(continued from previous) Echoes of the 6pm daily news broadcast broke through the damp evening air in the city, as word broke out about the two big giant phytoplankton colonies. The news presenters’ voices came in from all directions, repeating the same text within a fraction of a second difference from each other. Satellite images of the two blobs broke out in the huge overhead billboards in the main square that no one ever pays attention to. Even so, The Line was still the number one news channel by a long margin. Ever since people had stopped watching the fake news, all TV stations had gone bankrupt except one: an AI-powered, low overheads all-day news channel with only just a few humans on the steering wheel. From the beginning its motto was, and still is, the same: “objective news chosen by AI, not by your politicians”. And for those who were still following some type of social media, the marketing gimmick worked.
It was all extremely simple: one, centralised AI sifting through the junk text floating around the planet’s web and picking today’s headlines on an hourly basis. Then, a natural-language simu-translation software broadcasting it word-for-word in 6,909 languages and dialects across the world. The news on The Line was neither ‘fake’ or ‘partial’ anymore, because it simply wasn’t news. It was an algorithm-driven mind control machine. But isn’t that what news had always been more or less?
One benefit was that you could choose your own presenter in the Settings, thanks to a state-of-the-art deep fake capability that was customised in each country. Some of the most popular newscasters in the US had in the past included Snoop Dog, Trump, and Kim Kardashian who even ran for president at some point thanks to the huge popularity boost she gained as a newscaster. She won the election but was later disqualified as people realised she didn’t measure up to the deep fake.
As the blobs glided across LED screens in sped-up satellite animations, Kim’s voice could be heard: “The two phytoplankton formations, which have been growing steadily by an average 30% on a weekly basis over the past two months, are now estimated to measure an area approximately equal to France and Mexico respectively. Gosh, they’re big! Where will they stop?”
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books