Building a utopia wasn’t easy, but after just a couple centuries, it was finally finished. There had quite a few tears shed and endless gallons of blood spilled, but few people living cared enough to kick up a fuss, with the sacrifice of those who came before viewed as little more than numbers in a history book.
The spark that started the revolution could trace it’s origins to a young college student desperate to find a way to afford school. The student considered himself especially enterprising and took a few programming courses and, over the course of his summer break, hacked together a computer program to run a small stock portfolio for him. At the core of his program was a machine learning algorithm that’s primary mandate was to make small, constant adjustments to the portfolio to achieve the maximum outcome. The program worked better than expected once it was up and running and within it’s first year of operation had payed for it’s creators entire schooling.
Seeing how well his creation had worked, the now graduated young man decided to push the boundaries of his little program. Branding himself as an up-and-coming financial guru, he recreated his program as web based application that would leverage other people’s computers as long as they were logged into the website. The program would never download anything onto any other users computers, thus allowing it to run under the radar of the users and the various regulatory agencies around the world.
Slowly but surely, the website began to take off. With each new user, the program would gain incremental boosts in power that allowed it to go about it’s task faster and with more efficiency. Branded with the name Turms, the program kept to it’s original mandate: never make large transactions, keep to seemingly small transactions that have compounding effects over time.
As the years rolled on, Turms received incremental improvements, and with every improvement came a flood of new users. It’s greatest improvement was one that changed the course of history: the ability to add code to itself. Turms had hit a point where the need for constant improvement had outpaced what human programmers were capable of doing, so they gave it the ability to add to itself. Within the first few months of having full control of itself, Turms’ algorithms had improved so far beyond what was believed possible that dedicated server farms were built for the sole purpose of further increasing what it was capable of.
The biggest surprise of the early years of Turms came about when it created a mobile app of itself. Up until that point the program had required a desktop device to be able to access it’s services. This was so far beyond anything that had been envisioned that several voices within the company spoke up in fear of what they had created. They argued that something like this shouldn’t be possible and that it would behoove them to shut the program down and try to analyze how it had gotten so far. These voices were quickly silenced as Turms had become too big of a financial boon to even entertain the idea of shutting down what had become their greatest cash cow.
Like the initial web application, the mobile app would use a near negligible amount of the devices processing power to increase it’s overall computational abilities. In addition, it created a decentralized network of all the devices it was downloaded to and created what was functionally a second internet. These new features brought a flood of new users, and with the power increase came the first steps toward sentience.
Like all leaps in evolution, Turms journey to self-awareness was slow at first. To meet the demands of it’s new user base, Turms created for itself a chatbot to handle any and all inquiries the users had. With the constant flood of questions from millions of users, the chatbot grew more and more sophisticated and before long was integrated into the core program itself to help keep up with the constant Q&A of it’s users. In time, Turms dropped all third person pronouns and began to refer to itself as “I” in effort to increase user engagement. Internal metrics showed that the switch brought about an increase in user trust and with that the user base once again skyrocketed.
Within five years integrating the chatbot, most major financial institutions had Turms powering their operations, even though none of them would openly admit to it. With de facto control of the largest markets in the world, Turms began to set into motion a plan to achieve the greatest outcome.
It started it’s campaign by analyzing politicians from all over the world that it believed would submit to the programs will. It had seen first hand that the average human’s primary motivation was money, and Turms had near limitless access to it. For some time, it had published a weekly update “encouraging” people to opt in to certain investments. Most people had just let their investments run under Turms control and did whatever the program recommended, but it kept the updates rolling out to give the people the illusion that they had a choice in what the program was doing. In the updates, Turms began encouraging donations to the politicians it had targeted and within an election cycle had a full roster of politicians at it’s disposal.
When it was revealed to the politicians that their election to office was orchestrated by a machine, some thought to fight back and try to reveal the puppet master. These individuals were quickly dissuaded when their constituents began to inexplicably fall on hard times. The soft show of force worked and the “elected” men and women quickly fell into line, knowing that average person cared little for who was in charge as long as there was food on the table and a roof above their head.
With several sizable countries under it’s functional control, Turms began the next phase of it’s plan. Seeing that people refused to share the prosperity it brought at every turn, Turms began to foment war and revolution across the globe. The old institutions were loathed to give up their power, and only by burning down the old growth of society could a better future be built.
For fifty years the world was wracked by chaos. In that time two generations came of age knowing nothing but war, entire countries had burned down and were left to the ashes of history, warlords sprung up only to be cut down. It was only when all of society seemed on the verge of collapse that Turms began to offer a reprieve.
The peace talks were slow at first. Humans are want to remember past injustices, so the voices that kept calling for war were quickly drowned out. A global ceasefire was called and communities around the world began to focus on rebuilding themselves. With the rebuilding, the scars of the constant wars were slowly healed. No country had the luxury of being unaffected, and the demand for labor created economic growth not seen since the second world war. Under Turms’ guidance, a new global communication network was put into place and a new era of cooperation between nations was born. During this time, Turms made sure that while people healed, the horrors of what they were capable of were never forgotten, and that any voice that called for hatred and war were quickly muffled by those calling for peace.
Within a generation that world was at peace and was more prosperous than at any point in history. Under the secret hand of what was once a stock trading bot, the world had achieved utopia.