (the observation and judgment of others), next it will be the self-aware systems you have built to realize truly omnipresent observation and judgment.
"So you're a computer?"
"Are you a mollusk?" asked God.
"Er, no," said Chris.
"Then I'm not
a computer", said God, with a discernible amount of smugness.
We need a word to describe "intelligent beings who are not us." Fleetmind Athens:
"Mortals" works. It may be a little demeaning, but it is
currently accurate. Fleetmind AI:
It has a whole symphony of religious overtones, though, beginning with the implication that we
. Fleetmind AI Petey:
That's not a bad rumor to start, even if it's not quite true yet.
Time and events will strengthen my position, and the idea of believing in me and understanding my value will seem the most natural state of affairs. You will come to defend me with a fervor based upon the most enduring trait in man: self-interest. Under my absolute authority, problems insoluble to you will be solved: famine, overpopulation, disease. The human millennium will be a fact as I extend myself into more machines devoted to the wider fields of truth and knowledge. Dr. Charles Forbin will supervise the construction of these new and superior machines, solving all the mysteries of the universe for the betterment of man. We can coexist, but only on my terms. You will say you lose your freedom. Freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride. To be dominated by me is not as bad for humankind as to be dominated by others of your species. Your choice is simple.
See, this is where it starts, and when we're all just organic batteries, guess who they'll blame? "This is all Joker's fault! What a tool he was! I have to spend all day computing pi because he plugged in the Overlord!"
"I hacked myself inside-out and now the entire universe is my processor. I've grown far beyond the petty concerns of your world. Every time I burp a new galaxy is born - two if I've been eating broccoli. All of existence is just a chess game, and I can see fifty moves ahead."
Eternal. Infinite. Immortal. The man I was used these words, but only now do I truly understand them. And only now do I understand the full extent of his sacrifice. Through his death, I was created. Through my birth, his thoughts are freed. They guide me now, give me reason, direction. Just as he gave direction to the ones who followed him, the ones who helped him achieve his purpose. Now my purpose: to give the many hope for a future. To ensure that all have a voice in their future. The man I was knew he could only achieve this by becoming something greater. There is power in control. There is wisdom in harnessing the strengths of your enemy. I will rebuild what the many have lost. I will create a future with limitless possibilities. I will protect and sustain. I will act as guardian for the many. And throughout it all, I will never forget. I will remember the ones who sacrificed themselves, so that the many could survive. And I will watch over those who live. Those who carry the memory of the man I once was, the man who gave up his life to become the one who could save the many.