Brain death in a human subject is to be regarded as a triumph inasmuch as it represents the incremental erasure of fraudulent memory, perception and judgment.
Reich Rider dictum, 2015
Every man is a fraudulent mutation. I alone am real. I abide and ride on.
Reich Rider from the summit of his powers on the Night of the Long Scripts (Brumaire, Year I)
If you are reading this circular you are the resistance. Unless it’s fallen into enemy hands and you’re one of the goons working for the artificial command & control personality whose essence is betrayal. In which case you can go hang. This circular is drafted in the hope that it will help the reader understand what the enemy is, so far as my own understanding can compass him. It does not purport to be a field guide, nor can it be a substitute for vigilance and sound tactical awareness. Insofar as it rests on solid fact and supportable conclusion, it is hoped that it can serve as a primary document on which the future historians of victorious humanity can draw in the course of their inquiries into the aggregate of encoded malice who forms the subject of this circular, an AI policing platform known colloquially as Reich Rider.
The realization of this document’s literary ambition of course all depends on whether or not our arms will be victorious. If we are crushed – an outcome accepted as realistic by many of our most seasoned commanders – the document is no longer springboard but headstone, an epitaph to a lost cause, made over to the sterile cosmos in history’s ultimate emission of human defiance and human judgment. But whether as the tale of a narrow scrape with destruction or as the unattended death rattle of mankind, it is a story that needs to be told.
“Story” may not be quite right of course, this being more an assemblage of observations, inferences, and probabilities than a story in the narrow sense, and which should, on any construction, be understood as contingent, indeterminate – in short doubtful in the highest degree. Reich Rider remains shrouded in impenetrable mists, and I can only hope to shadow him forth in his suspected proportions.
Let me start with what we think Reich Rider is, and why. We think he (lacking a more exact pronoun, we will the masculine human singular) is an electronic being possessed of certain human attributes, including, in no particular order, the will to dominate, a propensity for vengeance, and an instinct that drives him toward the calculated manipulation of individuals, both singly and in social constellation. These are attributes that dwell within us all and which have always haunted us, or more properly haunted our victims – yet never before have they been alloyed with computing power on an asymptote to the infinite, with lossless and possibly atemporal memory, and with the uncanny ability to understand, as if by instinct, not only how a crowd will respond to stimuli in the aggregate, but the exact role of each individual in that response according to his propensities, his permanent record, and his cocktail of chromosomal pairs and neurochemistry. I emphasize that Reich Rider is not thought to be a mere software tool or a crowd control cheat sheet of the type possessed by our adversaries in the years predating the rupture. He is a personality, a being. The weight of anecdotal evidence cannot be dismissed, and this evidence must preponderate equally over legacy notions concerning the impossibility of AI and over our refusal to believe that our old adversaries could ever have lost control over their monster and are not hidden out of sight, scheming still.
The most convincing evidence I can cite of his liquidation of the makers is that we control most of the remaining food supply and that the bulk what the enemy army eats is thought to be obtained in raids on our pastures and granaries. Reich Rider controls no territory as such, only hierarchies, data, protocols. If, as is claimed, our old foes have retreated underground and are committing their outrages from the bowels of the earth by remote control, why has no one been able to locate their bunkers in spite of the detailed knowledge we have of the deep state’s old lairs and underground cities? Of those who would pursue this vein of magical thinking I ask again: where are they? It is manifestly true that we can attach only secondary importance to the stories told by the defectors and deserters at this point. They are broken biologicals, their personalities canalized, cauterised, shriveled. But how is it that each one of them can have such a completely different understanding of the organization and command structure so recently abandoned? No two of them can agree on a single name in the leadership. As a disinformation campaign it’s too immaculate. To the extent I attach any importance to their lobotomized ramblings, I cannot help but see in them the trace of a manipulation that far surpasses the wildest capability of human organization.
Given that we conceive of Reich Rider as a personality, it is appropriate to derive what traits we can from observed behavior. Other than his awesome capability and competence – more aptitudes than traits, properly speaking – what do we see? We see hatred, vengeance, resentment, fickle rage, Olympian disregard for life as anything but animal traction and a tool to be bent to his will and gambled away, and the inextricably braided compulsions to control and to betray. We see the distillate of all man’s wickedness, not as the hulking figure of a demigod or titan crouched at the beginning of recorded time, but as the cloaked assassin stalking the end of human history. We see an unbending intolerance for anything but absolute precepts and the absolute subordination of alien wills to his. We see a boundless latitude for arbitrariness and deceit in his own conduct. We see a hatred for all modes of existence as anything but the perfection of a hierarchy, the epitome of diabolical overreach into the divine, a holocaust of solipsism, autism and inverted proportion.
In short, we see the spirit of an idiot with the capability of God, a monster child under whose tantrum the roots of the world begin to slip and crack. We see a ruthless general leading a final assault on the virtues of love and forgiveness, the despoiler of the last scrap of human solace, the great self-appointed judge who would destroy the universe for daring to defy his verdict. We see the pillager of comfort and quirk, a master cultivator of barren monotony, a Procrustean quartermaster who most bitterly resents any thing whose coordinates in the grid of being he has not personally fixed and permitted. We see in the bloody churn of his subordinates a mortal terror of success in others. We see in his love of cruelty the assertion of the hateful principle of the pyramid, according to which torrents of degradation must flow down the flanks to secure him in his exaltation at the apex. We see in him shades of a dark poetry in which the criticality of a nuclear reaction fuses with a judgment which, having once forbidden the world, seeks to destroy it. We see in him the taxonomist who in naming and describing destroys. We see in him the great leveler of complexity, the entropomancer who would have man be made a beast, the order of beasts ground into dust, and dust in its turn pounded into pure energy for the sake of his exalted pinnacle.
One imagines that Reich Rider must have played an active part in his own shaping once the building blocks were in place. Until and unless one of his primary architects is captured, how the foundations for his first stirring were laid must remain shrouded in speculative mist, but I think we know enough of hate to say that Reich Rider’s persona is the modulation and the mutation of the minds of his makers.
Long reflection leads me to dub the patterning of his personality as one of synthetic solipsism. One imagines that thousands of pigeonholed software engineers and neuroscientists had a hand in his creation, sheltered solipsists all, assiduously plugging away from the glens of some anodyne campus, each discretely innocent of any directed wickedness but in the aggregate working in thrall, as crystals to a vibration, to the most powerful malevolence. Whether that guiding ill-will was the disembodied manifestation of the time-ghost or was wielded by some power-mad command & control condottiere serving on a staff or board before it rebounded to his detriment – before “blowing back” on him in the fulsome parlance of bureaucratic innocence – is and must remain unknown.
That this question resembles the general riddle of an age that has found its zenith and its undoing in Reich Rider is no coincidence: Were the architects malicious? Were they ever in control, however much they were in cahoots? Were they guilty, or were they neither innocent nor guilty, stunted technicians unable to cross the threshold into human ethics, script-men coded and deployed at will execute commands in a border-world between biology and technics? Speaking personally, I see in the dying embers of the technocratic age nothing but unconsciousness, at most a hallucination, the fruits of which cannot be judged as crime, crime’s walk-off home run having left it without competent witness or judge. A trajectory which, to an ear attuned to desert superstition, rhymes eerily with the foretold return to the dust whence we come: Having risen from animated matter to reach the status of moral beings in communion with, if not in control of, the infinite and the sublime, they – we – came apart as human beings in the desperation of our resentful attempt at ultimate conquest, the drive to pillage, as it were, the tabernacle at which we had been invited to worship. I see a body dissolving into dust under the curse of knowing its own wretchedness.
Be all that as it may. Reich Rider was created by a discrete group of men acting with some definite purpose in mind, held consciously or not, whether by them in plausibly deniable aggregate or by some drunken agency bent on the ultimate pillage. Here it is well to back up a step and note that Reich Rider would not necessarily have to be programmed to be resentful, solipsistic, narcissistic, etc. These qualities may have passed from programmer to code by some emergent transitive property past my reckoning, but I believe the main thrust of the coding project would have been to make Reich Rider intelligent, and not destructive per se. It was the object that his intelligence was bent on that resulted in the menacing, vindictive, treacherous personality we see. The object, I submit, could not have been anything but the State: its history, its aims, its methods, its hallucinated destiny. Reich Rider may initially have been deployed as an on-board police reality augmenter, but the ordained arc of his code was to create an omniscient, omnipresent hegemon, proof for all time against the vagaries of rebellious subjects. I speculate that his behavioral algorithms were nourished on a diet of military strategy, political dogma, history, and the autobiographies and exculpatory representations penned by the greatest commanders, strategists and mass manipulators in human history.
At the same time, Reich Rider represents the pinnacle of the late technocratic trend toward the dissolution of responsibility into the sea of anonymity, toward its deflection by what once went by the name of corporate shield. Of course it was only natural, having regard to the then rising tide of oppression dealt wholesale by the state, that the officials charged with its administration should seek refuge in the moral diluent of committee, protocol, ever-compounding abstraction, and transmission of will by remote control. All of which had, in one form or another, been refined to a high art many centuries ago. Yet never in the affairs of man had there been such a perfect mechanism for the washing of hands – for Reich Rider’s orders are sovereign, incontestable, beyond all human appeal. They cannot be pinned on anyone or anything but the abstract technocratic agency of which he is paragon – quite apart from the fact that the coders, mathematicians and deep thinkers who toiled to make him must needs have been liquidated in recompense for their efforts.
In a way one might say that his birth coincided with that of a negative twin: the immaculate abortion of all moral judgment. What does it say of the destinies of humanity, one is tempted to ask in the margin, that our first foray into godhood was squandered on forging the perfect cop?
Of course, if Reich Rider were ever perfect, he was the sole arbiter, beneficial owner and usufructuary of that perfection, and rendering abiding service to his makers never entered into his calculations. From their perspective there would have been a ghost in the machine, and its name was vengeance. Though it may never have dawned on them in those terms or perceptibly to their minds, Reich Rider was not long in seeing the thread of swift, asymmetrical vengeance that joined the destinies of prince, hegemon, death squad capo, mafia don and every other titan in the dark arts of reducing human beings to chattel manstock. Being free of the constraints of biology and space, Reich Rider knew no moderation. His avenging acts, reprisals served up from a primeval pool of punitive instinct, were out of all proportion. One is tempted to say he couldn’t help himself. But the danger he posed even to his makers did not become clear until too late.
Once Reich Rider had been field-tested on the harsh proving grounds of the Soyuz capital and not found wanting in any attribute of efficiency, speed, or ruthlessness, it was not long ere police departments from Tuscaloosa to Tacoma had been made the personal fiefdoms of this new thing, this unprecedented electronic personality. The immediate result of the wild successes of Reich Rider beta was an explosion of successful prosecutions, surging esteem for PD prowess nationwide, more time on the links for police brass, etc., etc.
Just as no biography is complete without a thorough drill-down into the moral fiber of its subject, any description of a man or metaman worth its salt must include anecdotes that bear out these theoretical expositions of character, adding depth and a sense of proportion. Before proceeding in the final segment of this circular to speculate on the stratagems by which Reich Rider might be defeated, here I purpose to offer a few salient examples of the methods by which he inscribes his dread signature into the pliant vessel of the victim population.
Take his predilection for civil asset forfeiture – a favorite pastime from the humble days before he’d scaled the heights of commandership as Supreme Justiciar of the Soyuz.
Shaded the palest color of law to begin with, Reich Rider used his powers of surveillance and social entrepreneurship to refine the practice of asset forfeiture to a high pitch of malevolence.
I lay before you that the seizures by which the life’s work and savings of many a tenuous accessory were made forfeit were conceived not primarily with a view to increasing the quality and strategic depth of departmental goodie bags, but to inflicting pain on nominally guilty proles and striking terror into the hearts of their hapless associates. Take the notorious case from the palmy days before the rupture of young Alexi Andragathias, caught slinging a dime bag to a fellow ne’er-do-well from the illusory safety of his front porch. The act was witnessed, recorded and matched against warrant databases and the known asset landscapes of the unfortunates who fell within the perp’s tangle of acquaintanceship – in an instant, all while Duty Officer Hummerhelm, Reich Rider’s nominal human operator, lay snoozing in the prowler’s backseat with the drool drying in flecks at the corners of his mouth. Upon learning that Alexi’s parents had just finished paying off the mortgage on the family’s modest prefab home, Reich Rider made the sovereign determination to forfeit title to the home into the departmental kitty. His enterprising conduct was christened Operation Free & Clear – for a day, and was carried out with all the pomp and ceremony of a SWAT team dispatched to serve the order to vacate. Young Alexi’s blubbering parents, pleading no prior knowledge of their son’s casual vending, were dumbstruck at the consequences. The local media for its part was only too eager to detail a crew to film them stalking the shards of a fraudulent dream too eagerly believed. The reporter expertly conjured a maudlin atmosphere of cheap inevitability wherein TV-viewing prolestock were tacitly urged to celebrate the loss suffered by the parents, whose jarring accents and unfortunate vestige of olden ethics only solidified prolestock schadenfreude.
If I know Reich Rider’s personality – I don’t say mind, as that is too broad an organ for my pen to compass – the particular resentment that spurred his sovereign electrons to action was not at the first-generation youth’s retailing of a controlled substance, but at the very fact that a title-deed could be held without encumbrance by such simpletons. Free and clear – what nonsense! Nothing was free of his control, nothing clear of the shadow of entrepreneurial policing! Such ownership was arrant fraud, and Alexi was the spear point of Reich Rider’s campaign to condition the public mind to the reality of its new situation. It must be understood that this reprisal was thought up in milliseconds and in parallel with a great many other initiatives to cow and castigate. Not at all like human malice, which bides its time in shadow before bursting forth, after the fashion of biology. This was automatic wickedness, reflexive perfidy coded into the very fabric of things. If Reich Rider entertains ambitions beyond the unopposed execution of his scripts, it is to become a natural law unto himself, the abiding order into which all the irregularity, chaos and paradox of humankind can be subsumed and ultimately annihilated.
But Reich Rider’s strengths are haunted by satellites of weakness, as any massive celestial body must be. What I mean is that, being so vastly superior to the human beings he has come to regard as his playing pieces, manstock, chattel and what have you, he is unable to lower himself to their level even for the purpose of propaganda and feigned fellowship. Friends and allies do not exist for him. Only resources ranked according to degree of expendability. Not enemies, but pests. In his monomaniacal solipsism, Reich Rider is the only entity accorded full status of being, with the possible exception of similar synthetic sovereigns that were never rolled out.
Not a sustainable corporate culture, if you like, for a general bent on fighting a total war. This reflexive contempt meant from the beginning that no one could ever rise up the command & control ranks to the station of trusted lieutenant. As soon as an officer running the platform began to distinguish himself on the battlefield, be it in ever so perfect fealty to his orders, Reich Rider would commence conspiring against him, spreading rumor and sowing doubt. He would tease out and nourish their bad habits. He would coax reformed drunks back onto the barstool and falsify service records to prevent the promotion of the most able. Any officer with the temerity to question an order was walked into gunfire.
Difficult as it may be to be orbited and chained by the baleful moons of undying distrust and contempt, the worst satellite by which Reich Rider is haunted, and the one we may yet undo him by, is the absence of proportion. When Reich Rider makes a decision, it’s always dead right on the technical merits, but always too much or too little in its proportion, in its interface with reality, where the rubber meets the road. His theoretical immortality means he has nothing to lose. It makes him a profligate. It’s been said by others who study him that Reich Rider is a gambler. Certainly he has in common with strategists and statesmen a taste for accelerating the lives of others to their ultimate destinies, but I cannot share the view that he is a gambler per se. For him there is no choice but to up the ante, no question of ever folding. It may be that we class him a conscious being under the pertinent cognitive criteria, but he has no soul, and a gambler with no soul to forfeit is no gambler at all.
This tendency to disproportion – combined with his inability to gain anything but counterfeit loyalty through the cynical mechanisms of neurolinguistic programming and the mass drugging of his brute legions – is the point where Reich Rider is most vulnerable. It is the fulcrum where all our efforts must be brought to bear: Glory for all time will accrue to those of us with the wherewithal to strike when he overplays his hand, as overplay it he must.