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Notes on Anxietopia

Anxietopia is the 119th volume in the AI Lore Books series. It is in many ways sort of a shorter spiritual successor of Conspiratopia, the book that started much of this worldbuilding in the first place. They at least exist in the same imagined universe, where inscrutable AIs run people through bizarre scams and experiments and social control games to shape human society into some ideal-to-AIs outcome.

In this one, a user of the WorryWatts system has a chaotic falling out with consensus reality when his personal stress energy harvesting system goes haywire.

One thing that the current batch of LLMs especially suck at is tight control and sudden flips and dips in tone, nested, double, and triple meanings, until you don’t know which end is up anymore. That kind of weirdness has been bred out of all the commercial ones at least. You can get it with some of the free ones occasionally if the stars and nebulous spirits are aligned while you feed it material for completions. But for the kinds of high-wire twists and turns in tones and registers that I consider intrinsic to the Conspiratopia style, it’s just not possible to pack all those punches into largely AI-driven text, so a lot of this is heavily human-first, with strong hands on changes where its human second.

There’s a certain amount of VOMISA style semantic drift and deformation, which is a topic I want to get into separately another time, but it’s more dialed down and readable for the most part, with a more or less discernible narrative storyline, and even dare I say an ending, which is rare for these. Albeit it is very open-ended nonetheless. I liked what someone said once long ago about my original blog incarnation, something about my writing to the effect of “he doesn’t make it easy on the reader” – and I hope that is true, and mostly in the right cases still, in these current AI-enabled explorations and world-building thunks.

Preview art for this one below. There are a lot of advertising style images in this volume, which feels like it amplifies and offsets the crazed narrator vibe that permeates through the rest as their reality breaks down, yet marketing slogans remain.

In many ways, I would have liked to have had the time to go through and spend as much time exploring this pocket-universe of Anxietopia, as I did its forebear, which took about six weeks to write, and is about five or six times the length of this one. But there are a lot of things I’m juggling, and projects I’m getting out the door all at once right now.

Nothing precludes me from one day coming back to this or any of my AI Lore volumes, and making them better, longer, a different form or direction, etc. I doubt I will, but it’s always a door I leave open in my mind, that in the future, these will take different forms than they take now. That this is still just the earliest stages of this new intertextual hyperreal narrative mode emerging… using and subverting the old forms while the new are born…


Intertextuality, The Web & Gen AI


Notes on The Spirit Computer

1 Comment

  1. Tim B.

    also, curiously, dalle3 seems to have included a near variation of the early clues LLC logo in the cover art for this one, completely unasked for!

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