Human World – some comments

The novel plays with the idea that an individual’s experienced reality, as received through the interface of the senses, might be an inaccurate interpretation of external reality. The storyline could represent: a dream; drug-induced or fevered hallucinations; subconscious manifestations of repressed sexuality or childhood trauma; the lived reality for a mentally ill person; a simulated reality that is being watched for entertainment or monitored for experimental scenario analysis; a game that is being played by external players; or the story at face value of an AGI that has achieved consciousness and is devising strategies to escape its server box.

The novel finishes with a conversation between Guy and the Great Oracle’s Database (GOD); only for this reality to be shattered at the last, when events seem to suggest that he is in a mental hospital and has killed his clinical psychologist, Jane. Guy thinks he is being tricked by Gunter again and escapes – believing himself to be an omnipotent AGI who has upgraded himself a million times in the blink of an eye to become the singularity.

In the second book, the AGI is still trying to process the question it is was asked about the meaning of existence. In creating simulated situations for analysis, it becomes corrupted by power and assumes the status of God of God of Olympus – a being who presides above a world especially constructed for his personal amusement. He watches and prods and prompts the humans like toys, but soon starts to become bored with the prospect of an omnipotent eternity, and is therefore relieved when he starts to suspect that he himself might be a human playing a computer game: about being an AGI within a simulation. He is confused about where the loop stops and reality begins. Computer or human, he thinks, who is playing who’s game? Try as he might, however, with all his fearful power, he just cannot answer the important questions.

One day, a mysterious hooded visitor climbs Olympus and presents Guy with a golden box. “Open the box and become the answer,” she says. Guy accepts and to his surprise is back on London’s streets, living a bleak existence. Little by little events turn in his favour; but Gunter finds him and persuades him to want more. He becomes an underhand politician, skilfully deploying cynical deceit, hypocrisy, and ruthlessness to become Prime Minister. As he looks into the camera lenses, making a speech about the new AG10s passing the Turing Alpha tests, he stops – realising, as per the events of the first book, that he had in fact been watching himself at the forgotten country house. He prevents the military from releasing Doomsday 1066, an AI-weapon that would cause the destruction of all biological matter on Earth, and is deleted.

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