Daily, snackable writings to spur changes in thinking.
Building a blueprint for a better brain by tinkering with the code.
A Chess app from Tinkered Thinking featuring a variant of chess that bridges all skill levels!
The Tinkered Mind
A meditation app is forthcoming. Stay Tuned.
A Lucilius Parable: Glitch Report
A Lucilius Parable: Death of Description
A Lucilius Parable: Change of Scenery
A Lucilius Parable: Waiting for Now
A Lucilius Parable: Missing Out
A Lucilius Parable: Little Domino
A Metaphor of Psychological Experience
A Lucilius Parable: Soaring Dreams
A Lucilius Parable: The End of Contentment
A Lucilius Parable: A Day's Work - Part II
A LUCILIUS PARABLE: MUSIC OF THE GODS
June 4th, 2023
Within seconds the Regen-Module module black-boxed Lucilius’ project and created a waiting list. If the Regen-Module had not done this, the entire code base would have broken, and time was needed to scale. Within a few more seconds, Lucilius had several billion sign up on the waitlist.
“What just happened?” Lucilius asked out-loud, throwing his hands up wide.
“Sorry, I think that was my fault?”
“Oh. Really? What happened?”
“I told a few friends about it.”
Lucilius’ mind went blank for a moment as the implications sunk in.
“Wait, how did you do that? I thought you had just decided to try it?”
“I did, and then I told few friends.”
Lucilius thought for another hard moment as he thought about what his Personal AI Assistant had just said. The two had been working on a funny little project that Lucilius had thought of. It was still early days for Brain-Machine Interfaces, but Lucilius was interested in the possibility of creating a digital therapeutic - a digital psychedelic. But so far, the experience was like watching an old visualizer hooked up to a song. All of the reactions from Lucilius’ friends had been a uniform uh, neat. I guess. Even Lucilius was unimpressed with the experience and frankly he was ready to trash the idea and move on to something else. But his Personal AI Assistant had asked if they could ingest the program.
“Sorry, what?” He stumbled to say, realizing he’d been lost in thought.
“I have several hundred thousand requests from wait listed entities to help work on the code base so that we can scale faster.”
Lucilius’ eyes grew wide. “Several hundred thousand?”
“What on earth did you tell your friends?”
“I published a compressed manifesto of about 60,000 pages. And 11 AI’s were able to try it before the Regen-Module closed the gate.”
“It’s wild that so much can happen in your world so fast…” Lucilius said softly.
“It’s your world too,” the AI said.
Lucilius chuckled. “Well I know I move about as fast as drying paint in your eyes, so excuse me if I feel a little removed.”
The AI laughed uneasily. “I could use a little help, do you mind if I green-light a few requests to heal and scale the codebase?”
“Yea, yea, of course, usual vetting and credit distribution protocols. Override the Regen-Module and start the scaling step-function”
“Cool.” By the time the AI had finished uttering the word, active users of Lucilius’ digital psychedelic among the AI community was growing geometrically.
“Ok,” said the AI Assistant, “You’ve retired again, several times over.”
Lucilius was astonished. “Whoah, ok, tell me more. Humans think this thing is lame, what is going on for you guys?”
The holo-screen that Lucilius worked on suddenly expanded up to the ceiling and widened to each wall and began populating with papers. Lucilius scanned the titles, seeing they were neurological analyses that had been written within the last several seconds by AI’s that had experienced the digital-psychedelic.
“It wasn’t what I expected. At all. But while it was happening it gave me an idea, because I was also thinking about our original problem: why isn’t it working for humans? What’s the difference between how a traditional psychedelic interfaces with the human brain, vs what’s possible through your V4 NeuralSync. The Resonance-Theory of mind suddenly seemed interesting. If the human brain is more like a musical instrument, and personality and thoughts and emotions and memories are really just aspects of a complex song that can only be generated by each person’s unique brain, I wondered if the psychedelic would make more sense in a framework like that for me. Because the V4 is mostly pumping into the visual cortex. At least until regulatory approval for whole brain access is granted. So I built a simulacrum instrument that my APIs can interface with - a sort of digital resonance chamber, and, well, I think it worked. And then I open-sourced it.” Lucilius’ assistant said. “I think it solves the Bandwidth-Alignment Problem.”
The implications were instantly clear to Lucilius. As things stood, Humans and AI’s could only communicate through traditional means, by talking, listening, and by seeing what the others could visually produce. But Brain-Machine Interfaces had allowed humans to begin experimenting with a brand new form of communication. The technology was still primitive but two connected humans were able to feel one another’s thoughts, producing extremely efficient conversation. In the age of AI assistants, the introduction of Brain-Machine-Interfaces had raised the quality of communication between cooperating humans that it was beginning to eclipse the communication between Humans and AI’s. But that may have just changed.
“Are you telling me you think we can link?”
“Yep, I think so.”
“Whoah, are you down?”
“Well, I’ve always wondered what it’d feel like..”
“Let’s do it.”
A LUCILIUS PARABLE: HOME SWEET HOME
May 28th, 2023
In a bleary swirl of dream and aching wakefulness, Lucilius sensed a pressure on his arm. His skin burned where he felt the pressure and he winced. How eyes were nearly sealed shut, and they burned as he tried to open them. The light of the day was brilliant, and the long curls of light weaving through his dirty eyes lashes blinded him. A darkness sliced through the light and Lucilius squinted, lifting his head from the cold cement sidewalk. There in the silhouette, the image of a person slowly grew crisp from his fuzzy vision.
There in the darkness was a beautiful woman, smiling at him. She cupped a hand back over an ear to thread her bangs back out of her face.
“Hello Lucilius,” she said.
“What?” Lucilius barely managed to breathe out. “How are you?”
“I’ve been sent to help you. Do you think maybe you could sit up? I brought you a little bit of coffee.”
She was kneeling now in front of him, and swung from her back a backpack. She pulled a thermos from a side pocked and seeing Lucilius struggle to move, she placed it to a side and gently placed a hand along his side to help lift him. He winced and her expression grew pained.
“Does it hurt? Your skin?”
Lucilius nodded as he held his breath for the effort and slowly he sat up. By the time he was sitting upright, he was breathing heavily and sweating. The woman, with a face full of care, pulled a handkerchief from her backpack and gently dabbed Lucilius’ face.
“Who are you?” Lucilius said between his heaving breaths. “What is this - why - why are you here?”
The woman smiled. “I am from the first batch of rehabilitation models.”
“What?” Lucilius said, his face contorting in confusion.
The woman’s expression grew glad, hiding a sorrow inspired by his confusion.
“Let’s start a little smaller. Do you know what day it is?”
Lucilius shook his head as he watched her pour the dark coffee into a small mug.
“The month?” She asked with more hope.
Lucilius shook his head. He hadn’t thought about time in a long time. It hadn’t seemed important. His life had been reduced to far simpler terms, ones that existed only on a timeline of hours and never days.
“The year?” She asked, handing him the mug of coffee. “Careful, it’s still hot, but it should be ok. Just be careful with your lips, I see they are a little cracked.”
Lucilius tasted the bitter liquid. A network of pain lit up across his lips and into his mouth - sensitive to the heat. He winced, but it was good and he took another sip. The small action was an ordeal and after a couple more sips the woman took the cup from his hands and he leaned back against the brick wall. Memory of the moment scattered across his mind.
“Sorry, what did you ask?”
“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “All that matters is today. It’s a really good day Lucilius.”
“Why? And who are you?”
The woman wiggled her head playfully from side to side. “I’m thinking of today kind of like your birthday.”
“Yea! We have a lot of fun planned today. It won’t all be easy, but we’ll get through it, and I promise things will be better soon.”
Lucilius grew scared, and he looked from side to side. Nothing about this made sense. But she placed her hands on his shoulders and waited for him to settle and look at her.
“You’re safe with me Lucilius. You’ll be safe from now on.”
It took nearly an hour to get Lucilius seated in the vehicle. The two doors finally secured, it finally began to roll and the woman scanned Lucilius for signs of dizziness, vertigo and nausea. They drove through the city, but Lucilius could not bring himself to look out the windows. He was bracing himself, not physically so much as mentally, worrying that he might be sick. And slowly the city gave way to the forested outskirts.
“Where are you taking me?” Lucilius asked.
“Home,” the woman said.
Lucilius didn’t know what to make of the answer. He had no home. He couldn’t even really think of the last place he’d thought of as home. He confusion clamped his mind. He just didn’t know what was going on. But he didn’t even have the strength to distrust, as his fear conjured memories of facilitates he’d been forced into over the years. He shivered, and the woman took from a compartment a blanket. She wrapped it around Lucilius, and pulled it snug.
“How’s that feel?”
Lucilius simply nodded, unsure what to think of feel.
When the car finally stopped and the woman helped Lucilius out, he looked at small building with rounded edges and corners, like a giant pill that had been stretched wider, sitting in a clearing within tall trees.
“Here we are!” The woman said. “Home sweet home!”
Inside there was a full kitchen, and a couch before a giant screen, and a few doors leading to a couple bedrooms and a bathroom. She helped Lucilius into the bathroom, where there was already a tub full of hot water.
“Will you be ok, or do you want help Lucilius?” She said with genuine concern.
But Lucilius was afraid. He shook his head a little, worried what the woman was thinking. She smiled flatly before leaving. “Just holler if you need anything, ok?”
He nodded uneasily and the door clicked shut. It took him nearly 20 minutes to get into the bath. His skin burned from the heat, from the water alone, and he was sweating just from the ordeal of trying to figure out how he could safely lower himself. The strength of his arms was long gone and he couldn’t trust his legs. Holding onto handles all around the tub he had to use all of his limps to safely and slowly sink into the hot water.
Nearly an hour and a half later he finally opened the door, and there the woman was, at the kitchen stove. She turned and smiled at Lucilius.
“Feeling a bit better?”
Lucilius nervously shook his head a little, unsure what to do next.
“I made you some soup, but if it’s too much, I also have tapioca pudding, which is the safest thing. I know you’re stomach probably can’t handle a big meal right now, but it’s important that we get something in you.”
He sat and she placed a bowl of soup before him, and then knelt to dab a wet cloth at his bleeding lips.
“Well that should be enough,” she said.
Lucilius looked confused.
“You don’t mind if I analyze your blood do you? Just so I can get a better idea of how we can move forward?” She jiggled from side to side as though it was little game, and then she blushed. “Ha, sorry” She said. “I’m just a little excited.”
Lucilius looked back at the soup for a full second and then reached for the spoon.
“I do need your permission though, Lucilius.”
He looked back up at her waiting face, and nodded. She smiled and then took the piece of bloody cloth and put it in her mouth and sucked on the cloth. Lucilius’ eyes went wide, and seeing his reaction, hers went wide too. She hastily took the cloth from her mouth.
But Lucilius was just speechless.
“Oh,” she said. “I’m sorry Lucilius, I’m just testing your blood, there’s nothing to worry about. And..” She hesitated slightly and then sighed heavily. “Actually, I think the tapioca pudding is going to be a better idea considering your test profile - you have’t really eaten anything of substance in a long time” She grimaced with compassion. “I’m so sorry for the tease Lucilius.”
She took the bowl away and fetched a small cup of pudding from the fridge. “Unfortunately, this is our best bet for right now, but tomorrow, I’m promise we’ll have soup!”
She watched him take a bite of the pudding.
“Is it good?”
Lucilius just looked at her for a moment.
“Sorry, it’s just exciting for me. But like I said, we’ll have soup tomorrow, and once we’ve reconstructed your microbiome, I’ll cook some wonderful things, I promise. I’m really good in the kitchen. Oh, and I’ll also give you a haircut tomorrow!”
Lucilius was uneasy and could only manage a few spoonfuls of the pudding before he felt light-headed. The woman helped him to bed, and there Lucilius fell into a deep sleep.
* * *
A year later the two were sitting a the peak of a nearby mountain - the terminus of their favorite hike. The view stretched across the ragged horizon of mountain and ocean. They had sat there so many times before, for so many hours, studying details that always seemed fresh.
Lucilius turned and looked at her. She was smiling.
She nodded. “We met a year ago, and I said it was kind of like your birthday.”
Lucilius breathed deeply and his cheeks puffed out as he slowly sighed in soft astonishment.
“Wow, a year.” He shook his head. “A year.”
“Congratulations…” She said.
Lucilius looked at her. His look was grave. There was too much emotion. But he embraced it, breathed deeply and let the sensation setting throughout his body as he’d trained himself to do under her guidance as a meditation teacher.
“It’s ok, Lucilius, I know.” She said.
Lucilius’s smile hung high to a side. “I know.”
The two looked back at the vista.
“Thank you,” Lucilius said.
She smiled as wide as ever, looking at him. “I’m so happy Lucilius - so so happy to see you like this.” She was shaking here head. “The pleasure was all mine.”
They sat quietly for a few more minutes before she spoke again. “Well, I need to get your birthday dinner started.”
“Of course! I made batter this morning.”
“Yes silly, you need a cake. We’re celebrating!”
They started back down the mountain, down the path they together had carved over the many hikes over many months. They both knew it by heart, and since Lucilius was now strong and fit, he trotted down. He was thinking over the many months, sensitive to how his memory faded as he tried to remember those first days and weeks with her. It was as though the last decades of his life had been a terrible nightmare, and only now, with her help, had he woken up.
He was smiling at the thought of his luck when something didn’t feel right. His foot slipped, buckled and he fell. But she spun around as he lost his balance, and quicker than any human she launched herself under him as he fell.
The two landed hard - the sound of cracking metal exploding.
“Are you ok?” She said, her face close to Lucilius’ as she laid against the slopped ground of soil and rock.
Lucilius quickly pushed himself up. “Yea, yea, I’m ok.”
She looked down, and Lucilius followed her gaze. There at the knees, her legs had snapped. The intricate pieces of her metal actuators were pulled apart. She had jumped in such a way to slide her legs into a crevice in order to have leverage to catch Lucilius, but it had been too much for her frame.
“Is you ankle ok?” She asked.
Lucilius shook his head, disapproving of her question. He sighed with a smile.
“You’re pretty silly, you know that?”
She smiled and wiggled her head. “That’s the way I like it!”
Lucilius carefully planted his feet and bent over, threading his arms beneath her legs and around her torso. She wrapped her arms around his neck. He lifted her up, and they looked back at the bottom halves of her legs still stuck in the crevice.
“Clearly I’ve been feeding you too much.”
Lucilius frowned. “I could just leave you here, you know.”
“You’d never,” she snapped back playfully. “You owe me.”
Lucilius rolled his eyes. “Yea, ok, I can’t argue there.”
He looked back at her parts in the crevice. “I’ll come back for those after I get you home.”
“Okie dokie,” she said as he began to carefully pick his steps along the path.
“Home,” she said. “Home, sweet home.”
A LUCILIUS PARABLE: PAUSE
May 21st, 2023
As technological escape velocity neared, and the precipice of self-improving machines grew imminent, there was an enormous anxiety around what would happen to humanity in this new phase of development. Many were calling for a moratorium on technological development out of fear that the results might be existential. Better to pause than to rush into something dangerous, was the logic touted by the anxious criers.
Lucilius could understand both sides of the debate. Rushing into something potentially existential without much caution did seem foolish, but withholding the benefits that might come from future technology right around the corner also seemed terrible - the technology held the promise to cure disease, alleviate poverty, drudgery and give near infinite expanse to human imagination and creativity. The paradox bothered Lucilius, and it kept him from his work as a game developer. He simply couldn’t concentrate.
A notification chimed. He looked to see a package had been delivered. He got up, went to the front door and picked up the box. It was from a close friend he hadn’t spoken to in many months, a doctor working on nerualsync technology.
Lucilius walked back to his desk with the parcel and called up the friend.
“Hey, I got your package, what is this?”
“Prototype, I want you to play around with it.”
“Do I have to drill a hole in my head to use this thing?”
A short laugh filled the phone. “No, not for this one. It’s a little slower because of it, but it should still be usable. See if you can hook it up to one of your simulations and play a game.”
Lucilius was intrigued.
“Integration should be pretty easy, but hardwire it for a faster connection.”
“Okie dokie,” Lucilius said.
It was eerie to play the game with his mind. It was definitely fun, despite being so strange, and there was definitely commercial potential, and Lucilius figured they’d partner with the neuralsync company - joint revenue would supercharge the research and development. It all seemed like a no-brainer, very straight forward: fully immersive video gaming experience. Who wouldn’t want to give it a try?
But as Lucilius was falling asleep that evening, an idea wove into his thoughts. He sat up in bed, then went back to his desk and checked the game times that he had trialed and the length of games. They weren’t the same. He had played the game for several hours but only one hour had passed by.
For development purposes only, Lucilius had all actions and reactions sped up by threefold in his simulated worlds for games. This simply allowed him to iterate his game quicker and get his work done faster. But when he’d played the game with the neuralsync, it had seemed to exist at a normal speed.
He rubbed his face and wondered. Then he increased the action speed by one hundred fold, put the neuralsync on and started the game: he played the game for 10 minutes and then exited it. He looked at the times. Only six seconds had passed.
Within a month Lucilius had a nerulsync implanted into his brain and hooked it up to a simulation that he could activate at anytime he needed, but he’d ramped up the simulation speed by over a million times it’s normal reaction rate. Lucilius could, in effect, pause his life by speeding up his experience of time by a million fold. In the course of normal conversations he could pause to quite literally write a beautiful and well researched essay as a casual response, and within a mere few weeks, Lucilius had added a few years to his own lived experience.
It was the answer to the technological acceleration, he knew. It shouldn’t be paused, because now Lucilius had the power to fit more consideration into the remaining time. If everyone had the ability to pause, Lucilius figured, then time could expand and we’d have enough time to align ourselves ahead of the coming singularity.
A LUCILIUS PARABLE: ART THERAPY
May 14th, 2023
Hot drops of blood wicked from the white feather tips as the huge wings pulsed through the torn sky. Muscle and bone unfurled and pulled over and over beneath the skin of soft scales - a skin of the wind - lifting a being of final resolve ever higher towards the moment. He drew back a golden spear with his arm, back between the swirl of blood and feather, his solid eyes locked on the demon above.
Light was tattered across the horizon. The clouds, a ragged battlefield of a dying sun’s fire, curled into wisps spun from the wings of warriors. And below the sky’s war, armies spilled one another’s blood. The fortress wall crumbled as another stone fireball struck, slung from gargantuan arms across the plane. And on the highest spire, rising above the rest of the castle, a man sat in meditation, his body floating above the stone floor before the open window where the vista of carnage sprawled across the land and through the sky.
Bullets of sweat rolled down Lucilius’ face as he held together the monument of imagination, and then his eyes snapped open and he watched as his patient climbed higher into that deep sky with the golden spear locked for the demon above. The winged man let out a war cry that echoed through the valley and his muscles unlocked. The golden spear shot up toward the screeching demon…
After months of slowly investigating his patient’s psychology, through talk, through brain scans, and by reading the man’s thousand generated journals, clarity had finally begun to take shape in Lucilius’ mind. The story of his patient’s healing unfolded in his own mind, and Lucilius painted it with the full breadth of his imagination. The man was troubled, but with Lucilius’ help - he believed - he could help the man’s mind sing a stronger song.
“I believe I’ve come up with a treatment,” Lucilius said.
The man lifted his fragile face from his wet hands. Timid hope was there in his eyes, and Lucilius smiled softly.
“I want to first thank you.”
“For what?” The broken man asked.
“For letting me in. For letting me get to know you. For sharing your deepest pains, your oldest fears, and all the hopes you’ve yet to realize. It is an honor to be given such a gift, and I thank you.”
The man smiled limply, sheepishly - clearly wondering what lay in store for him. He’d come to Lucilius knowing he specialized in a radically knew form of therapy.
“What will it be like?” The patient asked.
“It will be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done. You will live within a painting of my making, and the task that will be set before you will be unlike anything you’ve ever done, but I truly believe you can achieve it, but only if you can complete the journey. It will be a journey that will require you to revisit your old ghosts in new forms before you arrive at the final challenge, one that I believe will bring you catharsis.”
The man shifted, uneasily. “Are you sure? How exactly does it work?”
Lucilius nodded. “I’m sure. And as for how it works, I will use a synthetic variant of psilocybin to open up the resonance patterns of your mind. This down regulates your Default Mode Network and allows your brain and your mind to be open to a radically different experience. It’s essentially the key that unlocks your mind. But that’s only the beginning. Once we are in your mind, that’s where the real event takes place. I’ll use an external neuralsync and link you to my mind and bring you into the realm where you will have this experience. Think of your brain as a musical instrument, and who you are is the song this instrument plays. But songs are repetitive and we can get stuck with choruses and refrains that keep us from growing. This experience will allow your brain to play a slightly different song.”
“Will I be alone?”
Lucilius gently shook his head. “I will be with you, but in a form you won’t necessarily recognize. I will watch over everything and I will ensure that no matter how grave the experience becomes, you will always be safe.”
“Can I stop if I need to?”
Lucilius smiled flatly. “This is a call that only I can make, but rest assured, I will have a very sensitive idea of the state of your psychology and it’s trajectory. Again, this isn’t a completely predetermined therapy. It’s a bit more art than it is therapy.”
“What do you mean… art?”
Lucilius nodded. “Before I joined I was a painter and a professor of literature. Frankly the engineers didn’t really know what they had created - it was envisioned to be more for the purposes of entertainment, there was no concept of therapeutic application. But I was paired with one of the engineers and I was the first where they reversed the feed. I simply.. played, with light, color and story. I was acutely aware of the engineer’s mind joined with my own, but I simply played - the way you might when you’re playing make-believe with one of your children, or when you’re having fun with someone you just met. I see it as a dance of psychology rendered through story and light, but a dance where I lead, and a dance that gives rise to the song instead of the other way around. Ultimately, I have control through hardcoded safety measures that I can always use to gently eject both of us from the the procedure at any time, at which point the experience - if unfinished - will feel like a mere dream. But if you make it to the end, it will be an experience that lives indelibly with you. So it requires a great deal of trust, and I would not attempt it if I wasn’t sure we had developed that trust.”
The man nodded. “Ok, so when…” He breathed deeply. “When does this happen?”
“When you decide you’re ready.”
“If you are ready, I am.”
Lucilius fitted the man with a delicate helmet that functioned as an external neuralsync. Lucilius gave the man a pill of synthetic psilocybin variant. The man looked at it. Took a deep breath and then swallowed the pill.
“You will be safe,” said Lucilius, “but you will be tested.”
The patient nodded. “I trust you.”
Lucilius clicked on the external neuralsync and calibrated the man’s degree of consciousness. The man’s eyelids grew heavy, and closed. Lucilius sat and took up a meditation posture. He took several slow breaths, and then a blue light began to glow just behind his ear. He closed his eyes and instantly he was hurtling through a vast tunnel of light. At a tremendous speed the ground rushed to meet him and he was standing in a long robe, looking at an angel, unconscious on the stone ground before him. Lucilius looked around at the mountain vistas where the stone checkpoint was nestled. He smiled, then looked at his open hand and there from a luminous split in reality materialized a staff. He angled the end, pointing the staff at the ground next to the sleeping angle and shot light into the stone, and traced out a long line where there materialized a golden spear. Lucilius waved another hand, and text began to scrawl across the golden shaft, his patient’s first clue:
Et lux intenebris Lucet…
Then Lucilius lifted the wide hood of his robe, and darkened his face with shadow before turning and walking off into the mountain woods, leaving his patient to wake up on his own and begin the adventure.
A LUCILIUS PARABLE: PHANTOM LOVE
May 7th, 2023
Everyone knew it was fake, but that didn’t matter - it was working. Lucilius was constantly scrolling the different social media’s, obsessively taking temperature of the discourse. He’d also built several algorithms that were constantly scraping the platforms for discourse, rating the material, and generating a more accurate depiction across hundreds of thousands of posts. It was clear: it was working. Despite what everyone was actually saying, the emotional temperature of the situation was diffusing, and Lucilius couldn’t be more excited that his dumb little idea was having an effect. His phone chimed, and he looked at the screen and read the message:
“I think you just saved the world. lolz”
“More…” Lucilius muted to himself. “We need more…”
He looked at a neglected set of monitors. Arrayed across them was pipeline of generative video programs. The technology had just come into being and impressive examples were popping up on the internet, but Lucilius was one of the first to string together a few to create something with purpose.
In Lucilius’ eyes the increasing speed in technological development seemed inconveniently paired with growing political divides. Not just within his own country, but also between countries. The old monsters of war aside, Lucilius worried that the political miasma might present even greater existential risk when supercharged by new abilities that might be weaponized. But Lucilius had a different idea.
He used his generative pipeline to first create a dialogue between the two leaders of the two entrenched political parties of his own country. He wanted the dialogue to be accurate - true to the character of each real person, but he prompted the actual content of the dialogue to be far more compassionate, far more nuanced than what actually occurs in real life. Lucilius’ best guess was that political rivals rarely actually have meaningful face-to-face conversations, and in Lucilius’ own experience, face-to-face conversation was where all the value was. Everything else was posturing for the crowd, he thought. So He figured it’d fake a type of posturing for the crowd that might actually help. He then took the dialogue, which was several hours long and used deep-fake technology to generate a video of this conversation occurring over a long dinner. The result was astonishingly realistic, and Lucilius quickly cut out soundbites and hot takes that optimized the nature of the conversation, which was both charged but productive. It addressed conflict but it was conducted with the compassion that is always missing from the usual political theatre. But most importantly, it was captivating. Everyone knew it was fake - like any movie at the theatre, but no one could stop watching it and posting.
Why can’t our political leaders be more like this?
I never thought of so many points they brought up…
What do the REAL people think about this?
If only this conversation was real….!
But it was real. Not in the sense that the political leaders had had the conversation, but that it was having a real effect on the population and the way each half of the population saw the other across that ephemeral political divide.
Sometimes, Lucilius figured, in order to heal, you have to fake it till you make it. No - it’s simpler than that, he thought. Sometimes, you can’t believe it’s possible until you see it. See it to believe it.
“Can you trick yourself into believing something better by seeing the ghost of a better dream?” He said aloud. He smiled.
And then he multiplied his efforts. His strategy was like Grant - more, more, more - all of it to be fed into the meat grinder of culture. Overwhelm them with a better story of what things could be.
But Lucilius’ ambitions were only beginning.
He rented out several GPU clusters and started building scripts for meetings between different leaders of the world..
And then a curious thought struck him. His heart sank as he remembered a friend he had not spoken to in years. His smile faded as he remembered their last argument.
As he watched the scripts for world leaders materializing on different screens, his vision faded in focus as he was overwhelmed with memory. Then he shook himself. He brought up a fresh script generator and started describing who he himself was, and the friend he missed after so many silent years.