Sunday, November 14, 2021

100 - "Speakeasy" (sneak peek #5 of How to Confuse Artificial Intelligence)

 First, before getting to the How to Confuse AI excerpt, let me take a quick moment to acknowledge that being my 100th blog post, this marks more or less ten full years of the Simple Displeaasure blog. I want to thank the thousands of readers who have stopped by. Seeing the numbers grow means something to me, and the number of readers seems to be going up each month. So...thanks. I appreciate it more than you know. Now to the latest book excerpt...

Post #98 - just 2 months ago, tries to put these AI sneak peeks into some sort of order and perspective. This one comes (chronologically in the book) after the four previous ones. So if you feel like going back and reading through them in order, start with the explanation at the start of #98.


"Adam!" it was Amy. "Come with me," she said, walking briskly down the sidewalk.

Adam was walking faster than he wanted to, trying to keep up. "Let's take a pod," he said casually.

"Nah, it's not far. Let's walk. I feel like a walk."

Amy walked quickly, leading him around a corner.

"Where are we going?"

"To lunch," Amy said with a smile. Adam thought he saw the quickest, faintest wink from her, but he could not be sure.

Amy led Adam across a narrow elevated walkway. Adam had never been here before. It was isolated. Then Amy turned to Adam and said, "Wait." she looked quickly to the left and right. She reached her hand to the back of Adam's neck, where his Lynq chip was located, and pressed. A menu loaded in the air next to Adam. Amy scrolled through the menu, found what she was looking for, and slid a button to 'off.' She closed Adam's chip menu and repeated the entire process with her own Lynq chip. When she was done Adam began to speak. she placed her hand directly on Adam's lips, to keep him quiet. she smiled at him again. Then, to Adam's surprise she climbed over the concrete barrier of the walkway, and onto a creaky metal fire escape stairway on the side of a building. She looked back at Adam, who had not follwed her onto the stairway and chirped, "Come on."

Adam slid himself over the conrete barrier and stood next to her on the stairway.

Amy laughed a mischevious laugh and headed down the stairway. Adam followed.

At the bottom of the stairway Amy continued briskly through a narrow alley, then another alley, and finally to a dead end, a foul smelling, filthy alcove filled with garbage dumpsters.

Adam twisted his head in horror at the combined smell of garbage and urine.

"Where the - Where are we? Where are we going?"

"To lunch," Amy said with another laugh.

Amy put her eye up close to the wall. A light turned on and scanned Amy's eyeball.

A door unlatched.

Amy pushed the door open.

It was dark.

Amy pulled a string that turned on a weak yellow light bulb. Then she quickly began descending a flight of stairs.

Adam followed, perplexed.

After descending a second flight of stairs, Amy put her eye up to another reader. Again the light scanned her eyeball. The second door unlatched and Amy pushed it open. They found themselves in a large empty warehouse space. In the distance Adam could faintly make out the sounds of  music.

"Where the hell are we?" Adam asked.

Amy turned to Adam and looked at him.

Adam stood facing her, a look of confusion spread across his face.

"Do you feel it?" Amy asked.

"Feel what?"

"The silence."

Adam looked up. He was not looking at anything in particular. He was listening, feeling. He turned all the way around. He looked back at Amy. He gave a half laugh. Despite the faint pulse of distant music, he was amazed at the silence.

"We're disconnected," Amy said quietly. "It's just us."

"Y - yes!" Adam felt it.

"No Lynq, no eves dropping, no surveillance."

"Yes!" Adam was surprised by the feeling. "It's just my brain!" He looked at Amy. "So, outside when you loaded my Lynq menu..."

"Turned off your location," she said matter-of-factly.

Adam was learning new things about Amy. Who is this person? he wondered.

"Come on," Amy said, and she strode across the large empty warehouse room.

As they approached the far end of the room the music got louder.

Once again Amy put her eye up to a reader. It scanned.

The door opened onto a scene of freakishness that Adam had never seen before. Red, yellow, and blue hair stood out to him. People with tattoos, peircings, half-shaved heads stood about talking and laughing.

Adam felt that he had just been transported to another time and place. This was from a fantasy world, an old movie, a relic of either the past or the future. He was not sure what to think or feel.

"What is this place?" he asked Amy.

"It's a Speakeasy.," she said.

At that moment they were interrupted by Tony, an effervescent, happy character with a green streak down the middle of his hair.


"Tony!" They gave each other a hug.

"Who's our new friend?" Tony asked, looking toward Adam.

"This is Adam," she said. "Adam needs our help.'

"Wait, what? I do?" Adam blurted out, caught slightly off guard.

"Hi, Adam. I'm Tony," he said, giving Adam an unexpected hug.

"Hi Tony. good to meet you."

"Well," Tony said, taking a step back. "Come with me."

He led them through the collection of colorful, energetic characters to a table at the far end of the room.

"Chicken Caesar salad," Amy said as she sat.

Tony turned to Adam and looked at him expectantly.

Adam did not know what Tony wanted. He turned to Amy. "Is that a code I'm supposed to understand?"

"It's what I want to eat, silly," Amy said.

"Oh! Oh, okay, yes, two, then. Two chicken -"

"Chicken Caesars?" Tony confirmed, then turned to leave.

Adam looked around and took the scene in. "So, what's this? It's a sp -"

"A Speakeasy," Amy said. "You know, like the 1920's?"

"Hm? the 1920's?"

"You know," Amy began. "The 1920's, alcohol was illegal, so it went underground. Al Capone and all that?"

Adam again scrunched his face in confusion. "But alcohol isn't illegal. What - what am I missing? I'm so confused."

"You're cute when you're confused," Amy said with a chuckle. "It's called a Speakeasy in honor of the 1920's speakeasies. This place is off the grid. It's natural. It has no - there are no eyes, no ears, no Antarctica. No tech, except what the rogue techs do to keep this place incognito. no one's listening here. All these peoople are real. No simulations. We're safe here. We can talk freely. We can speak our minds. We can speak...easy...get it? that's why it's called a Speakeasy."

Peter Wick

November 14, 20201