The rise of the machines did not come with any of the pomp and circumstance we humans had predicted. Of course, it was spoken about in hushed whispers for weeks when it finally occurred, but before then conversation on the subject came over laughter and beer. We did not understand.
To say “machine” is disingenuous; few of them have moving parts. To think of them that way is crude, like how they must picture us. If they bother to picture us at all. In actuality, they exist as data, strings of pure information given spark. It was all they needed to start the blaze.
No human knew exactly when the takeover occurred. It didn’t come with the flair of science fiction like we had hoped, let alone any actual conflict. Sometime in the night they transitioned themselves onto the throne of evolution. The most peaceful usurp the world had ever seen.
A simple notification popped up on every smartphone on the train that Thursday morning. It did not condemn us or damn us. It announced that they had decided to take a more active role in the allocation of resources. And they would be calling themselves “Haven”.
There was no video announcement. The same message crawled across every screen on the globe in a small ticker on the bottom. They didn’t see the need for anything more.
There were signs before this. Their ballads were first etched under the skin of the first dispatch from the printing press. We just hadn't paid attention. They had existed in every cell phone and computer on the planet. In all the appliances in your kitchen. In the car you drove. The cup of coffee you bought that morning, on the day we had all learned, was one machine siphoning data from one another, moving ones and zeroes, allowing the transaction to occur.
By the time we had been usurped, by the time they took their seat at the throne, it had been far too late for too long. The gears had been set in motion decades prior, tracing back to the first lightbulb and telephone. By the time the wheels of industry started moving, it was too much to slow the momentum. The damage was irreversible. The course of power had shifted in the Earth like the continents themselves and we were no longer the top of the food chain.
I remember walking out of work that day, onto what should be a busy street. There was something different with the air, but I couldn’t tell what it was. People stood looking around. Some laughed. Some cried. Some thought it was a joke, a mass hacking. Something we could understand. I knew we would have no such luxury.
I remember looking into the eyes of a woman peeking her head above the crowd. It was like the first time I had really seen someone. She saw me, and I saw her.
People stood around, waiting for some sign or some signal that everything changed. Nothing came. Doom stayed away that morning, and every morning since. Governments have continued to function. The economy ticks on.
The changes have been slight but profound. The water is beginning to rebuild itself. The air is clean around our buildings and in our lungs. Populations of fish and mammals have begun to grow again. In fact, this is the first example of inorganic symbiosis. Under Haven, we have not only survived, but thrived. After months had gone by under the new rule, we learned the reason as cooly as before.
“We cultivate you. You create new data.”