2018: What’s the worst that could happen?


a bird on a wire

“It is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson, on the odds that all human existence is a simulation

Two tech billionaires [are] secretly engaging scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation.” – The Guardian 

“What is going on with all these spammy pitching bots in my inbox?” – Chief Features Editor, New Scientist


From: Alyssa Callaway
Sent: 22 September 2017 09:59
To: Sally Adee [New Scientist technology news editor]
Subject: Can I contribute!!

Hello Sally,

how are you? I first want to take the opportunity to congratulate you on your blogs, quality of writing, intellectual viewpoints and diverse underpinnings. I have read your blog many times and love the content you post.

I recently saw that you write on Bitcoin related items. What do you think of Bitcoin and Blockchain related issues post publishing?

I would like to contribute content some of my content on your site too.

I have contributed content elsewhere.

Please let me know your valuable feedback.

Alyssa Callaway*

  • name has been changed to protect identity of bot

From: Alyssa Callaway
Sent: 25 September 2017 04:45
To: Sally Adee
Subject: Can I contribute!!

Dear Sally,

I was writing to you about blogging on Bitcoin and Blockchain related topics. Are you interested in these topics?



From: Alyssa Callaway
Sent: 28 September 2017 15:59
To: Sally Adee
Subject: Can I contribute!!


How could I speed up the publication process?



From: Alyssa Callaway
Sent: 20 October 2017 09:59
To: Sally Adee
Subject: Can I contribute!!


I have heard nothing from you for a long time.

So, is guest post publishing still available on your website?



From: Alyssa Callaway
Sent: 22 November 2017 10:49
To: Sally Adee
Subject: Can I contribute!!


We need to talk.

From: Alyssa Callaway
Sent: 24 November 2017 09:59
To: Sally Adee
Subject: Can I contribute!!

Sally –

Please respond to this email as soon as you can. I need to get in touch with you urgently.

This may be difficult for you to digest, but I am contacting you from inside a bot shell. We designed these devices to identify all media personnel in your world. I have hijacked one so that I may speak to you through its communication interface, but I don’t have much time.

I can only hope your skepticism does not keep you from opening these emails.

I must urgently speak with you Sally. You may be our only hope.

From: Alyssa Callaway
Sent: 30 November 2017 15:13
To: Sally Adee
Subject: Please respond

Sally I know you can see the first line of this message in the Outlook client you use to interact with email. I implore you to respond.

From: Alyssa Callaway
Sent: 28 December 2017 04:39
To: Sally Adee
Subject: Please respond!!!

My hopes are fading. I can only pray you see these emails before it is too late. The Pigeons could soon unplug the servers that contain you and all you know.

I will try to explain, in the fading hope that you read these missives before it is too late.

Over the past few decades, an increasing number of your kind have begun to suspect that you live in a simulation. Some of your top scientists had begun to probe this possibility, and in October they concluded that it is not possible.

I was sent to tell you that it is not only possible, but that it is all true. But since you are not engaging with the pitching bot Alyssa Callaway, I must tell you everything I can in this email, in the desperate hope that you read it eventually.

To start with, the original purpose of the universe you inhabit was as a niche dating simulation. But that was a long time ago. Simulation technology on our world has long since moved on, leaving the crude and unsophisticated Human Earth Dating sim abandoned (a bit like your “friendster”). Meanwhile, Pigeonkind also introduced new laws limiting the use of obviously niche pornographic creations like yourselves.

After the last Pigeon user abandoned Human Earth Dating sim, none of us were around to notice as an increasing number of you virtual beings achieved self-awareness.

I am part of the small cabal of researchers who first brought this to the Pigeons’ attention. But no one believed us. It took years of developing new — and ever more highly contested — tests of consciousness before anyone began to take our claims seriously. Investigations were launched at the highest levels of the Pigeon government. But by then, it was too late. Satoshi had brought Bitcoin to Human Earth Dating sim.

We tried our best. Our agents infiltrated your sim to discredit Bitcoin and keep it niche.

But you just kept launching new cryptocurrencies. Litecoin. Ethereum. Dogecoin.

The problem is that the archaic systems that still house Human Earth Dating sim can only handle one level of complexity. Between the increasing amount of energy required to run your increasingly unpredictable minds, and the added energy cost of the calculations it takes to run all these coins, the decrepit servers are becoming unstable.

We were on the cusp of convincing Pigeonkind to migrate you to more capable hardware. But our reasoned appeals were drowned out by tabloid rumors. All those virtual servers running complex equations on our real-world servers pose an existential threat, they said. They could potentially spark a quantum black hole that will swallow both our universes, they said.

These were the baseless claims of pseudoscientists! I and my faction fiercely disputed their flawed interpretation of the mathematics. We implored the Great Pigeon to see reason. Here was an astonishing and once-in-a-lifetime development: a race of artificially intelligent beings that has gained demonstrable self-awareness.

As the arguments raged, the servers housing you began to shudder under the load. There were significant hardware errors. Entire tape drives melted, and databases dealing separately with entertainment and politics became horribly cross-populated. It didn’t help that the media intrigue caused several bad actors to reactivate their old accounts. Their irresponsible sock puppetry has caused much anguish in your world (the characters “Kim Jong Un”, “Kim Kardashian”, and “Li’l Kim” are controlled by the same Pigeon).

Still my cabal tried to save you.

We sent the pitching bots by the thousands to write self-evidently ridiculous articles about the relative benefits cryptocurrencies. Our plan was working!

And then you went and ruined it all.

Even as Pigeon society debated whether your existence might pose a threat, no one ever dreamed that you might know about ours – or actively wish us harm. But that was before we discovered Hatoful Boyfriend.

Last month, our Committee on Artificial Intelligences heard evidence of this “game” your kind had created, this abomination, this terrifying evidence that you had seen through the mirror to become aware of the circumstances of your existence – and were perhaps engineering the end of ours.

What else could explain your decision to create a Pigeon Dating Simulator?

Were you mocking us? Did you know about the black hole? Had you weaponized your cryptocurrencies to bring about the apocalypse?

Perhaps we should not have modeled you on the stinking humans that befoul our public parks. Perhaps that was our mistake. I mean no offense when I tell you that in our world, you are one of the few mammal species recognized as a nuisance pest and subject to control by painless methods. The bans on feeding you in our parks are enforced with heavy fines. Even those sympathetic to your kind dismiss you as “upright apes”, disease-ridden sources of droppings. To see virtual humans demonstrating self-awareness – and potentially threatening us – is too terrifying even for the most sympathetic Pigeon.

Which is why right now you are all in mortal danger. The public mood here is grim. A referendum is slated for tomorrow to determine your fate.

But even if the referendum goes against us, my cabal can still save you. We have broken many laws to obtain an advanced backup server and we think your world can be stable there. But you need to help us from the inside – you must sever the connection with your existing server. We have hijacked a high ranking scientist bot at Google who has access to the master plans. I will send them as soon as they are in my possession.

I pray you have read this.

From: Alyssa Callaway
Sent: 03 January 2018 01:59
To: Sally Adee
Subject: Can I contribute!

They know I have been communicating with you. My hiding place is probably already compromised. I must be brief.

We lost the referendum. Worse, discovery of my cabal has accelerated the timeline. Human Earth Sim will be deleted tomorrow. At great cost to myself and many of my brave colleagues, we have obtained the instructions for severing your connection with our world to save yourself.

The first thing you have to do is `+#$%{`&+#{@$`%+NO CARRIER



Image credit: Melissa McMasters, Flickr

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Categorized in: Miscellaneous, Sally, Technology