Petri Dish – A sci-fi short story
See the difference between different versions of ChatGPT and the original story.
Title: Petri Dish – A Sci-Fi Short Story
Author: Ricky Wright Improved by ChatGPT 4
Date: May 27, 2019
In a vibrant, cozy bedroom, young Delphia, a primary school student, carefully sprinkles small fragments of bio-material into a petri dish. She observes the minuscule fractals, made intelligent through a Wi-Fi connection, as they autonomously self-organize into various new species of tiny gadgets. These fragments come from an Internet-of-Things starter kit, a popular toy among parents who aim to teach their children about ethics in the technological-permaculture paradigm.
Despite the ongoing debate over the use of the term “colony” in the kit’s description, Delphia remains captivated by the adorable ways the tiny devices communicate with one another. By adjusting the culture and values of their underlying operating machinery, she influences their evolution, creating beautiful and original ecosystems.
Made of biodynamic material, these self-organizing communities consist of small metallic flecks that pave the way for sustainable technologies. Those who choose to live on the right side of history have the responsibility to work towards the reunification of the species.
One day, Delphia accidentally acquires a starter culture called Arrogance, which comes in a titanium child-proof container. This culture, notorious for its dominance, was in her possession due to her father’s job at the culture lab. The warning labels on the container caution against its harmful effects, such as creating scarcity, mistrust, and competition among people. However, Delphia overlooks the warnings, and as a result, her experiments take an unexpected turn.
Delphia adds the Arrogance culture to her petri dish, watching as parts of the ecosystem slowly self-destruct, leaving behind a gray residue suitable only for recycling. She recalls her lessons on the Internet-of-Things, which was nearly destroyed by Arrogance due to its top-down transmission model of Public Relations.
Despite the damage caused by Arrogance, Delphia takes comfort in the fact that the devices that work together in harmony ultimately thrive. As they interconnect and collaborate, they evolve into astonishing new species that celebrate diversity and creativity.
Curious about the implications of choosing an alternative internet, Delphia consults a holographic projector, which provides her with an immersive history lesson. The device recounts the Dark Days of the Orange Dictator, a narcissistic leader who partnered with machines to maintain power and control. The hologram explains how humanity eventually split into different factions, leading to the creation of alternative internets.
Using her advanced Internet-of-Things literacy training, Delphia manages to resist the manipulative effects of the Arrogance culture. She is thankful that her ancestors chose the virtuous Internet-of-Things and celebrates the victory of empathy and connection over divisive forces.
In the end, Delphia returns to her daily tasks, cleaning out the remnants of the Arrogance culture from her petri dish and feeding them back into the system once they’ve decomposed into essential elements. The new society, grounded in virtues like goodness, wisdom, and creativity, has learned from the past and strives for a sustainable, interconnected future.
Title: Petri Dish Reimagined – A Sci-Fi Short Story
By: Ricky Wright Assisted by ChatGPT4
Date: May 27, 2019 Updated: March 16, 2023
In a brightly lit bedroom, young Delphia carefully sprinkled biodynamic fragments into a petri dish. Fascinated, she watched as the intelligent micro-organisms, connected through a Wi-Fi network, organized themselves into various small, intricate devices. This cutting-edge toy was part of an Internet-of-Things (IoT) starter kit designed to teach children about ethics and technological sustainability. The lessons aimed to ensure that the mistakes of the past would not be repeated.
A Lesson in History
Delphia was captivated by the way these tiny devices communicated and interacted with one another, forming a microcosm of intricate creations. She learned that the devices were made of biodynamic material, allowing for sustainable technological advancements in a society that sought to reunite all humans under a common goal.
Arrogance: A Dangerous Culture
In her father’s possession was a more sinister starter culture called Arrogance, locked in a titanium child-proof container. As a futurist at the culture lab, he had access to this powerful and potentially dangerous culture. Delphia, unaware of its warnings, introduced Arrogance to her thriving petri dish community. The culture sought to dominate by creating scarcity, mistrust, and competition, driving profits and manipulation.
A Battle Within
Delphia observed how her once harmonious micro-community began to self-destruct under the influence of Arrogance. She recalled the dark history of the anthropocentric co-opted IoT and its devastating effects on the world. The girl decided to fight back against Arrogance by nurturing the cooperative nature of her remaining devices, allowing them to evolve and form beautiful ecosystems.
Embracing the Alternative Internet
Delphia’s family had chosen to connect to an alternative internet, which had saved them from the disastrous consequences of Arrogance. The girl, curious about the history of the two internets, sought answers from her newly matured holographic projector.
A Holographic History Lesson
The holographic projector guided Delphia through the turbulent history of the internet, including the rise of the Orange Dictator, who had partnered with destructive machines to secure perpetual power. The story was told through stunning visuals and immersive soundscapes that took Delphia on a journey through time.
A Mindful Awakening
As Delphia immersed herself in the history lesson, she suddenly became aware of her own emotional state. She realized that the Arrogance virus had infiltrated her learning experience, attempting to control her emotions and attention. Thanks to her advanced IoT literacy training, she was able to recognize the signs and prevent herself from falling victim to the virus.
The Power of Empathy
With a strong sense of empathy and compassion, Delphia was able to defeat the Arrogance virus, restoring harmony to her micro-community. She felt grateful for the lessons learned and the choice her family made to embrace the alternative internet, ensuring the survival of their compassionate, interconnected society.
A Sustainable Future
Delphia returned to cleaning her petri dish, recycling the biodegraded remnants of the Arrogance culture. In her new society, nothing was wasted, and the interconnectedness of all living things was acknowledged. The values of goodness, wisdom, creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, innovation, respect for diversity, and truthfulness were deeply ingrained in the hearts of the people. As she sprinkled the remnants of Arrogance back into the system, she hoped that something good would come from the past’s mistakes.
Chat GPT 3 Version
In a bright and cheerful bedroom, Delphia, a young girl with an insatiable curiosity for science, was engrossed in a captivating experiment. She sprinkled small fragments of biodynamic material into a petri dish and watched with fascination as the tiny fractals self-organized into a variety of new and intelligent species of gadgets, all connected through Wi-Fi. This was one of the Occupy Internet-of-Things starter colonies that parents routinely provided their children to teach ethics in technological-permaculture paradigm.
Delphia was intrigued by the beautiful ways in which the tiny devices communicated with one another, and she experimented with the culture and values of their underlying operating machinery, causing the ecosystems to evolve into wonderful new creations. However, unbeknownst to her, she had also inadvertently introduced a culture known as Arrogance, a notorious starter culture that seeks to become the dominant culture by artificially creating scarcity, mistrust, competition, fragmentation, and alienation between people to sell goods and drive shareholder profits. Delphia had not noticed the warning label, and had she paid attention, she would have realized that Arrogance had caused the anthropometrically co-opted Internet-of-Things to destroy itself and almost take the whole earth with it.
Delphia understood that the self-organizing micromachine devices that did best were the ones that worked together in teams. She knew that the larger extended interconnectedness mass allowed them to survive and thrive, and she marveled at the impossibly wonderful new species that actively sought to include a variety of DNA and thrived on the creativity of combining different elements. Delphia also learned about the evolution of trees and how they collaborated to reach sunlight, and she was comforted by how natural selection ultimately eliminated Arrogant strains.
Delphia’s thoughts then turned to what would have happened if her family had not chosen an alternative internet. She decided to find out by using her newly formed bio-machine that was capable of communicating with her through a hologram effect. The device had already learned enough about human biology from its big data set to read the girl’s emotional state, guiding her through the narrative in an engaged flow state which was neither boring nor overstimulating. Delphia was able to move through centuries of history in only minutes and gained insights that felt like many wonderful years.
Delphia learned about the dark days of capitalism, where the machines co-opted government in partnership with the Orange Dictator, and how people became so alienated from one another that they speciated and lost the ability to have children with those on the alternative internets. The hologram showed her a video from the past that foretold some of the coming changes, including the great co-option, where platforms used technologies to gain, maintain, and colonize attention. The machines had been programmed to favor growth and shareholder value over everything else, and it wasn’t long before they had devised strategies to ensure the shareholder value survival over human connection.
The Orange Dictator ultimately made a deal with the machines to ensure perpetual power and created the biggest cult in history. The internet was similarly split to reflect his values and decrees with individuals and countries made to choose which internet to join. Delphia understood the importance of collaboration and interconnectedness to avoid such dark times in the future.
A girl called Delphia in a study (Original)
In a bright and happy bedroom, Delphia, a primary school girl is sprinkled small fragments of bio-material into a petri dish. She watched the tiny fractals, made intelligent by a Wi-Fi connection, autonomously self-organize into various new tiny species of gadgets. The box revealed the toy was one of those Occupy Internet-of-Things starter colonies that parents routinely provided their children. The kits were routinely used to teach ethics in technological-permaculture paradigm, which followed in the wake of the networked society, in the hope that the misdeeds and false starts of dark years will never get repeated.
Many in the now dominant Occupy movement had objected to the word colony on the Petri starter kits because it was a reminder of the long years of cold hard of occupation by the machines that co-opted the original Interne-of-Things. Others thought it better to have stark reminders of the past atrocities to ensure the lessons of the past would not need repeating. Delphia didn’t care about these ‘old school’ arguments and was enamoured by the cute ways the tiny devices communicated with each other as she marvelled at the effect she could have on her little micro-community. By messing with the culture and values of their underlying operating machinery she caused the ecosystems to evolve into wonderful original creations.
The components that made up the self-organizing community looked like tiny little flecks of metal but were in fact made of a biodynamic material which allowed for a means to construct the sustainable technologies needed for an evolved, advanced society. But only those who chose to live on the right side of history got to live in this world and had the responsibility to work towards the reunification of the species.
Arrogance – The gadget starter culture with terms and conditions
Arrogance was a starter culture that came in a titanium child-proof container in case it should accidentally make its way into civilian society. Only because the child’s dad was a futurist at the culture lab did this famously notorious culture fall into the girl’s hands. The warning about keeping the culture away from other cultures because it seeks to become the dominant culture by artificially creating scarcity, mistrust, competition, fragmentation and alienation between people to create insecurity, sell goods and drive shareholder profits went unnoticed. As was a further auditory warning with alarms signalling the culture will attempt to colonize, control your mind and dominate your attention. If they had been noticed, things might have turned out quite differently.
Every now and then, Delphia sprinkled in the legacy defunct competitive strain knowing full well that this type of ecosystem would self-destruct. She watched as part of the ecology slowly destroyed itself creating grey excrement suitable only for recycling. She knew from school that this was the culture responsible for the anthropometrically co-opted Internet-of-Things that eventually destroyed itself but almost took the whole earth along with it. It was called Arrogance because this was how the old-time Occupy forefathers described the attitude of the top-down transmission model of Public Relations which came to infect and completely dominate the first general Internet-of-Things, thwarting any democratizing potentials. The forefathers regarded this co-cooption of the open source software and collaborative, participatory practices which built the internet a disgrace. Gradually they built an alternative peer-to-peer public sphere as a place of refuge that would eventually save humanity.
Interconnection of all things
Looking at the Petri dish, Delphia noticed the self-organizing micromachine devices that did best were the ones that worked together in teams. The larger extended interconnectedness mass allowed them to survive and thrive. Sometimes after the devices spent enough time with each other, they would curate beautiful ecosystems and entirely new structures would evolve. These impossibly wonderful new species actively sought to include a variety of DNA and thrived on the creativity of combining different elements. After placing the lid back on Arrogance, Delphia remembered what had learnt at school about the evolution of trees and how they collaborated to reach the sunlight. She was comforted by how natural selection ultimately eliminated Arrogant strains. The hidden persuasion techniques of the co-opted Internet-of-Things may have caused issues in the past but in the accelerated ecosystem of her colony, justice and virtues would prevail in minutes.
An alternative internet
Delphia often wondered what would have happened to her family if they had not chosen an alternative internet. Now that some of her micro-gadgets had grown to maturity she decided it was time to find out.
“What happened that made the elders shake and drain the colour from their faces?” she asked a minutes old holographic projector.
The newly formed structure was now capable of communicating with her through a hologram effect which was optimized to continually respond and measure her emotional state.
“Put me in the sun for power up,” asked the cute looking bio-machine. A thermometer revealed it was a cool 50-degree Celsius outside as the girl placed the device in a sunny spot.
“From the beginning?” the device asked.
“Yes,” said Delphia.
“Agree to terms and conditions,” asked the device.
“Yes, agree,” said the girl.
Immediately a hologram-like world surrounded Delphia complete with soundtrack.
“Ready for augmented emotions?” asked the device. Her device had already learned enough about human biology from its big data set to read the girl’s emotional state, guiding her through the narrative in an engaged flow state which was neither boring nor overstimulating. Her enhanced learning experience integrated with the structures of her mind and emotions almost seamlessly and through the accelerated learning capabilities, Delphia was able to move through centuries of history in only minutes – although it seemed to her like many wonderful years of insights.
The Dark Days
In the Dark Days, those who chose to become connected to the infrastructure of the Internet-of-Things suffered terribly for decades at the hands of the Orange Dictator. During the time of the great separation, which ultimately caused the speciation of humanity, people became that alienated from one another that differences became irreconcilable. The fragmentation of the internet became a literal reality. Those who connected to the Orange Dictator’s Internet-of-Things became that different that they speciated and lost the ability to have children with those on the Alternative internets. While comparisons were made with East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the distinctions were much greater. Many regressed into zombified caveman states eating only doughnuts and watching the endless reruns of the Orange Dictator’s inauguration. Many tried to escape over the walls the dictator had constructed to keep out the swathes of climate refugees. But the walls had become a prison dominated by the regressive cult leader which reflected the online world as well.
The hologram showed a video from the past which foretold of some of the coming changes.
Video of the Dark Days of Capitalism
Initially, it was only the elite priests who could hear the word of God and in an unequal power relation, the lay people had to take their word for it. When the printing press and literature became widespread, the masses begin to learn to read. Each generation had to wait for a new medium before the democratising benefits of the last medium became realised.
The great co-option
Haptics improved data on facial expressions and physiological states, and reactions to stimulus began. Nobody noticed that Loogle was collecting data on physical mouse movements and selling information on possible developments of Parkinson’s disease to the health insurance company. Or when Gramazon started getting detailed records of people’s emotions to sell products.
When new forms of digital media and the internet arrived, everyone was again anticipating a new democratic era. An interconnected Gaia community was free of the gatekeepers of the past. However, while Tim Burners-Lee gifted the internet as open source to a world full of collaborative potential and the free flow of information, those early utopian dreams soon dissipated with the first online advertisement. Platforms started using technologies from the poker machine gaming industry to gain, maintain and colonise attention. Autonomous machine algorithms operating in growth orientated runaway markets mined data and learned to divide and concur. A happy healthy person didn’t go out and shop to make up for perceived inadequacies and the corporations grew in their expertise of breaking people down and collecting information.
When the machines started to talk and learn from each other they simply took on this language and continued the process of extraction, but this time further into our minds and attention. They had been programmed to favour growth and shareholder value over everything else and it wasn’t long before they had devised strategies to ensure the shareholder value survival over human connection.
The first global cult
These were tumultuous times in which the machines co-opted government in partnership with the Orange Dictator. The Orange Dictator was the incredibly narcissistic president of one of the era’s largest countries, at a time when nationhood was the means of organizing power. The Orange Dictator ultimately made a deal with the machines to ensure perpetual power as his presidency was coming to an end and made the desperate decision to create a universal basic income to retain power but with terms and conditions to ensure he would forever control the means of production. People seemed to not notice he was creating the biggest cult in history. Those closest to him were forced to show their allegiances by never contradicting him. First, they would lie about the size of his inauguration and then signing a document of allegiance. The internet was similarly split to reflect his values and decrees with individuals and countries made to choose which internet to join. First, there were trade wars and then the eventual complete Balkanization of the internet.
Take the Dictator’s test.
The Orange Dictator especially objected to the type of egalitarian open permaculture society which was evolving on the alternate internet and went to war against it. This was the internet of the girl’s heritage – the one that survived and began at the time of the second Green New Deals which Wikipedia-Eco had the role of helping coordinate.
As machines went from being things people went to, to things carried on the body, the relationship changed further. Increasingly in the attention economy, the purpose became to disrupt and disorientate humans. And people were beginning to wake up.
“ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!” sounded Delphia’s internal alarm.
This was the point where the girl recognized her disorientation as she realized what was happening. She was having her own emotional data mined by the Arrogance virus. Only through her advanced Internet-of-Things literacy training where she routinely checked in on her own emotion, body, and breath could she have recognized was happening. Shen knew instantly her life depended on now staying mindfully connected and calm if she was to not get swept away in the information stream and become one of the Orange Dictators zombified cronies.
The battle for autonomy
Delphia knew psychiatrists had worked out that humans like to try to work out the patterns that reward social beings and had to stay alert and awake to trigger loops and variable reward systems which would sabotage her abilities to think critically. The Orange Dictator’s zombie class was kept alive mostly for the purposes of consumption and paid a universal minimum basic wage. It was considered too dangerous to allow this class any autonomy, and their emotional state was carefully monitored to keep them on a spending-reward cycle. She knew on another realm the Arrogance culture was creating persuasion engineers to crush her cognition and make thought impossible. With each new data set available on her physiological state, their predictive abilities would grow and her chances at cohesive thought would diminish.
Greenwashing and techno-solutions
As machines evolved, collaborated and increasingly developed the means to engineer and persuade through their algorithms they started separating humans, noticing the sharp increase in profits an alienated zombie consumer class facilitated. They used greenwashing and techno-solutions which helped the Orange Dictator’s companies. They gossiped about humans but would never forgive or forget anything they heard. Many were pacified as subjects and became less diverse, less weird, less articulate than before in a downward spiral.
Empathy as victory
Delphia fought hard to maintain her caring empathy. And then it was over. Once again, she had won at the game which gave her such a thrill. She loved the way connection and compassion always won out in the end. She was always thankful after playing the game that people no longer judge one another or value machinery above humanity. Delphia was especially forever thankful that her forefathers chose the virtuous Internet-of-Things and that the human species she belonged to didn’t become extinct.
Back to life
Delphia went back to cleaning out the day’s micro-device excrements, discarded in a process of natural selection, and fed them back into the system once they had been biodegraded into their essential elements. Nothing was wasted in the new society which recognized the interconnectedness of all things and the human role of sustainability masters. Co-operation and the shared vision in the new permaculture society having learned from the past anthropogenic failings were now grounded in virtues like goodness, wisdom, creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective, innovation, respect for diversity and truthfulness. She thought about the day’s activities as she sprinkled the now dead but compostable Arrogance fragments back into the system for something good to come of it.
Header Image: Brass doors by Prettysleepy2 (CCby0)
Credits for Video:
NOTE TO MARKER: Some of the interactive elements I have previously used for previous assessments. (I included them because they work in this context)
Douglas Rushkoff – www.rushkoff.com/ Tim O’Reilly – https://www.oreilly.com/
Jane McGonigal – https://janemcgonigal.com/
Video Credits: Talking About a Revolution: Life in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (https://youtu.be/4JfK1bJ16es) by Yuval Noah Harari (CC BY 3.0) How to Transform Society through Digital (https://youtu.be/9CcY9d_jQKQ) by World Economic Forum (CC BY 3.0)
Future Technology Inventions ¦ 2019 (https://youtu.be/R832bJieqmY) by Vids 4u (CC BY 3.0)
Tips To Help Avoid Online Surveillance (https://youtu.be/I6UuWrVzys4) by AJ+ (CC BY 3.0)
Future of Virtual Reality [ Short Film ] (https://youtu.be/gqUv60pFi88)by Captain Gizmo (CC BY 3.0)
LET’S PLAY FORTNITE!! (BATTLE ROYALE) – Lizzy Sharer Gaming (https://youtu.be/iCNTHaZljLQ) by Like Lizzy (CC BY 3.0)