Tag Archives: AI

Colitis Generosa

“Salf, hurry up, we haven’t got all day. What are you staring at, anyway? Old dude in a lab coat, with piglets?! The piglets are curtey-cutey, yes, ok. Nice piece of educational hologram, whatever it’s supposed to be about. But, need I remind you, Salf, you’re the one who fancies new cotton wear. You’re the one who insisted on walking all the way to try buy old-fashioned pre-sawn from a classical bricks-and-mortar shop that’s bound to be outrageously expensive, instead of going online to align your 3D persona with a nice cut, select a fabric and have your cotton wear custom made, like a normal person. Need I remind you, Salf, how I proposed…”

Lenk doesn’t get to finish his litany. Salf is too excited about his discovery to let him proceed, as he usually would, for at least ten minutes, as per their long established custom:

“You got to read this, Lenk! Yes, it’s an edutainment window, yes, those are not cool. But this is so amazing. Look at this, Lenk, please, who’d ever have thought…” 

Pulling his companion closer to the display, Salf starts to paraphrase the explanatory note:

“Back in 2025, people were eating lots of meat, for whichever disgusting reason, especially pork. Kept at very close quarters, pigs tended to get aggressive, sometimes pretty lethally so, as in maiming each other. Omar Tabori, that’s the dude in the lab coat, people went by two or three names in those days, because of some clan concept, Omar Tabori, he was studying the porcine gut biome. That’s the community of bugs in the entrails of pigs. People have one such community, too, in their guts. For them, it’s called the human gut biome.

The Omar, let’s call him by one name, like he was a modern person, to facilitate, the Omar, he was looking for ways to fatten pigs faster. He worked with different pig farms, in a very practical type of research. In the course of years of study, the Omar couldn’t help notice that one of the farms lost lots of pigs to aggression, whereas there were no such incidents on another, and very few on a third. Intriguing difference. Our guy Omar, he wondered what was behind it.

Different breed of pigs? Nope. Different stables? Nope. Different pig feed? Nope.

Different porcine gut biomes? Bingo! With a lot of help from a lot of very early days AI, our guy Omar found out that a combination of three bugs made pigs peaceful. None of the three bugs worked on its own. But in the presence of all three what was a bad tempered pig on Monday had turned into a zen pig by Friday.

Our guy Omar published his results, got himself a nice pile of cash from a big vetpharm company, and went on to live happily ever thereafter in a nice mansion on a posh island. End of Omar story. But by no means end of overall story.

By 2030, all farmed pigs all over the world were inoculated with PigZen. Please don’t ask how. Details not suitable for polite conversation, like access through the rear entrance,…

Anyway, by 2030 peace reigned on all pig farms, and even some animal rights activists were prepared to concede that the livestock had a better, if still exceedingly short life. Pretty good progress, just like science is supposed to deliver. 

Don’t look at me like this, Lenk.

Yes, we are vegetarians, and couldn’t care less about pretty repulsive ancient dietary choices. But the pigs are not the true story. They’re just the prequel.

Pigs and people, they’re not that far apart, biologically speaking.

By 2040, some army types and football coaches in regions with big pig farms, like the US, Asia and Europe, noticed a marked decrease in animal spirits among juveniles that made it ever harder to find promising new recruits. As national securities were at stake, research was funded, pretty much across the world. And guess what so many scientists discovered, in parallel and in secret, because that’s how defense research is done? 

Exactly! Good old Omar’s zen inducing combination of bugs had jumped host. Pig farm workers had spread the adaptable bugs to their families, and from there on they conquered the world. There was a mild diarrhea associated with the infection, barely noticed by most people. In defense circles, the diarrhea got nicknamed Colitis Generosa, because it not only made people less aggressive, it also made them much more willing to share.

A very secret and nevertheless lively debate occurred. Normally, infections are for fighting. But this particular pandemic came with advantages. 

Just imagine yourself a general, Lenk, you’re a leader kind of person, should come easy.

As a general, you’d be awfully keen, on the opposite side getting infected with Colitis Generosa. No recruits, no combat readiness, that’s exactly what you cherish in an adversary. As long as your side manages to stay just a little ahead, on the agressivity scale, you’ll be pretty sure to prevail, and at less cost than in the past.

Military administrations can do speed, in an unambiguous emergency, but with Colitis Generosa, no one felt threatened enough to move fast. ‘Let the zen bugs roam and weaken our potential enemies’, was the attitude of choice. By the time the bugs had spread far and widely enough to convince majorities to open borders and dismantle armies, it was too late for the top brass to reconsider. As they also had gotten themselves infected, just like everybody was carrying the bugs by 2050, they melted into retirement without so much as even a minuscule last war.

And that’s how our global government came about. Bit late to do enough about climate change, getting there earlier would have avoided us a lot of decades of rationing. But I’d rather not imagine how bad we would fare now, without good old Omar and his pig gut research. Even total no brainers, like the disappearance of racism and homophobia, might have needed help from Omar’s bugs, to prevail. Just imagine it all hadn’t happened, Lenk.”

As usual in this kind of situation, Lenk is torn between shaking his head and melting with love. Not prepared to choose, he goes: “I’d rather not, Salf, but thank you for sharing.”

Ronnie Roofer

“Come on, Seedie, good boy, we can do this, one more effort. Less than two hundred square meters to go, you can’t fail me now! We can do it. This will be one more wonderful roof garden, all green, and capturing lots of carbon to deliver oxygen, like the Amazon reloaded in Nigeria. We can do it, Seedie, you’ve got what it takes, you’ve got it in you, one more effort!”

Ronnie is glad there isn’t anyone else on this roof. Would be annoying, to be overheard talking to the robot like it was a dog. It’s the right size, walks on four legs, the planting end could be mistaken for a head at a distance, and the rear stabilizer for a tail, but that’s it, for similarities. 

Seedie is an emotional moron, would never wag its tail in joy to celebrate one more outing. It’s scientifically clever, hard to beat at soil analysis and melioration. It’s well balanced, able to fearlessly stalk along steep roofs that Ronnie’s excellent head for heights considers too dangerous to access. But Seedie is an emotionally blank. 

Seedie doesn’t yawn and moan about lack of sleep in the morning. It never inquires about Ronnie’s last night, to force him into a big brag about an endless series of romantic achievements that of course never happened. Nor does Seedie counter with an even bigger brag. No bragging, no groaning, no yawning, no calling for breaks. Seedie just does the job, without ever clamoring for a raise. Seedie is the team mate from hell, a blank striver.

But Ronnie is as close to tears as a tough guy dares admit, and to himself only. They have been working together for eight years. Seedie was Ronnies first brandnew Roof Planting Mate.

When he started at the firm, directly after his roofer course at the Lagos University for Applied Environmentalism, his manager didn’t trust the novice with proper tools.  Ronnie was forced to work with a semiautonomous model so outdated and hopelessly inefficient he had to go online for help, and in his own unpaid time!

Couple of days and posts later, Ronnie had become a card carrying member of the Roofers for Bright Skies union. A senior activist, code name GetDone, had explained how to proceed, and his trick worked like magic. It was actually quite simple.

One confidential chat with the owner of the three roofs Ronnie was in process of transforming into a tomato-cum-herbs jungle, to inform him of state of the art rooftop planting practices, sent the client calling the firm to yell for proper modern tools, or else bye bye contract.

Right on the next day, Ronnie had barely made it onto the middle roof with his museum exhibit of a hopeless tool, Seedie was delivered. A brandnew, state of the art, autonomous roof planting robot, straight from the manufacturer. Ronnie hadn’t been the star student in his coding class for nothing. He did it, all on his own. After a mere three hours of setup and configuration, Seedie was ready to go and prompty did a marvel. Together, they achieved more in one day, and it wasn’t even a full one, than Ronnie had gotten done in his whole first week.

The client was so pleased he tipped generously, a traditional appreciative practice that is unfortunately getting rarer and rarer, with all the explanations one has to provide since the switch to ecash only. Some kinds of digitalization really don’t qualify as progres…

But Ronnie has bigger worries to tackle right now. Never mind a few missed tips. Him and Seedie, they have been such a great team, right from their exhilarating first day.

And it’s not just all the work they’re getting done. Ronnie spends more time with Seedie than with his family, and he can always tell him anything, without fear of disclosure.

No problem to talk to Seedie about his betting wins and losses, both best no shared at home.

No risks in uttering doubts around the excessive passion at his neighborhood Liverpool fan club. Seedie doesn’t freak out when told that, honestly, it’s but a game, in the end, no need to go crazy about each and every match.

Even wondering aloud about setting up his own firm, to specialize on medicinal plants like cannabis and poppy for rooftop greening, is perfectly possible and safe in Seedie’s presence. 

Ronnie has of course made sure to deactivate all spy functions. He attended a union workshop on how to safeguard privacy in the presence of AI tools, in his own unpaid time, at his own expense. A very wise move. Not even his pretty professional expert self would have guessed just how many data could have been gathered by something as innocuous as Seedie, the settings permitting.

Ronnie and Seedie, they’ve seen a lot, over the past eight years, and now Seedie is falling apart. If its malfunctioning gets any worse, if they keep missing targets due to repair downtime, Ronnie will have to call management to ask for a replacement.

Even thinking about this betrayal breaks Ronnies heart. Two years ago, Seedie would have had a chance to get updated and come back an old fashioned but robust tool with a couple of years to go. But nowadays, after the sudden switch to the new ambient quantum cores, no one will bother. The tech unit is sure to declare Seedie scrap, have him dismantled and recycle the components. 

Ronnie didn’t see the switch to ambient quantum cores coming, despite hearing about some of it one the news, and he hates himself for his mistake. He doomed good old Seedie.

There must be a way to keep going, for a couple more months. Weeks. Days. Hours.

Pretending not to notice the minimal progress since his last cheer, Ronnie once again goes:

“Come on, Seedie, good boy, we can do this, one more effort. Less than two hundred square meters to go, you can’t fail me now! We can do it. This will be one more wonderful roof garden, all green and capturing lots of carbon to deliver oxygen, like the Amazon reloaded in Nigeria. We can do it,  Seedie, you’ve got what it takes, you’ve got it in you, one more effort!”.