The man that killed the world is being lauded as the better of the billionaires because he launched a cloned app that bans you if you aren’t positive. It’s like if you were stuck underneath a boulder and instead of removing it, Mark Zuckerberg replaced it with a less jagged one with a smiley face painted on it. “thanks mark i love you” I wheeze as my lungs crush under the weight. He chokes me out on Instagram Live to show Musk that he could beat him in a fight.
The couple stares deeply into each of their own phone screens as their server stops by to let them know they can pay by scanning the QR code. I’m on an evening dog walk weaving my way through the network of the now permanent covid-era sidewalk restaurant seating. The soft blue glow of everyone’s phones reminds me of the aisle markers on a plane. This has to be the most visceral change after the pandemic years. The family outside of the bougie new ice cream shop are all doubled over and scrolling. The little boy’s rocky road splats on the ground and the only one to notice is my pup. Up ahead on a first-level balcony of the destoryingly ugly new apartment complex, I see the contour of two human faces barely lit by their phone screens. Gargoyles of the city-to-come, seated on their camping chair thrones.
My relationship with Amy is a bit toxic. Every morning she tells me in no uncertain terms that the world is ending. I boil the water, she tells me about extreme weather events, I grind the beans, she tells me about the migrant crisis, I wait for it to brew, she tells me that AI is an existential threat to humankind, I sip my coffee, she assures me WWIII is imminent, I go to work, she starts preparing for tomorrow.
Group DM interaction:
Zach: **screenshot of a tweet that reads: “BREAKING: A new comprehensive study presented in front of the Pennsylvania Senate finds zero Amish children diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, or autism.”**
Dan: Probably hard as fuck to diagnose cancer without technology
If the man who I pay $5 a month to tell me smart ideas about art and technology says that contemporary art that doesn’t feature the internet is bad then why is this goopy ceramic sculpture with huge boobs so good?
In 1900 the average person didn’t have access to any art-making supplies, never mind camera and film equipment. In 2023 the majority of teens want to be streamers or content creators, and they can make videos better than most film school kids. “You should make art with the newest medium possible,” I say to myself as I type, “Joe Biden wearing jnco jeans” into Midjourney. Does an art form stop being one when it’s totally ubiquitous? Almost no one I know makes paintings.
All the 50-year-olds are telling me that the world is ending. All the 20-year-olds too. I turned 30 this week and I feel alright.
We lean in to kiss but our Apple Vision Pro’s knock into one another and I end up kissing her cheek by accident. We both laugh at the clumsy encounter. As I gaze into her 3D avatar eyes I imagine slipping my fingers under the rim of her headset and pulling it off to reveal her human ones. My Apple watch dings and a notification appears in my field of vision saying that my heart rate is abnormally high. Relaxing music streams into my headset as a calm.com ad begins.
This morning Amy told me about the Congolese child slaves that dig with their hands for the cobalt that’s used in our phones. I open Instagram and see a meme that says “DID YOU TOUCH DIRT TODAY??”. I can feel the cobalt burning behind the pixels. The next post is from the one news account I follow called Ground News and it’s about how researchers in Canada have found sediment at the bottom of a lake that is specifically human. Plutonium from atomic testing, fossil fuels, and fertilizers have entered the geologic record. Someone told me once that with the amount of cement humans have produced there will be a solid layer of it in the Earth’s crust in the future. I regret not writing my name into the just-poured sidewalk I walked my dog past the other day.
It feels like we’re at the end of the world but somehow things will go on forever. Wars, capitalism, the discourse, ai generated media, etc. Post-history is the beginning of endlessness. Everything going on and on and on, and so on. I wonder if each generation feels like the world is ending, or if ours is actually unique. Regardless, I stole the title of this piece from the 2019 film by Swedish director Roy Andersson. His movie isn’t about ai, but I think it’s a fitting name for the 2020s, so like a good training model I scraped it and reused it. And anyway, everything’s about ai now that it’s here. Next year I’ll probably be able to remake his movie about whatever I want and also put Tom Cruise in it. In the future, the only two meaningful generational divides will be before or after the first consumer-facing ai companies trained their models. Are you finite or endless?
ChatGPT told me the tone of this piece is, “critical, sarcastic, and slightly pessimistic” and titled our conversation “Cynical Tech Critique.”
I started walking my dog at night recently to avoid the heat and when we walk past the hookah lounge the man who sits out front gives her a treat. Every time, without fail.
Thanks for reading, subscribe if you want the next one in your inbox. Thanks