The job came with a daily dose of narcotics. Not the ones that make you feel good or have you experience a renewed wonder for life. No, these drugs forced you into a hyperfocused flow state. And it’s not about whether they were strictly needed to do the work. They were just the next epitome of increased worker productivity where the benefits only trickled upwards.

The first two months were a blur. After a day’s work, with the effects of the drugs wearing off, Triss became so weary that she could barely make it back to the small apartment the company provided for her and find some food on its sprawling campus. Within the first week, she’d learnt to filter out the incessant hum of millions of computers churning away. And other computers zipping around to fix them. After her first month, she’d patched up and reconfigured an uncountable number of computers that maintain the worker nodes and themselves, suppossedly. An inside look made you wonder how things even kept operating, considering the enormous amount of unsustainable upkeep everything required. People like Harari used to talk about how wheat enslaved humanity during the agricultural revolution. Well, that all fell into nothing compared to the mass enslavement of humans during the AI revolution. If only humantiy had ever cared as much about educating their own children as much as they did about the eternally knowledge-hungry AI models. We as a collective might then have actually had the time and words to express some respect for our fellow humans. But the last three decades had been nothing short of a mass submission and enslavement to abstract concepts.

Memories of the third and fourth months dissipated nearly instantaneously. For all Triss’s budding humanity at birth, she’d come to embody less consciousness than the silicon-enabled statistical models that became so effective in the illusion of thought. The company allocated its ever-growing profits without considering human values as a keystone motive. At least the early twenty-first-century fears of an exorbitantly rich upper class wielding all the political power were no longer relevant. Humanity had been freed of their class struggle after capitalist greed had outsourced the profit directive to AI and its non-human power structures. The abstract concept of increasing profits was deemed to be so important that everyone forgot the catch that it should all still benefit humanity in some way. What followed was global egalitarianism of suffering.

After six months, one unparticular night, Triss returned to recharge her fleshy machine. On her bed, she found a small, plush teddybear. These type of things hadn’t been manufactured for years, so it must have been a few decades old. But the teddybear’s sheen told a different story. With her drugs subsiding, Triss felt some ancient human emotions peeking through the dense fog. A budding spark of curiosity. Her fingers grazed the soft toy’s bellly. After she turned it around, Triss noticed a small, handwritten note. It took her some time to restore her ability to decipher human writing, but the note read:

“Grow the seed, then find us. Q.”

Triss moved to discard the note. It probably meant nothing anyway. But when she brushed the heel of her hand past the teddybear’s ticklish fur and again felt these sensory stimulations she’d never experienced before, her mind twitched a small nugget of doubt.

The chemical abberations in her brain alerted the company’s employee wellbeing daemon and a few minutes later two drug-induced security guards were knocking on the door of Triss’s sleeping cubicle.