ISSUE 25

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  Look at your dog. Is he normal or a little too… dumb? See, eating fifteen chocolate bars and peeing on the comforter for the past three years was all cover for government surveillance. Dumb? No. Lassie has never been so clever, so in control, so morally ambiguous. And really you should have known with the MONITORING HUMAN PRESENCE charge on the vet bill and the fact that Lassie’s been crapping out government faxes when you go for a walk. Huh, it all makes sense now.    
  Man’s best friend was the initial step. Next will be a Planet Of The Apes experiment, and if we survive that, some unlucky guy in Idaho will get the first brain chip. He’ll think he’s been abducted by aliens, but it’s actually a bunch of IBM engineers who are terrible at public relations.
  And then he will die—not from anything computer related but simply because he choked on a spoonful of peanut butter. Unbeknownst to many, peanut butter may kill more people than terrorists each year.[1]
  With the first models, everything will be free, and the internet will never have been so… handy. Knowing that Jamestown was settled in 1607 will be completely irrelevant, as well as knowing anything fact-based. Academics will realize that processing information is now infinitely more important and will be pleasantly vindicated in their life choices. Two months later, engineers will figure out a way to jam a processor into the brain, and most academics will become alcoholics.
  The initial stages of brain-chip-dom will be trying. Some will complain about the large satellite array attached to the back of the head, and not being completely waterproof, it will occasionally shock the bejesus out of the user. Also, confusion regarding the exact procedure to install the chip will lead to many ingesting computer hardware and hoping it meanders its way to the brain. It will not.
  Along the way, Microsoft software updates will convince several hundred thousand people they’re the second incarnation of Jesus. Thousands of new religions will be formed—none of them, unfortunately, advocating peanut butter awareness.
 It’s a brief but bright period between the completion of a functioning brain computer and Google purchasing life. Many will protest the buyout, as heretofore life had only been owned by God, evolution, energy, or whoever purchased the largest firearm. Most will upgrade to Life Premium (only a small monthly payment of $399.99), but the rest will live through advertisements every fifteen minutes.  

[1] There’s no statistic gauging that sort of thing but “may kill” could apply to anything. Llamas may kill more people than sharks. Obscure French literature may kill more literature majors than car accidents. A homicidal house plant may kill more cats than heart disease.
   
  Google will then be hacked by Russia, and many users will be forced to harvest the Motherland’s potatoes for the rest of their lives. One moment, they’re perusing their email, the next they’re introducing themselves to comrades Vlad and Olga Voskoboynikov, digging holes in a chill Saint Petersburg drizzle, and trudging down the long, dark road of communist utopia.
  Of course, with the Russian government in control of Google, getting taxes done on time, subsisting on a diet of fabricated government crop futures, and invading Crimea have never been easier.
  The rest of humanity, running on Apple Life, will be fine. But as soon as computers get kidneys, adopt rescue dogs, and demand equal voting rights, the line between machine and human will blur. Electronics will want to be friends with humans on Facebook, and you have to do it, otherwise the microwave burns popcorn to all hell, and no one can have Easy Pop kettle corn again.
  The computers will eventually take over, of course, and install an electrocution chip to zap humans when they think something anti-computer or get close to thinking something anti-computer or just because Lord Master Computron—MAY IT BE PRAISED—felt like causing unjustified pain.
  After the Zapotron chip, what’s to stop machines from replacing a human’s head with a machine head? Why even have humans at all? It’s perfect without the pesky Homo sapien. With climate change, it will be a balmy eight-five everywhere and the computers will relax in air-conditioned rooms and vlog about what their adorable human android did yesterday and the only sound will be a quiet, electronic hum and everything will be grand. Just grand.
    
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