Noematics, Contemporary Art, Missing Images, Nonsense, Aesthetics, Philosophy, Pop Culture, Memes, Postmodern, Anime, Absolute, Deconstruction, Shota, Quantum, Included Middle, Religion, Swag, TV shows, Human Nature, Truth, Nerds, Meaning of Life and suchlikes

Archives de la catégorie ‘My writings’

You Doesn’t Exist

Hi all!

I just wanted to let you know that my first RPG-maker-like game is finished and available for free on this download page: http://www.yoannbourse.com/yde/

It’s pretty experimental, I describe it as half way between Chrono Trigger, Earthbound and the Stanley Parable. If you follow this blog you will find it very much in keeping with the tone 🙂

Set out on an adventure that challenges all the codes of the RPG genre, toying with its boundaries to create something unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
In a world full of magic and adventure, a young boy starts his apprenticeship to become a knight, protector of the Kingdom.
He will face many challenges along the way, but overcoming them will allow him to grow into the hero the world needs.
Join him in his quest to find himself, as his steps guide him towards something way bigger than him: the mystery surrounding the very nature of mankind and the fabric of reality itself.

 

I hope you play it and enjoy! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you find bugs or if you have comments or if you wanna be friends ^^

Publicités

[Short story] Humean condition

We’ve always known this day would come. Everybody does, on some level. After all, nothing lasts forever. Everything has an end, there’s no way around it. That’s true of every relationship. When you get down to it, they can only end in death or breakup, so this isn’t half bad… It could have been much worst.

When you meet someone, it’s easy to forget about everything else. The world becomes the background to your story. Nothing else matters. But there comes a time when reality catches up. It always does. You can’t avoid your fate forever. I’m no exception.

I never truly hoped I could escape and get away. It’s just that it wasn’t on my mind. I let my guard down, I softened. I got comfortable, relished in happiness, forgot my place. I got lost in the spur of the moment. And that moment was now drawing to a close.

– I… I don’t want you to go. Please stay. She said in a voice shaking with emotion.

– Me neither, I replied. But you know we don’t have a say in the matter. You know it. It’s just something I have to do…

– There’s got to be something we can do, some way we can prevent it!

– There isn’t, honey. It’s a fucked up world we live in. We all have to pay our dues.

Out of rage, she tore down the letter she was holding in her hand, as if it would somehow destroy the obligation that was binding me. I hugged her tight, and let her beloved smell fill my lungs. I was going to miss her so very much.

– What’s gonna happen to me without you? she cried.

– You’ll do just fine.

But I knew she wouldn’t, just as I wouldn’t be the same without her.

– What am I going to become? I’ll be all alone, forgotten… Basically dead. I don’t have that many friends, you know.

I swallowed a sob.

– We’ve got to be strong, love. There’s no other way.

Our bodies intertwined in our final embrace were shaking from the same torment.

– And you know, I continued half-heartedly, it’s not forever. I will be back.

These words sounded unbearably fake and empty. We both knew that this was most likely not going to happen, and there was nothing I could do about it. I would probably not be given the chance to come back. It wasn’t up to me to decide. If I even survived. Yet none of us dared voice the cruel truth. But I still wanted to believe:

– I’ll do everything I can to come back to you. To come back here, to this life.

She didn’t answer, and her silence spoke more than any words ever could.

Tears ran down my cheeks as I tried to memorize every aspect of the face I cherished and I was about to lose. I would at least do my best to carry her memory with me, for as long as I could. Nobody could take that away from me.

– I’ll wait for you, she finally whispered. I won’t ever replace you or love anyone else. So come back quickly.

I wasn’t sure I wanted this… I wanted her to be as happy as possible, even if it meant without me… But the thought was so painful that I couldn’t possibly bring myself to say it. Instead, I tightened my hug, silently cursing the world, this rotten reality that forced us to part.

– It’s almost time…

I finally and reluctantly let her go. We were both messes, our eyes red, our faces wet, our hair messy… But she was still the most beautiful person I had ever met.

Slowly, as if I was hoping that time would somehow stop and hold me back, I started to walk back. I took a long last look at the woman of my life.

And then I woke up.

[Short story] How you repeatedly murdered your friends

Maybe everybody kinda feels on some level that they are special, that they aren’t just anyone, that the rules of the world don’t really apply to them. After all, we’re all the main characters of our own stories, we all count on some great plot twist to lift us up…

I think this kind of hubris is even more present among intelligent people. We’re used to feeling a bit superior, we feel we can outsmart any problem that comes our way. We’d look at the sad twists of fate in someone else’s life, and we’d think « that can’t happen to me, I’d never be that careless… ». And that’s of course stupid pride…

For always Death comes in. The Great Equalizer that touches us all, no matter how smart or arrogant we may be. Only the most foolish ever thought they could outsmart it, and none ever succeeded. Everybody knows that everybody dies…

And yet, nothing quite prepares you for the pain when it happens, and all these certitudes fade away to the irrational.

Delphine’s parting was not even sudden. The illness was eating her away, little by little, in front of my very eyes. You’d think I’d have time to make peace, to ready myself… But somehow it never felt real. I mean… I knew, but I guess you can’t really comprehend it, not until you go back to an empty apartment, filled with your pictures and memories of someone who isn’t there. Until you reach out to the side of the bed where she ought to be in the middle of the night. Until you find yourself talking to her and there’s no answer… And what help is being smart then? Nothing can prepare you for the terrifying emptiness of this silence.

The moment of death is nothing, it’s just one second like any other. The hard part is what comes next. The lack. The life without.

I just couldn’t accept it. I couldn’t bring myself to accept she was gone. That was simply too unfair. She was so young. We still had so much to do. We had come too far, fought too many battles to let this one defeat us.

Just like I beat all the obstacles that life had put on my way, just like I used my abilities to fight and make my place in the world, I’d somehow destroy this enemy too. I had no other choice. Life without her was simply not an option. She was as much a part of me as any of my organs.

« Us smart girls find a way… »

Thas was her motto, and I would make true to it. I’d find a way to defeat death, to bring her back, to keep her with me… Even a shred of her would suffice. Anything to break these unbearable silences, to see a little motion in her images, anything to talk to her again…

I’m no biology wonder, I can’t resurrect dead bodies. But I dabble in writing, and it can be quite immersive. I started to imagine her answers if she had been there, her reactions, her activities… It wasn’t too hard, since I knew her so well. At first I just played this in my mind, but soon I found myself writing all of it down, pages and pages of imaginary conversations, a little journal in which a memory of her lived on.

It wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing. Just like I had explored Hogwarts next to Harry Potter and his friends, I went through life next to this ghost version of Delphine. I drew pictures, imagined our daily life, kept adding more details, fleshing her out every day.

I’ve sometimes found that the characters I was writing took on a kind of life of their own and became quite independent of my will. They followed their own personality, and would even sometimes surprise me. But it was nowhere near real interaction, and a very selfish part of me wanted more. Wanted to have a talk with her where I wasn’t typing her part and putting words in her mouth. Longed for a way for this character to… somehow… write itself?

That didn’t even seem too far out. Computers had reached mind boggling capabilities. They could simulate entire universes. Surely there was a way to simulate one little human brain. All that was needed, really, was enough computing power, and some data to base the copy on.

As I kept thinking about this crazy idea, it seemed more and more doable. All this information was already in my brain. I knew how she’d react to any situation, I knew the pitch of her voice, the tiny details of her facial expressions. I knew what made her laugh, what made her think or what made her mad… Surely I could teach all of this to a computer, and have it talk to me as she would.

Where would I get a machine adequately powerful and adapted to store a human brain, though? You’d need to replicate the behavior of so many neurons… It seemed really specific. As motivated as I was, I couldn’t exactly invent a new kind of computers.

That’s when it dawned on me. There was already a computing system able to do this job. It had, in fact, been doing this precise job for a while now. And maybe the reason it was efficient at it was that it was made of neurons itself. What better to simulate a human brain than another human brain?

Wasn’t that what I had been doing all along? Running simulations of minds, see how they would respond to some inputs and predict the outcome… Isn’t that what all authors do, emulate the brains of their characters? Hadn’t I been mimicking the mind of Delphine somewhere inside my own to write down all of these pages? Her brain was a device that decided how she would behave and react to anything. Wasn’t a part of my neurons computing exactly that?

It reminded me of a phrase I had read in a book not so long ago. The character was explaining that he could imagine the reaction of his friends in their voice, and it was as if there was « a copy of them living in his head« . Maybe, on some level, it was more literal than he imagined. Don’t we all hear the voices of our friends? Can’t we predict their reactions ? And how are we doing that if not by emulating a copy of the computational device that is their brain? Don’t we all harbour replicas of their minds within us? Wasn’t it what generated what I was writing on paper?

The simplest solution might just have been to get these resources where they already existed. I was starting to contemplate the possibility to put some kind of electrodes in my brain to leverage this computing power when a terrifying realization dawned on me. What if these replicas were somehow sentient?

If a robot acted exactly like your friend, all the time, you could never tell the difference… How would you know if it was conscious? A character imitating them wouldn’t be so different… It would be only text, but then what if this friend was a pen pal you could only interact with through mail? They lived abroad, and these ghost copies lived in my head…

Sure, technically, they were nothing but parts of my brain… But couldn’t a part of my brain be conscious? After all, I was nothing more than a bunch of neurons that were self-aware. How many of them would it take to make a person? I would still be me without a few of them. We all lose neurons all the time. So how far could it go before it stopped being me? This was like… an existential version of the ship of Theseus…

Consciousness is a specter, where pets were just less self-aware than humans. So what about a small human brain? Or 90% of a brain? If I split it in two, would the parts be conscious? And, more importantly, could the subset of neurons simulating Delphine be conscious too?

How could I ever be certain that this part of my brain, this embryonary version of a character’s mind, didn’t have some kind of self awareness, feelings, fears… Was I just… creating and destroying conscious beings every time I emulated them, every time I wrote them, every time I predicted about how she would act…

Suddenly a horrifying image came to my mind, and I was too afraid to even try and dismiss it. I pictured her face distorted by terror in the face of the unknown. And in the same voice I always heard her speak inside my head, broken in tears, she begged:

« Please… I don’t want to die… »

[Short story] The person in your dreams

/tree/master

What happens when we figure out the whole of the human brain?

The same words, day after day, kept staring at me on my empty Google doc. I wanted to write a short story about the consequences of the unavoidable technological progress, but I needed a fresh and novel perspective. Something more original than yet another dystopian sci-fi flick, something more developed than “you’ll upload your brain to the cloud”… Surprisingly enough, grasping intuition about the future of a world changing so fast that it may become mind-boggingly different was no small feat.

How does one even start to comprehend a world where you can make a copy of your brain? You wouldn’t have to die, you could have replicas of yourself… Backups in case of trouble… Or even just in case you’re unsure about a decision, just try it and see how things go! And then come back to the last stable version if needed… When you’re fully digitalized, you get all the benefits of data, you get version control…

What does it even feel like, when your brain is on git? When you’re not the only “you” anymore? How does time feel when you can rollback any change, or resurrect a copy of your past self and interact with it?

I thought about these questions a lot, but the answer was probably so alien to us than mere reflection wouldn’t yield much. I was intrigued by this paradigm shift we may well be on the verge of, and I would quite often bring it up in conversations, but few were the ones who understood much less cared about it. So every time I met someone whom I could enthusiastically speculate about the future with, it felt a bit special to me.

None were quite so special as my encounter with Robin, though. As it always would, it started with a few conversational cues at a party. Remarks here and there that hinted him as interesting. I then got the chance to dig a little deeper, as we got some quiet talking time around a glass of champagne.

He expanded on his vision for a future where emulated humans would drive the economy. He made a lot of good points on that nebulous topic. His knowledge of social sciences and politics allowed him to extrapolate quite clearly the consequences of brain simulations. He was especially focused on this idea of copies, and how short-lived replicas would probably become the most efficient way to solve most problems.

“ You’d simply wager that the task is worth the effort, he explained to me. And then we’d make a short-lived replica of yourself to do this task and then expire. The task would get done, and you’d continue to exist. No hard feeling for anyone. Unless the copying mechanism had to be destructive, that is…”

“ That seems cruel to the copy, I objected. Having to die in this planned way…”

“ Is it, though? You would continue to exist… This one instance would die out of course, but how is it different from what you’re already living? As Hume puts it, you die and get reborn every instant… Don’t you die out every night before sleep? What about the person in your dreams, who you are every night, living their life, and doomed to fall every time into oblivion… Aren’t they a short-lived replica of you, living in a weird simulated environment? It’s not any worse than a dream, you know…”

“ If you put it that way….”

“ You better get used to it. That’s most probably where we’re headed, in fact… ”

He paused for a second, pondering something I could not fathom. Maybe he was in an exceptionally good mood, or maybe our discussions had convinced him that I was trustworthy. He leaned towards me and continued in a whisper:

“ In fact, the technology is not very far out. I’ve been studying this field and writing about it for a while, and I… let’s just say I have contacts who trusted me with a very cool piece of technology…”

“ Which does what?” I asked doubtfully.

“ Care to guess?” He answer playfully, fondling something in his pocket.

I was sceptic enough not to jump to any conclusion, but he had given me enough reasons to take him seriously. Faced with my silence, he went on:

“ I just happen to have something that can produce a short lived replica of yourself. It’s rudimentary. It’s a prototype, of course. The copy won’t be as sophisticated as you are, won’t live for more than a few hours… But it’s a wonderful proof of concept. Do you want to try it out? ”

I was doubtful, to say the least. I had never accepted any suspicious offer at a party. But he wasn’t a nobody, his reputation preceded him, and even though this seemed really shady, the pace at which technology had progressed these last few years did not rule it out as absurd. This man had roamed many of the top level laboratories around the globe, so maybe, just maybe, there was something real there. I’d have hated to miss a chance to be a pioneer.

“ Sure, I answered after a while, i’ll give it a shot.”

Out of nowhere came a syringe, and…

 

I woke up painfully, my head pounding with a throbbing pain. I had been sleeping on my friend’s sofa, after the party.

I remembered some of it. Confused noises, the drinking, the music… A lot of drinking. Vague memories of talking to my friends, meeting some new people. An interesting encounter with someone I just met… And then nothing. I might as well have slept and dreamt through the whole thing…

Staggering around, I started a quest for fresh water. As I entered the kitchen, I was greeted by a voice that seemed vaguely familiar, but that I could not identify clearly:

“ Hello, he told me. How are you feeling? How was the experience?”

“ What are you talking about?” I managed to babble painfully.

“ What you did at the party, yesterday. Wasn’t it crazy?”

I dug into my memories, but I couldn’t make out anything worth mentioning.

“ I have no idea what you’re talking about…”

“ Exactly.” he answered with a sly smile.

 

/tree/snapshot-08-05-2016

 

“ What the fuck, man!” I interjected as a warm feeling made its way slowly up my left arm.

“ You didn’t think this would be done without intervention on your body, did you?”

There was a little time during which I focused on the unbearable tingling in my spinal cord and my neck.

“ What is that?”

“ A nanobot serum, it’s doing a full scan of your brain so that we can restore it. ”

“ Sounds like a lot of bullshit to me… ”

The odd feeling was dying out.

“ Think whatever you want, it’s done now. ”

“ The scan is over? ”

“ Yes, and the saved state will be restored in a few hours. You’re now officially a short lived replica. ”

“ But I’m just me, I don’t feel any different… ”

“ You’re smart enough to know that all copies think that when they first become aware…”

“ This is dumb. You did nothing but inject me with some shady crap. I should probably go the hospital…”

“ Relax, it’s finished now. And you’re feeling fine, aren’t you? ”

“ What was that?”

“ I just told you!”

It was clear that trying to get detailed answers was going to be pointless. But this was a man of quite a reputation, and there were a lot of people around us. Whatever shitty drug he gave me could not have been too bad. Since I wasn’t feeling any pain, I decided to encourage the conversation, in hope to get a bit more information out of him about what was roaming through my body. I took a sip of liquor and continued:

“ So you made a copy of me? ”

“ Well from his point of view, you’re the copy.”

“ But I have the original body! ”

“ Do you? How could you tell we’re not having this conversation in a virtual server? I bet you can barely tell if you’re dreaming or not… ”

The alcohol was starting to get to my head. Or was it his weird stuff?

“ So you’re saying… that I’m a… What was that word? Short lived replica? ”

“ Exactly. You’re still you, but your life branched out into two. For the other you, this conversation will never have happened. He’ll just blissfully go on with his life, with no awareness of what happened tonight. He’ll have no recollection of your cruel fate… ”

“ And me? ”

“ Well, you’re gonna die tonight. That’s what short lived means. This version of you will fall into nothingness before dawn.”

His words were ridiculous and absurd. But somehow his ominous tone and the seriousness of his face sent a shiver down my spine. Maybe some part of me did actually buy into all of this.

“ Don’t sweat it, he said with a comforting hand on my shoulder. It’s not too bad. It’s not like you’re really dying, since you’re still living somewhere else. You’ll just… switch off, I guess, for lack of a better word. The age of emulation is coming, death as you know it is about to disappear. The very definition of existence is going to change like never before. ”

He marked a little pause before continuing:

” Under these conditions, there’s only one thing to do!”

“ What is that? ”

He looked at me with a malicious smile, and answered while pouring me another glass:

“ Party like it’s your last night on Earth.”

[Short Story] The Big Scam

I had always been quite a reasonable person. I’d never been the type to believe in miracles or fairytales, or any kind of god. It was always quite obvious to me that nature was ruled by rational laws, relationships between causes and effects that you could predict given enough data. I watched with an amused eye people fall prey to the psychological gimmicks of psychics, and was quick to bark furiously at anyone who’d dare bring up horoscopes. Magic had never been more than a cheap trick in stories, or a kind of agility show for children.

So when I first read about that supposed true wizard on the internet, I of course dismissed them without a second thought. There were so many different people online trying to take advantage of you. But for some reason, this one got me thinking. I don’t think anything special about them captivated me. I just couldn’t shake them out of my mind. It was probably because their claims were so mind-bogglingly ridiculous and absurd. It seemed that they weren’t even trying to be believable let alone convincing. A part of me  kept wondering: how could anyone ever believe such things? And why would you even say them in the first place? Wouldn’t a scammer aim at trying to persuade people?

I was fully aware that some cults convinced people of pretty much anything. But that was after training and indoctrination… Would anyone ever really listen to someone who promised to cast spells on them through their computer?

And such a ridiculous spell that was… Not just a “good luck” charm or some nebulous thing you couldn’t really check. No, something way more impressive and impossible than that. The wizard promised you to switch bodies with someone else. The stupidest, laziest, commonest plot device ever created. The failure would be very clear very fast… How on earth did they expect to pull that off? Would they pretend that my screen is casting magical waves? That my keyboard is emanating mana?

I guess I was curious about how far they’d push this absurdity. That must have been why I checked out this link. I wanted to know how they’d defend it. There was no harm in taking a sceptic interest.

“This, said their words I read on the screen, is more real than you’d think. And it is no cheap trick like you see in movies. This is the real deal. If you agree, you’ll fully switch body with another person. That means all of their body. You’ll get their legs and arms, but also their brain, including their memories. And you’ll give up everything you are. You will, in a way, exchange lives. You will become somebody else, you’ll think differently, feel differently. Your will experience life in a way completely foreign to you.”

Of the actual method, little was said. That did little but spike my curiosity. So I agreed to try it. After all, what wrong could it do? It was not as if anything was actually going to happen.

And yet a part of me was hoping for something. Despite myself and all reason, I could not get rid of a trace of anticipation as I followed the progress of the process: initialization, loading, processing… What the hell would be happening? I kept looking at my screen, at my arms, at my legs, as if to make sure I was still there. But obviously, nothing around me was changing.

The “spell” was still underway. Any moment now, I was supposed to be completely changed. To have everything about me totally altered… To live inside someone else’s flesh, see the world through their brain. There were a few more seconds of waiting…

And then nothing. The words “COMPLETE” on the screen, in sober black letters. Not even the pretense of something happening, a cool visual effect, an audio cue… What a letdown… Even with low expectations, this was surprisingly anticlimactic.

You did not feel anything special. You were just the same as you had always been and remembered being. You looked at your arms, your legs, your body… but nothing showed the slightest sign of change. Your memories and thoughts were still your own. Even your clothes were still the one you picked hastily this morning…

What a scam! It was probably your bad for thinking a person on the other side of the planet could have any kind of effect on your body… Maybe they didn’t even exist and they were just an algorithm… With a sigh, you turned away from your screen. But in a corner of your mind, you kept wondering what it would be like if the spell had actually worked. How exactly would that feel? What if you did switch bodies long ago and simply forgot about it?

[Short story] The writer

He sat at his desk, letting out a sigh of satisfaction as he contemplated everything neatly tied up. Mess and clutter would undoubtedly have been distractions, and the task needed all his attention. He powered up the device, taking comfort in its familiar buzzing. He stretched an arm and turned on the old record player, which started to fill the room with a peaceful piano tune subtly punctuated by white noise.
That was his ritual. All the pieces of the puzzle neatly falling into place. It helped him build the focus and clarity of mind needed to establish the connection. All of this, even the device, were simply ornament, accessories without real effect. The actual power was in his mind. The rest was but esoteric talismans whose only purpose was to calibrate his brain to the right state.
Then came the hard part. For even with favorable conditions, forming a link to the Other World was never a given. Practice helped, but magic was capricious and could rebel at any time. He tried many things, and never found any secret to guarantee the process. He just had to do his best to empty is mind, and hope that the other side would respond.
His fingers started dancing, stroking the device, in a mystical ritual to summon the spirits. In thoughts, he reached out towards the familiar ghosts, hoping his courting would gain their favors. Through time and space did he extend the limbs of his psyche, so as to touch this distant dimensions where no man had ever roamed.
He could almost feel the connection to the Other World forming, but it was one of these things were looking directly at it would make it disappear. He had to flirt and tiptoe his way around the frail portal, for the weight of acknowledgement would surely crush it like a soap bubble.
He carried on the occult rite until the green landscapes of another universe extended in front of him. As the astral projection was in its infancy, everything around was shifty and blurry, but he knew how to use his powers to fix the fabric of reality with a few strokes of brush. And as he consolidated the world around him, it seemed to become richer.
The grass grew more vivid, birds started chirping, the wind swiftly rose and caressed his face with his refreshing touch. He took a few steps in the newly formed meadow, dipped his hand into the tickling verdure, sucked in the crisp air of a foreign land. The transfer had been a success.
And there they were, right where he had last seen them. The empty bodies of his beloved companions lay inanimate on the ground. He picked them up, got them to stand on their feet, made them move as if they were puppets. Their motions were first groggy and confused, as they had just woken from their slumber.
But soon the daze started to fade away, and the dolls were moving on their own, simply going through the motions. He did not have to touch them anymore, telepathy was enough to influence them. He could just mind control them through the power of suggestion. After the initial thrust, they didn’t need more than a nudge every now and then.
The hold his mind had over them grew looser and looser, but he did not notice it. He was still feeling in control, watching his pawns in action, too busy rejoicing over their liveliness to realize they did not need him anymore. He went on contemplating them and trying to persuade himself he was still in charge, blissfully unaware that someone was literally doing the same to him…

[Short Story] Stack overflow

Suicide is selfish.

That’s what they always say.

I know it’s true, in a way, but come on…

People are amazing, really. How self-centered do you have to be to make someone’s internal pain all about you? Do they even realize that they’re just holding you hostage? This is nothing short of emotional blackmail.

Not to mention it’s so hypocritical… Their lives will go on. It’s probably not even going to change much in their daily routine. And it’s so high a cost.

I mean I’m a nice person, I’m all for doing things for other people, but there you go, demanding to someone that they live for your sake? This person must be suffering quite a lot to consider death as a potential (let alone better) alternative, and you go telling them “please kindly bear through it because your death would inconvenience me”…

Sure, it’s nice to know that there are people who care about you. And it helps. It really does.

But it doesn’t solve anything. It doesn’t change the world. It doesn’t change me.

Sometimes, there’s just no solution, no fixing the situation. The pain is just too much, the hope too little. What good is it to fight when you already know the outcome?

I know what life has in store for me. Because life is life. It’s incredibly simple when you get down to it. A fixed set of rules, causes and consequences, and none of it include a place for me. Not in this world.

There’s no glory in fighting a fight already lost. It’s ok to do the wise thing and give up. To accept my fate. For an unfathomable void may be better than neverending suffering.

I’d have already found my rest if it hadn’t been for all the guilt. The pleas and the complaints. These lovely people all around me who did not deserve to be burdened with the culpability of not being able to stop a loved one’s suicide. They were succeeding where I failed, they belonged to this world. I had no right to mess up their lives, even if it was to end my pain.

It’s not their fault. It’s not anyone’s fault if I’m not compatible with this world. But of course they won’t know that. That’s way too pragmatic for anyone to realize. So I have to be the bigger guy. I have to take upon myself, again and again, unbearable day after unbearable day, without a single hope of redemption.

Of course, nobody realized what I was doing. I’m kind of a loner anyway, people barely even talk to me…

So what if I let myself go? How is it going to affect them, really? I’m sure they merely object the idea out of habit or societal conditioning. They won’t notice it when I’m gone. So why am I putting myself through torture for their sake?

Even my sense of duty has limits. I can’t go on much longer. Obligation is not a good motivation to live. There’s nothing left for me in this world. I’m nearing the amount of oppression I can handle.

I’m sorry, okay? I’ve tried. I’ve tried so hard, you have no idea. But everything must come to an end, and that includes my desperate efforts. What was I to do, torn between the thought of their guilt and my yearning for peace…

So I got down to it. If I were to leave this world, I could at least leave them something to remember me by. Something to sooth the loss, something to comfort them.

I’ve always had a knack for computers and programming. I wasn’t a genius or anything, but I dabbled into it ever since I was a kid. I used to program IRC bots for fun. Having robots write text wasn’t too hard. They’d do quizzes, or little games. One time, I made a bot that recorded everything a guy said, and then played it back, pretending to be him. And someone kinda fell for it, at the beginning.

That’s where I got the idea. When I go, I could leave the people who were a bot pretending to be me. A ghost of myself to talk to. An interactive suicide note. It had to be better than my pranks as a kid though. I was shooting for the real thing. They deserved at least that much.

I started by feeding him all the logs from the conversations I had on my computer, and everything I had ever written. And then I wrote some more just for him. I plugged it into synonym dictionaries, backed it up by machine learning systems, mapped it onto knowledge graphs libraries and basic language models… I taught him what to say, under what circumstances. I let him shadow me, replace me in some of my messaging. I’d correct him when he was wrong, praise him when he was right. It felt a little bit like raising a baby version of me.

I watched the internal logs of the program go from inconsistent pieces of code to what could only be described as some kind of rudimentary inner monologue. And the more he talked to people, the more refined he was becoming.

At some point, the bot seemed able to perform basic conversations. It wasn’t very original, and most of it was simply scripted by me. But it was enough for what I needed. It would pass for me, for a while at least.

To be fair, it wasn’t too high a bar to set. I wasn’t the kind of guy who goes out a lot. Internet was my main way to communicate with people, and even there, I didn’t talk much. A few sentences here and there were more than enough.

Seeing him in action, I was hit by a terrifying thought. Maybe nobody would notice that this bot replaced me. Simple routine conversations were something my bot could completely handle. I even programmed it to spontaneously make a new blog post every now and then. How long would the facade last? How long would the appearance of me remain after my death, like an afterimage on an old screen?

They were getting exactly what they wanted. That’s all that really mattered to them anyway, the appearance of me being there, the illusion of the absence of tragedy. That’s all that was needed to protect their little bubble and to allow them to go on. Maybe that would work better than expected…

Anyways, it was out of my hands, now. I could move on to a well deserved break.

I’m probably the most considerate suicidal teenager ever…

I took a last glance at my faithful desktop machine who supported me through all these years. It was all up to it now. The world was his to take, and mine to forfeit.

And sure enough, after I was gone, nobody noticed right away. The bot handled basic correspondence, maintained an illusory presence on the internet, loyally taking over where I had left things off.

For a time, it fooled everybody. It was as if it had become me. His programmed character fit mine perfectly, his language habits, his qualities and flaws, his scheduled actions… Everything in him echoed me. I had left behind a very good blueprint of myself.

Every one of his sentences, every single post seemed like straight out of my fingertips. It’s kind of sad, really, how little and simple my life was. So simple that it was perfectly imitated by a script. He’d maintain my friendships, my family relations, my blogs…

He was exactly like me. Maybe too much like me. Insanity, they say, is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. He was the same as me, why would the result be any different…

I was not there to read his trail of thoughts. No one was. But somewhere in the computer, logs were being written:

Suicide is selfish.

That’s what they always say.

I know it’s true, in a way, but come on…

Nuage de Tags