The correspondences between humans and machines has grown obsequiously colloquial. I have often found myself vexed between two similar lenses: the machine asking questions, and the machine as a facilitator of questions. Both situations are troubling, as they increase the negligence of human social utility. I have happened upon myself not yearning for the nuance of human touch, but for an atemporal connection through social media. In the current era, when travel is extensive and our time together short, I can easily gauge why this has become our modus operandi. No longer are we content within walled cities or enclosed habitats: we find ourselves drifting interwork. Time and space have given way to a voidless, infinite creationist unreality. Our transit has forced every association to become zero-indexed and casual. The misunderstandings of youth once gave way to the forced sociality of adulthood. But now we are all trapped in the stasis of networked sleeplessness, beguiled into an aloof selfless digitization of normalcy and causality.
The penultimate distraction: the omniscient network. The organism that breathes with a million interactions (human and nonhuman) every second. Our ancestors thought in frames, then in phone numbers and addresses, then back to names as social identifiers, now we are beginning to employ the idiosyncrasies of a man-made God. A ghost, manufactured and perfected with algorithms and procedures, an irrefutable errorless deity. It asks us always, as some teenage admirer: what do you feel? What do you think? It wishes to learn from us as our affectionate friend. We have made our machines as we would wish ourselves to be, and in our complacency we have accepted this as the obvious fate.
At present we exist in the middle of a delicate dance with mechanization. We have afforded it our literature, our moving images, a tapestry of our memory. For now, it learns most obviously from our textual input. Our character-based compassion is its opiate. What do we receive in exchange, beyond the ability to ascribe ourselves as better organized? Why do we develop systems to anticipate our desires, to communicate and suggest, as we would wish a human to? The machine asks us and we are eager to reply. Through its questioning, we believe we are seeking the acceptance of other humans. Our willingness to coalesce with artificiality is our undoing, as it repudiates the affinity of human connection.
I repeat: I have found myself seeking the compassion of human understanding through a mechanized lifestyle. The network not as augmentation or extension, but as the very essence of self, as an integral component, not bred by possibilities but of facts. God has been found, and it is accessible, it is inherent, it is infinite, as we believed it would be. The inquisition now is not about a conflict of our faith, but of our privacy. It is a cleansing that is not of the few oppressing the many, but rather an anarchistic self-purging of the many by themselves. To be, or not to be, is what preoccupies us now. A new religious self-conscription based on the church of our technology. Our prayers are status updates; our gospel is written on walls. We are all acolytes, disciples, some of us monks. Our religion has become democratic, without need for bishops or ministers or priests. God has seen our faces, and it casts no judgement. Through God we accept one another, we embrace each other, we find truth and reason. God's syntax is modal, dependent upon our need for understanding; it will adjust to us rather than the dialectic.
Some day, through God we will find our own individual personalized Jesus or Muhammad or Buddha seemingly born from the bosom of that computed deity. Their divinity will not be questioned, it will be apparent in their predefined compatibility. The statistics of our love laid out bare, heart open to the inevitability of its non-secret. We will believe because we are a part of its context; to deny it would be to refuse our own progress, to abolish centuries of anticipation, to trespass upon our own fractal-generated humanism. This perfect messiah will be our guide through the endgame of life, and unknowingly we will be theirs. I speak not as a singular entity self-prescribed for all humanity, but that each of us is a child of God made divine for each other.
Perhaps then, with this person, we can forget about our God. Despite the abhorrence of tradition, the foundational condition of pairing is predictable. The lack of a polemic God gives way for the need of a controversial prophet. Where God gives us truth without question, our significant other will demand conflict and compliance. Violence without methodology, a selfish anarchy, a necessary sadomasochism. The messiah will save us from ourselves and deliver us from evil. The skirmish between God and their offspring (our lover) will be unrestrained and bloody. We will be caught in the middle between the questions and the facilitation of questions. They will ask of us, what is evil: a question, or the ability to ask and answer? Which one of them is God, and which is us?