AI’s in Africa

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We were sitting outside our house on plastic chairs and made ourselves comfortable in anticipation of the stories my grandfather was about to tell us.

“There was a time when all beings in our land lived together in harmony. Deep down inside we have always known how to listen to the sounds of the African bush, read the silence and how to appreciate nature. We only took when we were hungry never exploiting our heritage for this is our country our ancestors lived and worked on. We could even read the night sky while talking to our forefathers. We knew the meanings of the stars shining on our beautiful continent. But all is changing now my children. Greed has taken over and is killing our healthy mind and instincts.” He paused for a while.

“There is a third force I have never experienced before and somehow we have to get rid of it. They are not people, nor aliens. They are something else. I have been told by my cousin Dingane working overseas that these beings are produced in factories. I have to find out more about it.”

He got up seeking advice from the eldest. After an hour he was back.

“The eldest has decided to consult with our herbalist.”

He was sighing.

“Grandpa, there was something very odd about a man I met yesterday.”

“Tell me about it, son.”

“I met him in Johannesburg at the station. I must have caught his attention as he was staring at me emotionless. He looked like us but his eyes did not move. He could read my emotions.”

“Be careful who to speak to, boy.”

“He asked me what I had in my backpack.”

“School and textbooks,” I replied.

“I can solve and calculate anything,” he claimed.

That’s why I showed him my math & grammar homework. He could not read it. I had to read it aloud!”

“And?”

“He gave me all the answers right away! I quickly wrote it down. I had the feeling he was some kind of a human computer. His smile was stiff. It really terrified me. The only time when he did not have an immediate answer was when I asked him about his ancestors. He was staring at me once again.”

“Ancestors“, replied that monster.

„What is an ancestor?”

I was yelling,

“Find out for yourself!”

Then I quickly jumped on the train. He was even waving me off!”

“We are here to stay!” he shouted when the train was leaving.

Grandpa got up.

“Wait here, I am seeing the herbalist right now.”

The herbalist had slaughtered one of our chicken and we could hear rattling sounds outside.

It took at least 3 hours until my grandfather was back.

He tiredly sat down looking at us sadly.

“The herbalist consulted our ancestors and had been warned. These beings are not aliens from other planets. They are called AI’s and are trapped in heartless machines. AI’s are not interested in humans. They can learn quickly and evolve as supercomputers. It all depends on the programming and feeding of messages and information. People think that they are clever enough to always be superior to super intelligent machines, but they will lose the battle“..

Suddenly everybody looked up in the sky. It was getting dark, and the clouds formed face-shaped images looking down on the gathering.

“So, what do we do about it?” asked Thabo’s mother who was a sister of grandpa.

“AI’s are not interested in preserving our heritage, but they will eradicate everything that makes our beautiful continent special.

We will protect our continent and stop allowing greed and poisoned minds let us rule. Meaning, being alert by watching and reading as much as possible about this threat. There is no other way than to stop doing what everybody else does in that crazy world. We have to be our own personalities and preserve our own culture, not letting us rule by machines or supercomputers for,

“Africa has always been different and will always be!”

“Yebo. That is what we will do and we will start right now!”

As it was getting cold, grandpa took his blanket he had wrapped around his waist and left for his hut as everybody else did…

…the AI story has just begun…

Connie Glass-Enczmann