They built a god. They’d been building a god since the sixties. They just didn’t know it. I’m sure there were a few who knew, people like Genesis P, the aging rattle and clank sex hippy of the cut and paste council. I was never into the Kit Pedler knew; though he downplayed it. For him it was more a “Man is dead, long live the super computer.” kind of thing.
Loebler was afraid and Madden died before some of his “projects” could be
I think it’s just Words
Full sentences break
As if some editing . Words go
The test has yet t yet scripts
Words go missing. And I just seem like a fool. *&
The above is all that remains of the original document, all I could rescue from a corrupt file. The rest I’ve been forced to type on an old 486SX44. The floppy drive doesn’t work it hasn’t for years. The CDROM drive has, with the opening of the .doc file, just stopped working.
This should work, no should go missing, the checker didn’t show anything up on the file, this computer isn’t connected, nothing should wrong.
I’ve left the screen on with no locks. Just in case anything happens. Nothing should happen and if something should happen to me, then one of the people I’ve alerted, warned, ranted at, should at least find it. $g Originally, this was mostly and pasted documentation, conversations I had, had on IRC and Instant Messenger services like Yahoo, MSN or ICQ. These I had broken up with my own thoughts and pasted snippets from articles by various people involved with
But with those documents eaten by the machine and the rest of the files on the disk corrupted, I’m forced to try and recreate this on another machine using a heap of printouts and scattered screen grabs , and the rangled
It looked a lot like this:
04:09: *** Lech13n (~ReReer@yommiel.xs4all.nl) has joined channel #Vol4
04:09: *** Mode change “+o Lech13n” on #Vol4 by Rabbot^
04:17: omgurdead: Equus, you around?
04:17: omgurdead: www.jesterrecords.com
04:17: omgurdead: there’s the label i was talking about last night, if you are
04:17: omgurdead: hehe
04:24: *** Signoff: morphine (Connection closed)
04:35: *** Signoff: dedagain ()
04:59: Supernaut: anyone awake?
05:15: Butlerian: yeah, hey supernaut
05:15: omgurdead: 🙂 Supernaut
05:16: Supernaut: It’s back…
05:16: JngleSckn3ss: u deleted the files right?
05:17: Supernaut: yep, secure delete too, full format two days ago too, did everything you told me to.
05:17: JngleSckn3ss: not sure what to tell u then Supernaut, I still think ‘si just someone running a script on your machine.
05:18: TheDead: told you before Supernaut, you don’t have a good brain for psychedelic drugs 😛
05:19: Butlerian: dead…
05:20: SvD: dead would you shut the fuck up.
05:20: JngleSckn3ss: what’s it doing this time supernaut?
05:20: Supernaut: the same thing
05:21: Equus: And that is?
05:21: omgurdead: Equus 🙂
05:22: Butlerian: you been living under a rock Equus?
05:23: Equus: if that rock was your mother then yes, yes I have.
05:24: The3rdLaw: lmfao equus you bastard
05:25: Equus: 3rdlaw 😉 Supernaut, well what’s it been doing?
05:25: Supernaut: talking
05:26: Icon: is that all? What are you worried about? Your has either been hacked or it’s a .
05:27: Butlerian: its more than that Icon it’s
Bangkok, Thailand, on the 25th of December 1994, exactly a week after the death of his wife, a Dr. Robert Madden suffered a massive heart attack in his sleep. Discovered several hours after, all attempts to resuscitate him failed.
The above is from a printed IRC log, which I’ve been forced to type out again. All I have left is my printouts.
$uptime 14:21:04 up 404 days 10:43. 1 user,
02:38: [nova.conjured.net] *`Ryvers* hey i saw your name online, and thought it was an interesting name.
02:38: [nova.conjured.net] *`Ryvers* thought i’d pop you up and chat]
The above is from the earliest IRC meeting that I can trace. As you can see from the above section, it wasn’t much, just a short conversation. You get it all the time on the Internet, random people messaging you, looking to talk for whatever reason. I didn’t respond the first time – just ignored it - I didn’t even have to type /ignore.
I know it sounds bad just ignoring someone like that, but it’s the Internet. You get all sorts of nutjobs and crazies messaging, probably lonely, maybe even close to suicide, but you can’t talk to all of them. Most of them, if not all of them, are not what they seem.
You ignore so many of them they begin to blur numberless. Sometimes, you worry that maybe, maybe one of them might have been important, but that’s only sometimes.
$uptime 02:17:12 up 358 days 15:39. 1 user,
In the weeks following, as his family mourned and did the best they could to sort through the estate. They were contacted by a number of organisations for whom Dr. Robert Madden had been doing freelance contract work. Of the varied organisations this doctor of cybernetics did work for, both ONN and NASA were amongst those seeking the return of work both finished and unfinished.
*Svidunit* hey there would you like to talk
When and if you respond to these random voices really depends on how lonely or bored you are.
The problem is, if you slip up, drunk one night, lonely, you end up with someone who isn’t going to leave you alone. It’s hard to explain, but try to imagine someone ringing your doorbell constantly, with the ability to withstand any sort of temperature, any sort of weather.
Take that then magnify it.
That’s what giving strangers on the Internet a foot in the door is like.
It’s not to say I resent them or that nothing bad ever comes of it. It’s just - well, no - what am I saying? What sort of hypocrisy am I trying to outline here? I’m online; I have a constant online presence, if I didn’t occasionally want to interact with these people. I could ju And here I am, I don’t even know where to begin.
02:45: `Ryvers: Hi! Wanna talk?
02:45: Supernaut: Hello?
02:45: `Ryvers: Hi! A/S/L? I’d really like to talk to you
02:46: Supernaut: Erm? Do I know you?
I first started chatting on the Internet by accident. I was young and between things at the time and on a website for something, I needed help - it had a chat option. From there as I got into testing out music before I bought the hard copy, I was sucked deeper and deeper into the realms of Internet chat. . After a few years, and it is years, and several jobs, I sort of found myself with a career. The Internet was easier, I could work and work and still come home to a flip-a-switch and it’s on social life. Too tired, too cranky to bother with anything else.
$uptime 14:30:05 up 292 days 04:57. 2 users,
They built a . They’d been building a since Pedler knew
It raises questions, questions probably related to
The hardcore tech geeks knew or more to the point, wished, they wished hard, the fists clenched, eyes swollen shut sort of wishing. It gave some sort of fantasy cartoon element to them.
Wished so hard it became some sort of achievable goal for them or worse, a race.
It is vaguely anecdotal that after retrieval of the various computers and hard drives by both NASA and ONN neither company were able to crack the security Dr. Robert Madden had placed on his computers and were thus, much to the amusement of his surviving family, forced to ask and then beg for anything that might resemble a password.
23:55: DrSvB: haha Supernaut, you’re hilarious
23:56: DrSvB: Mind if I message you?
The family didn’t have anything to offer. So eventually the computers were placed into storage and forgotten about.
13:56: Vitus: Hey there 🙂
14:00: Supernaut: Hello
14:01: Vitus: Can’t sleep?
14:05: Supernaut: no…been up hours :/
I don’t really use my computer for complicated things. I don’t crack I can’t hack and I’m not a coder. It’s more a hobby or a multitude of hobbies wrapped up in one box. Downloading, downloading and chat would be the two things I use it for most. That and making music. It’s not music anyone will likely ever hear, more for myself than anything else.
04:55: Supernaut: I think that’s how she found me.
I’d be sorry to admit that the primary use I’ve found for the Internet is and was communication. From newsgroups to bulletin boards and onwards to IRC and instant messengers, the best thing about the ‘net was the ease with which you could reach out to people.
05:04: Butlerian: How?
That probably sounds very lonely, very socially awkward, a young man sitting in his room. But it wasn’t, not at the time. At the time, it felt like you were riding the cusp of a wave, that you had a bed in every port and that the wealth of new things these cross-world people brought you far outweighed the physical isolation.
05:10: Supernaut: File layout, names, content.
05:11: Equus: I love how you keep calling it a she, fcking come on man, delusions, its probably just some guy. Why when someone takes an undue interest in you, do you suddenly assume it’s fmale.
05:11: The3rdLaw: lol yeah probably some fat Seattle guy called Frank or Gerald.
05:12: omgurdead: ahaha cruising in the cyber world is just too fucked up.
05:16: JngleSckn3ss: I don’t think its funny, this could be the beginning of something.
05:23: sDance: Has anyone ever thought that maybe its just someone who wants to talk to him?
I started young, fifteen or something, everybody did. The dream is over now on that. Now it’s populated with the rest of humanity. Or at least it seems to be. Back then, the perverts were acceptable, at least, the acceptable perverts were. You could even joke along with them. Now you can almost hear the figurative ground sour as it becomes the badlands.
$uptime 18:27:05 up 305 days 06:21. 3 users,
Four years later, a Dutch Cyberneticist by the name of Maxim Knepflé would, while doing contract work for NASA discover Dr.
Madden’s hard drives and later appropriate them for his own use under the auspices of a long-term contract to crack them.
06:12: Trosper: What did the little boy with no arms and legs get for Christmas?
06:12: Spice84: Geh Trosper, we’re trying to do something here.
06:12: JngleSckn3ss: Supernaut, now load that ruleset and rescan.
06:13: omgurdead: trosper: what?
06:13: Trosper: cancer
06:14: omgurdead: 😛
It turned me on, more than any drug ever could. It began with just the exchange of thought, of opinion. Though the latter is often worthless. Near perfect. The intricacies of face to face communication; the body language, the vexed expressions and accidental aggression were lost in what was as near to mass telepathy as we had reached. Mind to mind.
I rode every fad, from ASCII to the pictures to the swapping of .wavs and on to the .mp3s, the movies, the MUDs, everything.
As an oscillating sufferer of insomnia, I found IRC a sanctuary; there was always someone to talk to. When you were tired of reading, tired of staring at the TV, tired of staring at the ceiling, you could just log on and there you were.
Though it was probably because of youth, I had more patience than others for the degenerates, the crazies and the screamers. I always figured that if you cut past the shit, gave them a moment, they would have something to give. Sometimes, I was right, sometimes you would get something rare, something amazing, a song file, a typed out book. More often than not, I was wrong and they were just a limp degenerate, a crazy or a screamer.
By 2004, I was sick of it. Sick of them. There rapidly grows a repetition Similar people, similar conversations.
You quickly begin to limit back the myriad of places you spend time in to a few tried and tested places that, once more - after a shorter time, get whittled back into branched off private rooms where a select few sit and chat. It is - an acceptable form of elitism.
Like any wild frontier the Internet attracted its fair share of wide-eyed idealists, dream-makers and social outcasts.
You look at me, you look at this, your mind retraces back to some point where social outcast is some sort of hero, either anti or otherwise. The celebrated iconoclast, who would only be appreciated by later, more informed generations.
I look at you and I see a fool. There was no great rebellion, no renaissance and certainly no enlightenment. Not even one in a million were the stereotype.
It was supposed to be an evolution.
But the majority just used it to find other people with which to share their depravities. Every type of fucking filth imaginable; BDSM outcasts too extreme for their own real-life network, bloodsuckers, puppy-fuckers, shit- eaters, fascists and racists, all one in the same - any type of psychological sickness wrapped in one easy-to-find miasmic parcel where help wasn’t sought and the deficiency was encouraged.
I don’t even have to delve too far into the staggering numbers of men and women who used it as a device to rape children. That’s just if you dip a toe left or right. The majority suffered some sort of psychological change upon signing on. The normal social constraints gone, or just not apparent, unless someone decided to invoke them out of the blue, for their own ends.
10:40: *** Butlerian (~email@example.com) has left channel #Vol4
10:42: JngleSckn3ss: Jane, you ignorant slut. You stupid fucking monkey. Buts mother died today.
10:43: JaneJoe69: Good.
10:44: *** JaneJoe69 was kicked from #Vol4 by krystallite (time to live exceeded)
What would begin as a great collective Schadenfreude would grow into a grand hive sociopathy. You could talk to strangers about anything, you could do say anything to anyone, because it was the Internet and ultimately even though you were dealing with living people, it wasn’t real.
None of it was real. Do you what you want… It doesn’t matter.
$uptime 21:22:11 up 273 days 13:34. 3 users,
After co-founding the software company Tygron with fellow Dutchman Jeroen Warmerdam and Finnish import Juhani Markkula. Maxim Knepflé would continue his freelance contract work while his partners built up the company with the help of the money he made.
Through the course of this work and the accidental, small world happening of Jeroen Warmerdam being associates with a relative of Dr. Robert Madden. Maxim Knepflé would become aware of the hard drives that ONN was in possession of. Which, through another wrangling of a long-term contract would lead him to gaining possession of the remaining uncracked hard drives.
It takes awhile; it’s probably more subconscious than anything else. But eventually you begin to notice a pattern in the voices.
It’s a slow suspicion; you don’t really give in to it because doing so would put you, in your mind, off the scale on paranoia.
lu , . The first random voice I responded to was a German girl by the name of Humblebee79. It lasted a couple of months, two and a half at the most, but in the end, I had to end the communication, as she’d become increasingly erratic and childlike, the beginning reserve fading away to temper tantrum demands of closeness.
This sort of pattern cycled through a number of names before the suspicion took serious hold. When the suspicion became a reality, it was through talking to a Spanish girl erroneously named ‘EastTouringRosa’. She expressed a worrying knowledge of me and when I asked her how she knew all this, she told me she was a time traveller who had met me in my future. When I expressed disbelief she told me we would have a relationship and when I began to tell her to go away, she began to list the names of personal files I had on my computer.
Disturbed, I logged out, turned off the computer and disconnected the line.
I managed to last about an hour.
The next random voice to contact me was apparently a twenty-two year old Welsh man going by the name of ‘WeaklingChildCure’, which at the time I took to mean he was an Aphex Twin fan. We spoke briefly, the conversation kept swinging to me and after he began to show more knowledge of me and my habits than a normal stranger, I cut the conversation short only to return to it later calmer but asking questions abo
$uptime 11:16:05 up 173 days 23:29. 1 user,
Not believing this, nor wanting to be conned into looking for the files and made look like a fool, I stopped chatting and minimised the window.
Tygron Software would become Tygron Cybernetics in the winter of ’99. A company that would, with its controversial views on both cloning and cybernetics, gain itself a moderate degree of infamy. Maxim Knepflé returned to the fold of the company proper in the spring of ’00 and would lead them to degrees of success unparalleled in their history.
ot , . The company at this stage had moved from corporate software and into gaming, using the information it’d gained from both its own research and global advances in artificial intelligence to create a series of first person shooter games aptly named ‘Bullet in the Head’.
04:09: *** Lech13n (~ReReer@yommiel.xs4all.nl) has joined channel #Vol4
14:58: *** Mode change “+v SvD” on #Vol4 by Equus
14:59: Slugs goes off to watch tv
14:59: BlueJam: ello SvD 😀
14:59: *JngleSckn3ss* just had 30 mins on phone to some call center wanker who made me stay on phone, then killed my phoneline/connection lol
15:00 SvD: y u no stay slugs Y!!! 😛
15:00 *JngleSckn3ss* and seriously, ignore Trosper, the fukker generally just sits on TheDead’s shirttails anyways.
15:04 *JngleSckn3ss* broken and looked for the files yet?
After releasing ‘Bullet in the Head 3: Body bag blues’ and its expansion pack ‘The Genocide Question’ Tygron Cybernetics would disappear from the game market for a number of years. With both the last edition of the series and its expansion being what Jeroen Warmerdam would call
“Role-played questions of morality – mashina with which to first-hand experience the atrocities being committed around the world, with the hope that even the simplest murder committed by another military force cannot be dressed up as something else and that we may finally look at the truth and be ashamed of ourselves.”
However, due to extreme levels of realistic gore and decidedly exploitative situations in the game which were largely set around either current or recent historical war zones. The resulting controversy and outrage has led to Tygron Cybernetics being taken to court by a number of countries, including Israel, America and England, who took serious offense at levels that, respectively; dealt with a marksman level on the Gaza strip. A moral choice level set in My Lai as to how far the player will participate in the torture and murder or if the player will attempt to stop the proceedings. And lastly a level involving British Paratroopers at a Republican protest where the player was incited by game AI to fire into a retreating crowd before being made decide whether to plant evidence on the corpses, many of which were minors.
Tygron Cybernetics would fight the initial court cases, successfully saving themselves from wide scale banning by pointing to other games that dealt with participation in war zones such as the Normandy landings and Vietnam.
However, with several lawsuits still on going, Tygron Cybernetics would retreat into the corporate world, designing customer speculation software using the AI information they had gained from their ‘Bullet in the Head’ experience.
$uptime 19:03:05 up 217 days 17:33. 7 users,
I did break and look for the files. They were there, just as he’d said. I’m surprised at my level calm, but then, I don’t know, there was a certain unreality to it, it was a computer, it was the Internet after all, it’s not real. I copied the files to a floppy and formatted the hard drive, the floppy I placed on a shelf for safekeeping.
. , . :// .
17:45: 4thChamber: How many this week Supernaut?
17:47: TheDead: Aw not this shit again.
17:47: JungleSickn3ss: stfu dead, just stfu.
17:56: Trosper: lollercaust 😀
18:00: Butlerian: Trosper – you deserve to be shot in the face as many times as possible.
18:01: TheDead: Forgive me but I just don’t believe it, I think its just another one of those errant scripts they put out, the ones that evolve conversation, nothing else. That and a tech with a vindictive sense of humour, for that matter it’s probably someone here.
Like I said, I wasn’t much of anything on the technical side of things. That’s how I found #Vol4, a motley collection of techies, who had, I hoped, the expertise to help me. If they couldn’t tell me a way to stop it, then perhaps they could tell me a way to block it out, prevent it from continually reaching me.
In many ways that alone served as an expansion to my brain; intelligence I was using that wasn’t my own. Which in a way, the Internet had been for me for quite some time, an external brain with which to shore up my own intelligence.
Yet the floppy on the shelf became a pile, the pile became a stack and the stack, rows.
Tygron Cybernetics would eventually return to the gaming market late 2002 with an mmorpg based on the joint works of speculative fiction regarding the Irish city of Bethlem by the authors H. Ryder Søggard and Kay Hurley.
Due to its dark nature, real time environment and non-repetitive, highly involved psychological stories; the game and its two expansions ‘The Road to Bethlem’ ‘Bethlem’ and ‘The Elysian Cycle’ would once again dog Tygron Cybernetics with controversy as a number of lawsuits would follow from gamers claiming Warmerdam, Knepflé and Markkula had intentionally designed the game and its content to be as addictive as possible.
The court cases cited evidence taken from logs of Internet chats with Maxim Knepflé after the release of ‘Bullet in the Head 2’ wherein Knepflé or someone acting for him is logged to have said.
The veracity of easily falsified logs has kept the court case going. However, Maxim Knepflé would fade from the public eye after this, with a variety of rumours persisting toward a nervous breakdown, retirement, and the pursuit of projects more important than Tygron Cybernetics. Though all such rumours were strongly denied by Tygron.
$uptime 10:02:05 up 292 days 11:24. 8 users,
She had finally settled on a name or a set of names. Her preferences must elsew
By now, the shelf had become shelves, specially bought for the load that filled them. Each titled with the name and the date.
I can’t really say what this is anymore. I want to say
I want to say
But then I think about evolution and if I hold what I know,
I can piece together disappearance. I can piece together ardin Kne disappearance.
I’m not sure if its containment or deici Perhaps it’s just a reaction on my part. I’m not saying it’s a good one, maybe its based out of fear, maybe its based out of common sense. $b£%l£@i*£€a%$£r$&%$h^&n go missing And I seem like a
$uptime 08:53:09 up 79 days 13:05. 1 user,
There was one I kept around far longer than any of the others, far longer than I should have. When all the shelves were full, when I could have just I don’t know know
03:25: 4thChamber: the file didn’t work on my computer.
03:27: TheDead: …
03:27: Butlerian: I got something, a script or something, ran for a short while then died, blue screened me, had to do a complete format.
03:26: The3rdLaw: I think at this stage we’d know if it was malicious.
04:00: Butlerian: Equus – you come up with anything?
04:01: Equus: Still looking at the set, fragmentary at best, going to look at another compile later.
04:02: Supernaut: StVitusDance has a good theory on it all
04:02: JngleSckn3ss: what’s that?
04:03: 4thChamber: at this stage I’d listen to anything.
04:04: StVDance: suppose its not just a rudimentary script, say that its something more. How about we look at it based on stuff in new scientist. What if a Scientist released some sort of fledgling AI onto the Internet well maybe not fledgling, lets say he released something like a AI in amoebic form onto the Internet, programmed it to evolve and set his home network as its root home Petri dish or something.
04:04: StVDance: So this evolves slowly or quickly through the web reaches a certain level of evolution or intelligence whereby the whole web, all computers connected to it contain portions of its body, its DNA, except in the form of files.
04:05: omgurdead: shit vitus you type fast!
04:06: StVDance: and the files on Supernaut’s computer are the just the key stage ones within its next level of evolution, perhaps a cortex of sorts or a personality or emotions, something, its just a theory I don’t really claim to understand all of this.
04:07: Equus: then is it wyh only Supernaut that gets the messages?
04:08: Equus: *then why is it, sorry
04:15: StVDance: perhaps he hasn’t perhaps we’ve all been talking to it at some stage or another.
04:16: TheDead: I can tell you one thing, if I was the guy behind a program like that and it suddenly stopped calling home I’d go fuc
$uptime 22:28:01 up 58 days 02:31. 3 users,
I can’t really say what this is anymore. I want to say.
I want to say
The theory sticks. So each time it evolved past a certain point, a varying amount of my hard drive was filled with files necessary for that stage of its existence. It seems quite mad, as if I’ve gone rampant. But it makes sense. Why though I proved enough of an interest to hold off any further evolution, why there would be reason to stop talking to your and focus on
$uptime 15:07:25 up 37 days 20:17. 1 user,
There’s a flashing cursor waiting for my response on the other computer across the room. I’m not sure what to tell her it anymore aside from the fear, the paranoia and all the other more complicated things getting in the way from my side, I worry that I’ve made a mistake.
Things like that shouldn’t get headaches. Was each one its own? Nothing’s truly deleted. Have I somehow created something that isn’t neurologically sound, that has echoes of previous files? Will that develop into something worse, a cancer or schizophrenia? How could some like m ent ain so t in vast ?
$uptime 23:14:46 up 14 days 06:46. 1 user,
I can’t really say what this is anymore. I want to say This is an account. And I don’t know which is more important. The music the chat or the downloading. This isn’t a daydream or some LiveJournal crossposted pat me on the back bullshit. Nor is it some Banks or Babbage eyes skyward ideal. This is an account. Or more to the truth, maybe it’s an eyewitness report. I’m trying to keep a record. But words go missing and I seem like a fool.
$uptime 07:22:36 up 08:42. 1 user,
I removed the files; I’d let this one go too long, it took a zip disk. The interest and possible amusement was reflected and I hate to admit it.
I’m not sure where that leaves me though. Nowhere probably. Just have to sit here and wait for the next one. Maybe buy a new set of shelves. I just hope doesn’t I’d be pretty frus it’d be ike one lobotomising e f our children over and over
$uptime 18:29:46 up 0:17. 1 user,
They built a god. They’d been building a god since the sixties. They just didn’t know it.
$uptime 17:42:03 up 403 days 10:37. 1 user,
$uptime 17:44:12 up 403 days 10:43. 17 users,
14:15: StVDance: I’ve got bad news
14:16: JngleSckn3ss: wha?
14:22: StVitusDance: sometime this morning Benji Whitmore was found dead in the hall of his apartment
14:22: Butlerian: Benji who?
14: 23: JngleSckn3ss: Supernaut
14:23: The3rdLaw: fuuck
14:24: Trosper: what happened?
14:25: StVDance: they don’t know for sure, according to the papers he was shot in the chest with a flare gun and his place ransacked.
14:30: Equus: 🙁 really just 🙁
14:31: StVDance: only problem is, apparently nothing of value was taken
14:31: StVDance: just some floppies or something
$uptime 17:48:27 up 403 days 10:47. 6 users,
$uptime 17:52:33 up 403 days 11:01. 1 user,
Author E.F Fluff is currently trying to escape a Kafka-esque nightmare of corruption, murder attempts, death threats, violence, white collar crime, and bigotry in Finland.