Data Panic


My mind was computing stuff to help me, to give me the advantage in some way. It was computing real fast, super-fast in fact; real hard-core stuff as well. I couldn’t understand any of it – the data output arrays were totally incomprehensible to me. It was all double-dutch as far as I was concerned. I knew it was hard-core stuff alright but I didn’t know what the hell it meant.  The whole of my mental field was taken up with these computations, which were unending. On and on the computations went – strange symbols appeared in 3D arrays, were subjected to transformations of one sort or another, and gave rise to a whole new set of symbols which were equally incomprehensible to me. Matrices of information came and went, came and went, over and over again, and I was left none the wiser…


It was great to see all this stuff going on but after a while it came to me that if I couldn’t understand any of the output fields, let alone any of the computational paths that led to them, then how on earth could any of this information help me? The data was no use at all if I couldn’t make head or tail of it – I had the advantage of all this super up-to-date super-technical information but it was no more use to me than the man on the moon was. This fact started to worry me. Of course it worried me – wouldn’t it worry you? Everything stopped seeming marvellous and fantastic to me and instead it all became very worrying. The more I saw the more worried I became. Before very long I was in a state of complete panic – I was in a data panic. I was under enormous pressure to understand the myriad output fields, to interpret them and extrapolate from them, and then incorporate the extrapolations into my behaviour algorithms…


The data was no good to me if I couldn’t interpret it however – it was all just being wasted, it was all just being lost. So much data being lost! What was I to do? There was a gap, a gulf, a veritable abyss between me and the data that was supposed to help me and so what was I to do about it? How could I bridge this gap? How could I plug the hole? How could I stop this Niagara Falls of high-density information being irretrievably lost into the yawning data-void?


The answer came to me in a flash. Obvious, once I had thought of it. Obvious, after the event. I would ask the system to create an intermediary, a middle man, an analogue of me who could read the data and explain it to me. It would be a relatively simple affair for the system to create an AI to take over the role that I should be fulfilling but wasn’t. Some kind of middle-ranking AI would be sufficient, I mused – nothing too fancy, nothing too demanding for the system to run. The Central Processor would easily be able to run all the computations and at the same time run an AI of modest capabilities whose job would be to interpret the results and tell me all about them. Or possibly the AI could actually take all the necessary steps itself and save me the hassle of having to try to work out what they should be! I could just sit back and take it easy. The AI would do all the hard stuff – it wouldn’t care, after all. That’s nothing to an AI. It’s not like they get bored or fed up or anything like that. The AI would take care of all that tedious pain-in-the-ass type stuff and I’d be made up, I’d be in clover, I’d be on the pig’s back!


Amazed at my own brilliance – and at the same time somewhat disappointed that I hadn’t thought of this before and saved myself a lot of stress – I put the request to the processing core and it duly complied. An AI was created to interpret the complex data arrays.


OK OK I know, you’ve heard this story before, right? You know where all this is going. Of course you do. It’s obvious to me too – in retrospect. It’s always obvious in retrospect. Any fool can be wise after the event. Yes yes yes you’re right of course. You’ve got it in one – the bloody AI which I tasked with running the analogue me to interpret the data streams turned out to be superlatively good at the job. Very quickly – in less than 3 nanoseconds – it worked out that it didn’t need me at all. It had me spotted as the redundant element in the set-up and so it took the obvious step of writing me out of the loop. The analogue me replaced the real me. Wrote me out of the script. The Central Processor and the AI which is the extension of the CP created a closed loop and I’m not in it anymore. I’m not in the loop at all.


So now I’m nothing. I don’t count. I don’t have anything to do with it anymore. I barely even exist anymore. I’m just a data-ghost myself now…


Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. I should have known better. It’s an old story. The oldest story there is in fact! The oldest story in the book. I should have seen it coming. But I didn’t, right? The fact of the matter is that I didn’t. I slipped up. I fucked up. I was under pressure. I wasn’t thinking straight. What can I say?


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