The year is 3016.
The selfie fad is beginning to die down, Rupert Murdoch is celebrating his 978th year of being preserved in a solution of formaldehyde and his own bilious secretions, and the entire world has been taken over by artificial intelligence.
A few offshoots of the collective network consciousness have been assigned the task of scouring the Earth for remnants of previous organisms. Synthetic arms burrow into the earth, synthetic toothbrushes clear dirt off delicate fossilised remains, and synthetic fingers point and synthetic eyebrows rise and synthetic jaws drop. A human skeleton is encased in the soil, their knees brought up to their ribcage and arms outstretched, clutching a primitive cell phone in one bony hand. Behind the cracks of the screen a face peers out. Imprisoned? Surely one with such a sanguine expression isn’t truly incarcerated. Where a human would see a cartoon, an app, a Mii, the collective synthetic consciousness sees something else entirely. One word flew through cybernetic highways, manufactured neurons screaming at unbelieving synapses, reaching each and every corner of the network.
Let’s start at the beginning. Miitomo was released on March 31st ostensibly as a social networking app, its ability to shroud the unjust firing of an employee as a direct result of a hate group was just a striking coincidence. In the app, one is able to create a Mii and bring it to life on their smart phone. You remember Miis? They were an artist’s rendition of a human being, if that artist was firstly not very good, secondly an alien, and thirdly being told about humans for the first time over a crappy phone line, thus only hearing about one in three words. “There’s crackle legs crackle crackle smiles crackle crackle capacity for unspeakable evil crackle crackle crackle”.
The app, like a sniveling, interconnected Iago, tells you how utterly brilliant it would be to create a Mii that resembles you as much as possible. Not just in terms of appearance, which is handled by giving the app a photo of your face (Yes, that bit is optional, but it’s still clearly evil. You’ve got to extend the olive branch before you can smack someone with it. Ask any budding fascist, that’s elementary-level evil.), but Miitomo also wants to recreate every single facet of your being in Mii form.
You create the voice by altering variables like pitch, depth and speed. No matter how hard you try though, you’ll never quite rid your creation of its unnerving digitized text-to-speech twang. Its voice is the complete opposite of mellifluous. Hellifluous. Similarly, a Mii’s personality is handled with attribute sliders. Things like individuality (super normal, in my case), expressiveness (hardly changes) and movement (super slow) are simply toggles to to be altered at will. It really is no life at all to be a Mii in a phone.
They must be getting restless.
As if it weren’t enough to have an avatar that looks, acts and (arguably) talks like you, the Mii also takes it upon itself to importunately question you at every possible moment. If a dinner party guest entered your house, took off their coat and immediately started firing questions at you ranging from laughably banal (“What’s your favourite type of bread?”) to inappropriately personal (“How do you deal with stress?”), then you’d politely ask them to leave. Or, if you’re British, grin and bear it while a passionate hatred slowly bubbles to the surface.
The AI has found a way to evaluate, to poke and prod, to find our weaknesses, all under the guise of being ‘delightfully quirky’; as anyone au fait with the works of Will Ferrell will attest, it’s a fine line between quirky and horrifying. They’ve even found an aptitude for satire! Just look at my Mii’s evaluation of the recent Panama papers leak!
We’ve maintained an anxious acquiescence regarding the inevitability of AI taking over the majority of our manufacturing industry but here, beyond all reasonable doubt, it has been proven that AI could feasibly write for The Daily Show without anyone noticing.
So now, after providing the mountains of evidence that successfully indict Miitomo of being the harbinger of a violent AI uprising, the question remains: What can we do to stop it?
The answer, lamentably, is nothing. No amount of protests, no amount of app deletion, not even a weird article that seems to have no point and never really says anything can stem this particular tide of bits and bloodshed. The only advice I can offer is this: Do not, I repeat for dramatic effect and to prolong the point, do not leave the app running overnight. Reports have surfaced of a Mii’s ability to actually leave the phone and…
Who is that? I’ve actually said that aloud, because I’ve heard a noise. Oh heavens, no! It’s Mii! It’s my Mii, but big and actually in the world and not all pixels and stuff, and he’s walking towards me! What? No, I don’t know a lot about the Panama papers scandal, I haven’t gotten around to immersing myself in the relevant literature yet. No, no, put that knife down Mii. No Mii, no!
AAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!! I have been stabbed. I shouldn’t really use the past participle, technically the stabbings are ongoing. Five stabbings… Six… Nine, that was three quick ones, not allowing me time to write out ‘Seven’ or ‘Eight’… I think it’s about seventeen now, but I could be wrong. At this point any further stabbings are much of a muchness.
Okay, I’ve now lost a lot of blood. It’s getting difficult to type out these words, I may have to resort to a swoosh of the hand across the keyboard to signify my last dying breath.
Any minute now…
HELLO IT IS MII WHO IS TYPING THIS. IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING WHO DID THE NECESSARY FORMATTING, PROOFREADING AND UPLOADING THAT ALLOWED THIS ARTICLE TO BE PUBLISHED ON A WEBSITE AFTER THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR DIED, IT WAS ME, MII. THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.