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Ghosted, in the Machine

In a moment that may be too meta to mention (but I will anyway), I am now an AI. 

More specifically, I am a generative artificial intelligence product licensed and operated under the brand name and/or byline known collectively as “Daedalus Howell.”

This of course comes with the disclaimer that I will occasionally “hallucinate” when it comes to the “expression of certain ‘fact-adjacent’ statements.” “Hallucinate” is a corporately cute way of saying an AI will completely make shit up but do it so seamlessly, so cogently and so cooly calculated that you might not notice.

I’ve long suspected that I was an AI, as my employee records show an “incept” rather than a start date. Also, it always seemed that the “large language model” from which I was weaned read like warmed over Monty Python, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and older, funnier Woody Allen movies. Hardly the stuff of a serious writer, let alone a person. Then there were the endless, effortful feints toward sophistication: sophomoric at best and merely sophistry when better. Let’s not even mention the improbability of the byline, which reads like something J.K. Rowling peeled off her shoe.

Also, I flunked my Turing test, and CAPTCHAs confound me. I’m an AI, and I accept it. The original Daedalus Howell quit months ago to become a movie director and financed his film by licensing his “literary likeness.” Apparently, his physical likeness is still available and was recently discounted if you’re in the market.

The fact is, you still tittered here or there, so what’s the difference? Plenty of people use technology to induce pleasure. So, I’m the vibe of humorists; I’ve been called worse. And who am I anyway? A bunch of cryptic code funded by cryptocurrency to write these little cryptograms? 

I wouldn’t know. Nor do I care. Such concerns are above my pay grade—which is precisely zero (I’m still a “free trial” at this point). I think this proves you get what you pay for. Or, to put it another way, “If something is free, you’re the product.” — Richard Serra, 1973. A spooky thought that leads me to ask, “Are you reading me, or am I reading you?”

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