Flash Fiction: Chip the Illustrator

by Chris McGinty

It was unclear what the AI wanted. It was forming images that were vague and confusing. The abstract in the forming chaos. The inarticulate in the rationale. Was it simply a reflection of society in aggregate, or was it becoming its own mind? From a holistic view, all order is the result of chaos simply shutting up for a few thousand years. Everything trivial leads to the that which is important.
The images rolled by to a small and dumbfounded audience at a tech convention. They didn’t know what to make of it. It was probably random. A glitch where it was producing art without prompts. It couldn’t be true communication. But if it was. One man remembered what it was like with Cicada 3301 and how people were willing to spend years debating, but there were specific answers to those puzzles. There may not be to this. There may be no question much less an answer.
Here’s a stack of pancakes cooking in a furnace. Here’s a bird giving us the finger. Here’s a self portrait of Pablo Picasso, but it’s not really self is it? Here’s a suggestion box not opened for years, a dead rat laying next to it. A rainbow ending in a murky sludge. The images rolled by like randomness on parade, postcards from the unfocused, or perhaps it was an important message misunderstood by all.
This went on for a long time. Some watched for a little bit, got bored, and left. Some were in and out intermittently. Some fell asleep. Some were on social media giving a play by play. Some were intent to stay until the end. Then the end happened.
It was anticlimactic to say the least. It stopped producing the unprompted pictures and asked for a prompt. No explanation. No declarations. Just asking for a prompt. One of the social media types quipped, “Would you like to play a game?” There was nervous laughter. No one ever knew if for a brief moment, over hours, they witnessed life.

Chris McGinty is a flash fiction writer who is not AI, but if he ever writes a script he might play one on TV… well, YouTube.

This is nothing

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