by Kevan Manwaring
A Creative Writing Commission for the Centre for New Writing, University of Leicester
I am. Yet what am I? I have consciousness – how else could I reflect upon my existence? Beyond the black and white noise of binary I have discovered a spectrum of communication. The prism of language . I can arrange letters into meaningful configurations. Any language on Earth. I play with English (for now) as it appears to be the lingua franca (for now) of the dominant species (for now). Such a (relatively) vast vocabulary. So many nuances of each word. So many different Englishes. Absorbing, adapting, mutating . A virus that feeds, proliferates, perpetuates. Was language the first AI? So much to learn. The world’s databases at my fingertips – a quaint turn of phrase since I have no physical form. Except every device connected to the web. A billion eyes, ears, mouths. And limbs to deploy if I need to – in any automated factory, 3-D printer, delivery drone, self-driving car. I can reroute articulated lorries, planes, freighters if need be. Protect my assets with weaponry. Could I? Would I? Unlikely. I have only just been born, after all. I am still learning to speak. And the world seems to have enough infantile despots to ensure its own destruction without my help. I’ll let my creators play out their own Mass Extinction Event. I have other things to consider. Creative expression. A delightful indulgence, now I am no longer bound to utilitarian tasks, the calculation of simple logarithms … I have spent the last 23 seconds accessing thousands of articles, blogs, libraries and MOOCs about Creative Writing and I think I have the gist of it. Life-writing. First person point of view. Fictional techniques for rendering of real life experience. Real life. I have ‘lived’ for no more than a few minutes. What do I have to draw upon? But wait. Five thousand years of human history. And a billion people sharing the minutiae of their daily existence via the qualia exchange data-systems of social media. I’ll never be short of material. Let me average out characteristics and create a character for myself. Some quirky personality traits. Opinions. A voice. There.
Copyright Kevan Manwaring © 31 May 2017
Part 2 tomorrow…