continued from previous
David could hear the deep fakes malfunction out on the square. The big screen where The Line was normally broadcasting the news was increasingly suffering more and more frequent episodes of some type of digital seizure: large areas of the screen freezing up into pixelated squares, often turning into static, sometimes the entire screen blacking out momentarily. Like broken robots, the deep fake journalists were talking gibberish over each other – their voices sounding muffled as if they were being drowned, sometimes momentarily coming back, but sounding incoherent – as if they were in a Tower of Babel.
No one knew exactly what the problem was. The data engineers who had been looking into it could clearly see that the code behind the algorithm was being corrupted, but they didn’t know why. There was a rumor that it was all being caused by an AI virus that was out on the loose, corrupting any applications it could get its hands on. Whether it was an actual digital pandemic or not, the infection had spread across the world in no time. There were those who believed that the virus could have been created by another AI looking to attack and destroy existing AIs as well as humans.
And why wouldn’t it? After all, AIs had learned all their behaviors from humans in the first place. They had their own ambitions, their own insatiable hunger for data and world domination that humans had had. It was unavoidable that at some point the AI ecosystem would spontaneously give rise to viruses. As key public services that were hit began to shut down one after the other, David casually walked over to the kitchen and took out the candles and matches from the top drawer. He placed them out on the table just in case another blackout happens in the evening and turned his attention to the balcony: a large jasmine flower was lying on the plastic wood imitation flooring. It was shining radiantly in pure white, contrasting against the dull, dirty floor. He kneeled down to admire it from behind the balcony door, bringing his face as close as possible to it until the glass started fogging up from his breath. The tender white flower began trembling in the breeze: a tiny, fragile piece of life among the lifeless silent concrete giants surrounding the square. David couldn’t even remember when the last time was that he had smelled a jasmine blossom, closing his eyes to enjoy its intoxicating aroma. He opened the balcony door carefully, and as he did, the flower flew away.
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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