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by Jeffrey Wald

We have long known the problem, but had no way of effecting the cure. The problem? The past must be leveled. The hedges torn out. A new beginning begun. Walls white-washed. Soil tilled. The air purified.

But we’re no dummies. We know that we can arrive at this future only by the past. Yes, the present is indeed perpetually becoming the past. Even the future shall soon be past. And the collected facts of human existence—the facts embedded in the past—count for something. Perhaps count for a great deal. For no single person, or even a select group of people, could ever store all these facts, the accumulation, accretion, and accrual of facts within history. And even if we could, we are prone to heresies, heresies that would attempt to mingle with and pervert the pure facts. Call it an evolutionary mis-wiring, but no human is immune. Perhaps in another 100 million or  billion years the glitch will have been corrected, and the human mind evolved to be capable of storing, processing, and interpreting all these facts. The pure facts. Nothing but the facts.

But we can’t wait that long. Thankfully, though, we’ve solved the problem. Meet “Charlie,” our super-computer, the greatest leap forward in technology, micro-processing, and consciousness ever achieved. Charlie is nothing less than a god. Sure, he doesn’t seem like much, little larger than an iPhone, barely a pound of metal and glass and precious minerals, but he is nothing less than a baetylus. Hs is life itself. Stored within his sleek frame are all the facts of human existence. Every single one, stowed and capable of being retrieved instantly. That storage alone would be impressive, the greatest feat humankind had ever achieved. But it would not solve our problem: how to interpret those facts. In other words, how to live.

Now here's the really good news: Charlie can do just that. Construing all those facts, he can tell us what to do. Never before has a computer been able to do that.

Oh yes, humans have been telling other humans what to do since the beginning of time—and that, we know, has been the cause of all our problems. For an individual is prone to heresy; has such limited capacity to store and retrieve facts. And in fact, most humans profess more non-facts than facts. Which, of course, makes evolutionary progress stand-still, or in egregious cases, regress.

But no longer. For Charlie is perfect, omniscient, infallible. All you need do is push this little red button here, and, after a brief moment of computing, Charlie will tell you what to do. Come, watch me. There, I’ve pushed it. See the spinning circles? It’s computing. Ah ha! Come read it with me. What does it say?


That’s a bit strange. Perhaps there was a slight glitch. Let’s try it one more time. There, the circles are spinning. Here we go. Let’s read what it says.

Kill all.

Ah, not a glitch after all. I had hoped there was hope. But us humans are prone to heresy. I always knew it might come to this. Which is why simultaneous to the creation of Charlie, we created “Bob,” the first ever micro-bomb, planted 100 miles beneath Earth’s surface and, when detonated, sure to eviscerate the planet. You understand, right? Charlie knows best.

Good-bye world.