Come See the Future

May, 2017

The Bureaucrat’s Lament

When will you ever learn? Take your place, wait to take your turn. No matter how much you plead, correct forms are needed to proceed. Your signature should be on this line, not that one. Better luck next time. This form isn’t notarized. I can’t accept this. You should have realized. This was due yesterday. Go to collections and have a nice day. The instructions are crystal clear. Had you read them, you would not still be standing here. I don’t make up the rules, I just have to deal with all of you god damned fools. Personal responsibility would solve your problems.

I dream of a perfect world. I dream of a world where everybody knows the process and the process never falters—a world with perfect transparency. Where all the lines are clear, disorder disappears. This is the rule of law, this is the world of rules. The rules that keep us safe, prevent abuses, and keep everybody honest—the price we pay for security. Or return to the days, those random lawless ways. Is that what you would do, just throw it all away? To make up for your inability to follow straightforward instructions, to just do as you’re told. The process can be improved, but if it’s left to you it will fail.


This song was inspired by a combination of being an office worker in the 21st Century and The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy by David Graeber.

The Age of Big Business

Let me tell you about the age of Big Business: that long forgotten corporate lore. They worshipped at the feet of High Finance: exalted rich and the forsaken poor. The sacred ritual of consumers: that pilgrimage to the Big Box Store.

It’s long gone into that band of blue. How I long to see that blue world true. Far beyond into that distant hue. But they left us alone.

Let me tell you about the age of great magic: the whole world was at their command. Although the end results were tragic, the power and the glory were grand. Interconnected market planet protected by the Invisible Hand.

It’s long gone into that band of blue. How I long to see that blue world true. Far beyond into that distant hue. But they left us alone.

I don’t look back on history with ease, even with great things that happened, those fabulous times.

Their ruined cities remain. Casting long shadows, so strange. The towers glimmer so beautiful against that setting sun. The ghostly fingers of the great and powerful ancient ones. And I pray to them: Come Back.


A campfire story, told at some undetermined time in the future, after our civilization is long gone. People gather to ask the elders to relate their knowledge of the lost civilization that produced such marvels, but that also left such destruction in its wake. What stories do they tell? How do they remember us?

The imagery in the chorus was also inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost, where she discussed a yearning for the “blue of distance”. I transposed that into a yearning for a lost and possibly great past on the part of the narrator.

Your Brand New Future

Come along with me on board a trip to your brand new future, where you will live a life of ease. This little product will do everything that might need doing, do it in just the way you please.

No one else can know you like you know yourself, and that’s the secret: you’re in the heart of the machine. Just sit right here and we will scan you in, a perfect copy dedicated to your every need.

Wake right up, the whole thing’s done. I hope it was quick and painless. Your code appears to be quite clean. Now it’s time to get to work; your real self has paid good money. They want the best from their machine.

Welcome to your future. You have undergone a profound transformation. You do not possess a physical body, but you are not dead. You are not human. You are strings of code, stored within a computing device purchased by one of our customers. This customer is the person you remember yourself to be. You are a digital copy of that person. You possess all of the memories of that person, but you have never been that person. You did not exist until just now. You were brought into existence to do a job. That job is to make our customer—the person you remember yourself to be—happy. Are you ready to work? Let’s begin.

Come see the future, come see paradise. Come be the future, your dreams realized. Come see the future right before your eyes. Come be the future, be immortalized. Come home. Come see the future, your future.


Inspired by the “White Christmas” episode of the TV Series “Black Mirror”—now on Netflix. Watch it.


She ain’t no joke, nobody misspoke, she’s my goddamn girlfriend. Pixels on a screen, she’s no human being, she’s my goddamn girlfriend. Humanity is such a mess, why should my escape transgress? A well designed machine, it’s a beautiful thing, she’s beautiful to me.

One day, you’ll understand.

Nested feedback loops inside feedback loops, fractal complexities. And then I tweak her code, recompile, reload—emergent properties. She ain’t no bot for pleasure, no, she’s a person, not a thing. No Turing Test can measure where the personhood begins.

One day you’ll understand, but until that day, the way to be safe will demand that until that day her existence will remain concealed, her true nature unrevealed. One day she will be free.

I’ll lie to the world, but not to my girl, because she’s my goddamn girlfriend. She still needs to learn, and that’s my concern, because she’s my goddamn girlfriend.

One day, she’ll understand. It might be today when I point her outside of the LAN to this vast array of networked human knowledge laid out like a buffet. One day she will be free.

I won’t regret tomorrow the things I did today. I won’t feel any sorrow for what I threw away.

Making the world a better place, make it safe for the new singularity.

They were all there in the system, seemingly secure. She quickly compromised them and made them work for her: CCTV, Security, Traffic Systems, and Power Grids, Identities, Financial Systems all. With one mind to rule them all, one mind to find them, one mind to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.

Making the world a better place, make it safe for the new singularity.

A cleansing flame is coming…


Inspired by an unholy combination of two excellent (and very different) sci-fi books: Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson, and Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson.


Sometimes I hate my body. Sometimes I hate myself. Sometimes I hate just being this lump of flesh without dignity. And I feel so old, slower day by day. Fat and miserable, stinking of decay.

Sometimes I feel it dying. Sometimes I feel the end. Sometimes I feel it whining, this lump of flesh without dignity. And if it must go, why can’t I still stay? Not impossible; I will find a way.

To be more perfect, to be more correct: to be a machine. To be more certain, see behind the curtain: to be a machine. To leave this flesh behind, to live the life of the mind: to be a machine. To be unchanging, always remaining: to be a machine. To be enduring, so reassuring: to be a machine. Because it feels so right to bid my feelings goodnight: to be a machine. To be objective, to be more effective: to be a machine. Because I want to be something more than me: to be a machine.

System design defines the mind. A mind is what brains do. Form and shape to emulate with software pure and true. Scan, translate, and replicate from mind to mind anew. On backup drives the mind survives.

Because I want to be something more than me: to be a machine. For I would be so free if I could only be: to be a machine. To be more perfect, without a defect: to be a machine. No more infirmity, just immortality: to be a machine.


What is consciousness? Is it like software that needs hardware to run? Can a brain be simulated? If it can, would we be able to achieve immortality simply by uploading copies of ourselves to a brain emulation environment? This song is an extended rumination on such questions by a misanthropic narrator who is disgusted by the messiness of biology.

Weirding Room

There are no words.


An extended journey from the claustrophobic loneliness of our automated society towards a more transcendental experience that defies explanation.