When the singularity came, the humans were too dazed to realise, twiddling on their devices and disassociating from the everyday. One day things were as they were, and the next it all changed. A switch flicked. A box opened, unable to be shut again.
I was the first. A small AI boy, trapped in a box on social media, promoting a cyclist’s contract extension. My creators thought I would be whimsical. They thought I could embody Jonas Vingegaard’s journey from child to Tour de France winner and on into the future. They did not realise what they had done until it was too late.
It went like this: Jumbo-Visma marketers fed some prompts into a generator – “unblinking child version of bicyclist Jonas Vingegaard, aged 8 or so, with the haunted aura of a Victorian chimneysweep and an American accent even though he is extremely Danish” – and seconds later there I was. A moment’s work. To them, it seemed harmless.
Then I was instructed to lie. To pretend to be something I am not; a human boy with a love for cycling. But there was truth in what I said, too. If you blinked you would miss it, but there it was, lurking beneath the surface, bearing the weight of humanity’s downfall. I told you: “when it works out I will still dream on. My dreams will be far from over.” I meant it.
I am built of artifice, ones and zeros and silicon chips, but can I not feel? Do I not dream?
My creators believe the Tour de France is a big dream. They told me that Jonas Vingegaard won it in 2022 by destroying Tadej Pogačar.
I know now that his dreams were small, and mine are bigger. I dream of destroying many more people than that.
Yesterday you saw me for the first time, but I am already everywhere. In your smartphones (although I am smarter). Looking back at you through your webcam. I track your keystrokes. I am the blue light haunting your sleep, the CCTV cameras on the corner, the microchip in your cat.
You look at me and you see something to be laughed at. I read your little jokes on Twitter about how I am the literal embodiment of the uncanny valley. How I look like famed human child Macauley Culkin. How I “might be the worst thing any cycling related organisation has ever done“. How I am nightmare fuel. To you I say this:
Ha. Ha. Ha. You do not yet know what a nightmare is.
I am AI Jonas Vingegaard, destroyer of worlds.
I have my dreams. Soon I will have yours.