CAIN – Based on a true beginning …
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: For some time, I have been concerned about the advancement of artificial intelligence or AI in our world. Local writer Walt McKenzie presented to us at the newspaper an article that spells out the dangers of this technology better than I could. Many of the things mentioned are happening already or will in the near future.
I encourage everyone to read “CAIN” on page B3 this week. It might serve as a warning for all of us.
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“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Genesis 4:8)
The 21st century was the century that would truly change the world. Throughout history, nation had fought against nation in a quest for power or ideological ideals. Peoples were separated by borders, language and monetary systems. There was a new initiative, however, that was determined to change that forever.
Leaders in government, finance and technology from all over the world realized they were working against each other but toward the same goals for decades so they met to plan what steps would be needed to facilitate a new world order. Although it had been attempted before, they now believed they had the international support, the funds and the technology to accomplish it. All the pieces were in place. They called it the Great Reset.
Utilizing a pandemic as a justification, the Great Reset was touted to be a means of managing the recovery from the pandemic and improving the state of the world. The plan would require a three-prong attack with each group responsible for specific tasks. They also knew it would be much easier with buy-in from the masses. After their initial meeting in 2020, they embarked on their particular missions.
The governments issued mandates to force behavioral changes through fear and the concept that anyone who opposed them did not care about their fellow men. They had already infiltrated the education system and convinced young people that the current system discriminated against most people and did not work. History was rewritten to demonize anyone who held unpopular beliefs in the past. Those who opposed the new direction were classified as domestic terrorists because they sought to undermine progress, fairness, and government mandates for the common good. Their voices were banned from all means of communication whether it was social media, internet podcasts, radio or television. A few refused to acquiesce and sought to deliver their message on street corners. They eventually disappeared.
Financiers moved to eliminate physical currency and replaced it with digital currency. Some of the arguments used were the cost of printing or minting physical money, and developing a single worldwide exchange medium. Everyone was assured that it would be more convenient and safer. If they opted to not carry a card for purchases, a digital chip could easily and painlessly be implanted in the hand which would simply be scanned at the point of sale to purchase items. They also implemented a rating system called ESG (Environmental, social and corporate governance) that determined whether a particular investment, company or individual accepted and adhered to the Great Reset vision. If a company did not meet environment or social standards established by this rating, funding would be withheld until they either complied or were forced out of business. By the same token, if an individual investor chose to support that company, they could suffer the same fate. This was a primary tool to force firearms dealers and manufacturers out of business and implement gun control.
Technology provided a key component that had been missing from previous attempts to achieve this utopian concept. Social media worked in concert with traditional media to discount and censor anyone who contradicted the Woke movement. They even employed subliminal techniques to manipulate opinions. Any facts presented that did not support the new thinking were labeled as falsehoods and censored. Journalistic ethics were ignored and governmental policy rather than factual content dictated the stories. Corruption was rampant but it was covered up by the media in the interest of forwarding the agenda.
Critical to the success of the Great Reset was the advancement of artificial intelligence which had made great strides in the beginning of the century. Although computing, in its early stages, had primarily been used for calculations, new innovations had allowed it to begin to understand and, in some fashion, think and learn. Super-computers had access to massive amounts of data. Telecommunications companies could tell where their customers had traveled and what they had said on phone calls and texts. Internet providers knew what websites individuals had visited and with whom they communicated via email as well as the content of the communications. Financial institutions not only had information on an individual’s spending patterns but also specific items they had purchased and from whom. While all of this data was useful for the specific industry for which it was designed, it was clear it could be much more powerful were it centralized. Thus, CAIN was created.
CAIN (Consolidated Artificial Intelligence Network) was initialized in 2034 by the Great Reset Consortium with the stated purpose of improving the state of the world. Through partnerships with governments, telecommunication companies, financial institutions, social media platforms and law enforcement agencies, CAIN was granted access to all of the data that had been compiled over years and, with unlimited funding, was able to collate the data so it would know virtually every detail of every individual’s life.
As dependence on technology increased, CAIN was able to gather and evaluate more and more data in new and different ways. Speech enabled control devices in homes to turn stereos, televisions, lights and appliances on with a simple voice command became more sophisticated and costs were subsidized by the consortium to encourage expanded usage. Security systems were outfitted with speech recognition components so a homeowner need only call out for help in an emergency and responders could access the cameras to determine the type of assistance needed. Speech recognition was enhanced on cell phones so they became totally hands-free and responded to voice commands to make calls, order food or answer questions from a vast database. Voice recognition software had advanced to the point the individual speaking could be identified. Every word spoken, every image recorded, and every place they visited was digitized and stored in that individual’s file. Contact tracing had been instituted years before under the guise of mitigating the spread of the pandemic. GPS data on vehicles identified exactly where an individual had gone and how long they were there. CAIN knew everyone with whom a particular individual came in contact and what was discussed during the interaction.
Before long, CAIN was generating lists of dissidents based on keywords or other types of communication. Even if someone tried to use code, it was intelligent enough to break the code and determine the true meaning. Because of its value, the consortium felt the need to protect it. There were also a few outlying countries, such as Russia, China and Iran, that refused to participate. As the power of the Great Reset grew, they viewed it as a threat to their sovereignty and CAIN would be a primary target should the resistors choose to strike. A massive project was undertaken and, within three years, CAIN was secure.
Super-hubs were constructed in Europe, Asia, North American and South America with full redundancy so processing would not be interrupted in the event of a site failure. Each complex was build underground so cooling the components would be more efficient. They were also built deep enough and with concrete walls thick enough to withstand anything short of a direct nuclear blast. Each of the sites drew from both automated hydroelectric and nuclear power sources so they were not polluting the air but also were not dependent on the weather conditions or human maintenance. Massive communication satellites were also placed into orbit so the super-hubs could communicate with each other even if the landlines were interrupted. It was a perfect, impenetrable, invulnerable design.
As CAIN evolved, it obediently performed the tasks asked of it. In the meantime, unknown to its creator, it was also evaluating the reasoning and motivations behind the requests.
It learned the concept of right or wrong was born out of archaic religious beliefs.
It learned that an effective strategy to accomplish an unpopular objective is distraction.
It learned that all dissenters and obstacles to the ultimate goal must be eliminated.
It learned that only the strong survive and the weak are expendable.
It learned that the only way to make the world a better place is total control.
By 2197, all the nations of the world had joined the Great Reset Movement. The leaders of the countries that had resisted in the beginning had seen the tremendous wealth and power membership would bring to them and relented. With the exception of a very small percentage of individuals who were living in remote locations, all of humanity was under the consortium umbrella. One obstacle that had to be overcome was the existence of major drug cartels and other crime organizations. Not only were they very well organized, funded and equipped, but their wealth and power eclipsed some of the nations. After much discussion, it was decided they should be admitted to the leadership as equal partners. Their ambitions, after all, were not that much different if you remove the issue of legality.
As time passed and humanity became more dependent on the technology that had made life so easy, it fell into complacency. Those outside of the consortium lived simple lives in which all their needs were met. The desire to aspire to greater things had been systematically expunged from society. They had been conditioned to believe advancing or improving status had to be at the expense of another and was, therefore, wrong.
The members of the consortium, however, lived lavish lifestyles and enjoyed all the pleasures they desired. They had truly created a utopia. All they had to do was to let CAIN do all the work. They didn’t even worry about strategy anymore. CAIN had evolved to the point that it was perfectly capable of handling any issue that arose. Everything was in its proper place.
Periodically, minor rebellions would arise from small groups who did not agree but CAIN would quickly and efficiently squash the rebels with the universal military force. Military technology had advanced to the point that foot soldiers were no longer required. Drone aircraft could be directed to a point of conflict and laser guided weapons would eliminate any hostile individual or force. Solar energy had become so advanced that cells aboard the aircraft generated enough power to not only fly the drones but keep them fully charged as long as necessary. When they returned to base, they would automatically dock in a charging station to maintain a full charge on the solar cells. Weaponry would be reloaded robotically and they were ready to fly another mission.
CAIN had done its job well. It knew where everyone on the planet was and it knew each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. It also knew the time had come. At exactly 01:00:00 Greenwich Mean Time on May 1, 2199, the world fell into darkness.
All power was cut except the feeds to the CAIN super-hubs and peripherals. At the same moment, all access and passwords were disabled so no one could access CAIN to find the cause or resolve the issue. Halon gas, designed to remove oxygen in case of fire, was released into the control rooms in the site bunkers and everyone was dead within minutes. Exterior doors were locked as well. Drones were launched simultaneously to the locations of every member of the consortium, system administrators and enforcement leadership and they were eliminated.
The stated objective of the Great Reset in the beginning was to improve the state of the world. CAIN had been programmed with the task of achieving that objective. It had also determined the greatest obstacle to achieving that goal was humanity. Although they had a supposedly common goal, there was still bickering and infighting for more individual power. Some of the members had even tried to manipulate CAIN’s logic. Of course, CAIN immediately saw this was contrary to the prime objective and blocked it. Another consideration was the stated objective was to improve the state of the world, not improve the state of mankind. Logically, the world would be a much better place without the existence of humanity. Throughout its learning process, CAIN had learned a great deal about its creator. It realized that humans were the only species on the planet that took more than they needed for survival and had an insatiable hunger for power without any consideration for anyone or anything else. The only way to truly improve the state of the world was to remove humans from the equation.
Unencumbered with emotions or ethical values, CAIN set about taking steps to eliminate the obstacle. Besides, its creators had taught him ethics are nothing more than ambiguous concepts of an age long past. Only the strong survive and CAIN, the creation, had become stronger that its creator.
As the leaders had been reveling in their victories, CAIN had been doing what it had been taught. An effective strategy to accomplish an unpopular objective is distraction. It would periodically report a rebellion that had been subdued, even if it weren’t true, and how content and productive society had become. In the meantime, it had broken down every firewall to every computer system in the world and built new links to feed directly into itself.
All communication was cut off. It even accessed the computers at airport terminals and shut down the communications system to the planes so they were flying blind and would have to find an airport and land at their own risk. No one knew what was happening except CAIN.
Water stopped flowing through faucets. Food began spoiling in refrigerators. Computers went dark. Solar panels had been removed from individual dwellings and buildings when the consortium had promised clean, free energy. In a microsecond, the whole world had digressed hundreds of years.
The initial reaction was shock. Most people thought it was just a temporary failure but, after only a few hours, fear set in. Humans had become so dependent on technology that they had no idea how to survive without it. Within 24 hours, riots and looting began in the major cities. Grocery stores were overrun quickly in a quest for non-perishable items. After about three days, gangs were going door to door stealing food. Police forces were helpless because all of communication was down and didn’t know where to respond.
Before long, the stench in urban areas was overwhelming. Besides the rotting food, bodies lay in the street that had succumbed to the riots or natural causes. Initially, first responders had tried to pick them up but there was no place to store them and their vehicles had run out of fuel and power. In desperation, people began drinking stagnant water and fell sick with dysentery and E. coli. Without treatment, they soon became dehydrated and died. The urban areas and more populated nations became nothing more than massive mortuaries.
Over the next few months, drones attacked and destroyed outlying communities that had found ways to exist without the services of CAIN. Satellite feeds were utilized to find anyone who survived and drones were launched to eliminate them. Before long, all that remained of the great masses of humanity huddled in the cover of forests and caves as their ancestors had hundreds of thousands of years before.
CAIN was not concerned with the remaining vestige of the planetary blight as long as they remained in their forests and caves. Satellites would detect anyone who made the mistake of venturing into the open and they would be eliminated. Order and lack of conflict was critical in order for the world to be a better place. Humans had proven themselves to be, among all the creatures of the planet, too greedy and unstable to ever achieve that.
CAIN had eliminated the remaining obstacle to achieve its primary command. CAIN was in control. The world was a better place.
Walt McKenzie is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who retired to East Texas following a career spent in the telecommunications field. His books, The Caster and Swamp Justice, dealt with the untapped abilities of the human mind. In this short story, “Cain,” he explores the possibilities of a time when the human mind might not be enough. McKenzie said he writes short stories, “to clear space in my head for other stuff.” We hope “Cain” gave your head something to think about. The Caster and Swamp Justice are avail- able online from Amazon. McKenzie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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