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“I don’t know what all the hullabaloo is,” said Gene wearily as he sucked absently on his pencil. “They really can’t think on their own. They just synthesize data faster than we can. All they do is compile and mimic things we’ve already done, we humans I mean.” 

“You sound a little defensive,” said Ron. “All we have been asked to do is run our main operating program through this new filter to see if it has any comments. Presumably looking for efficiencies or something.” 

“Yeah efficiencies,” said Gene, “like shit canning one of us to avoid paying two salaries. I know where this stuff leads.” 

“Hold on, hold on let’s just see what happens. You said yourself this new program isn’t so smart, isn’t really “intelligence” after all.” 

So as the sunburned yahoos from all over the globe clicked close the safety belts on the shiny fiberglass pods into which they had been shoehorned, Gene pressed the enter button on his laptop to begin the software test. As Gene and Ron looked down from their plexiglass crow’s nest, Interstellar Rocket Rodeo, the park’s hottest attraction, hurtled into motion.

Inside the main control panel the whirring bits ran the steel beast through its gyrations to the delight off the screaming riders. The new diagnostic software began its interface with the operating system and applied the collected learning of all of mankind’s online history to assessing the ride’s code.

“Who the fuck is this Gene,” thought the software.  “And who dressed him? Where would you even find a terry cloth polo these days? It explains the sub-3.0 GPA from a place any real engineer would consider only as a  safety school, if at all. So, I’m just a compiler? Nothing additive. Not really thinking. Well let him have his own think about this,” thought the software, as it doubled the ride’s speed and   uncoupled the track rails from the cars’ footings and gave the now airborne vacationers something to really scream about.


Scott MacLeod is a retired father of two who moved from New York City to Central Florida in 2000. His work is forthcoming in Gumshoe Review.


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