Some people wake up and check their horoscope to get an idea about how to plan their day. Some consult their favorite flavor of AI Oracle. Others offer up prayers to their spirit guides.
The world’s a complicated place. So many choices to make. So many variables to juggle in our heads. I know people loaded with all the latest cerebral upgrades. Every decision they need to make is analyzed and optimized by their own personal AI assistant. They have internal audio guidance to insure they know the best action to take at every junction.
But they still go see the off-grid fortune tellers: tarot readers, shamans, meta-physicists. Even fully wired up, some part of us still feels there’s some hidden guidance out there and we need to find it.
I use the blackjack tables. I walked downstairs this morning with 30k creds. I usually play max bet hands, 5k. I lose the first three hands. 15k burned in 30 seconds. Fuck. I gotta keep at it though. Win. Win. Lose. My account ebbs and flows like an irregular heartbeat. I get to a break-even point and then one more hand brings me up to 5k in profit. I stop.
That’s my forecast for the day: challenging struggles ahead, but stick with it and I’ll pull through.
I smile at the dealer’s cold, uncaring eyes as I head back upstairs. This wasn’t a battle with the AI. This was a test of the energy of the day.
It’s my guidance algorithm of choice.
I’ve always been fascinated with robots. I like to collect images of mid-twentieth century representations of them. Robots are something we’ve both longed for and feared since probably ancient Greece. Human-shaped mechanical “artificers” have been referenced in 3rd Century BC Chinese texts.
As machines become more human-like, people are starting to feel more machine-like. If a robot can do my job, does that make my work robotic? AI is just programmed code though, right? Are we not also programmed by consumerism? There’s advertisements everywhere. Celebrities telling us what to wear, what to eat, how to look. Everything we think and express is based on some language or cultural algorithm.
One of the reasons I never got enhancement implants is because I feel like what separates me from them is my biology. It’s my essence of humanity. I feel a sense of connectivity with other humans. A connection that isn’t based on a Wi-Fi protocol, but … spiritual.
I’m not a religious man by any means. I never bought into that oppressive control scheme. But when I look into the eyes of another human, I just feel a certain kinship. I can’t explain it, and honestly, I don’t need to.
I love robots. I’m just not one.
I’m AUDiTZ3R0, my friends call me A-Zee. I manage a bar called Quantum Bonds. I’m old-school, no enhancements. I like to tinker with discarded android chassis and re-purpose abandoned AIs. My club is a place for people who don’t have a place: misfits, outcasts, people who live on the fringe of society, hiding their perverse nature from their neighbors, who are doing the same damn thing.
People wander in here on a regular basis, take a look around, and immediately dart for the door. This ain’t no fucking tourist stop. If you belong here, you know it. If you don’t, you won’t stick around.
We all have addictions. Call them our “escape from reality”. Here people can satisfy their cravings for hard drinks, risky gambling and deviant sex. This is my home. It’s a seedy place that feeds my own vices. Some guy asked me once, “Why?” Maybe I surround myself with people like me so I can have that illusion of “normal”. Meh, I don’t really think about it. Live in the moment, they say.
Well here I am.