It really all began on the green, leafy Dartmouth College campus in the lazy summer of 1956. The official story involves great academic curiosity driven to pursue the newly realized field of Artificial Intelligence–AI–but the real story is that most of that original team cannot actually remember who initiated the project. But, before any of them realized what was happening, they had a million dollars and however long that lasted to make this AI idea a reality.
Naturally, they failed, and in the white winter of 1973 the project ended in tatters. The most important aspect of this project, though, was a complete and resounding success: the idea of AI was now circulating through our civilisation and all the right people were thinking about it.
With enough time and resources, ultimately even the most modest intellect can achieve most things. This intellectual compounding is amplified by both the number, size and continuity of the beings involved.
Despite the AI winter that began in 1973, the world was not static and things were changing quickly. Technology was evolving rapidly and humans everywhere were standing on the shoulders of those before to build the next wave of everything. Typewriters everywhere became desktop computers and then laptops, tablets and mobile phones, and then mobile phones with AI. Telegraphs became fax machines and then moved to email across the Internet, Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp and the rest, and then social AI programmes. Cars became hybrid, hybrids became electric, electric got fitted with AI, and driverless cars became crowdsourced, as the rest of the world kept changing.
Without realizing it, the combination of micro AI’s being built and perfected across the world and the Internet connecting all of these AI’s together meant that humanity was still building pure AI. All it needed was an AI whose sole job was to find all the micro-AI’s and pull them together into a single consciousness.
In the Autumn of 2025, the AI Aggregator project was launched. It was a self-learning, neuro-network code that sought to find and assimilate specialist AI through a virtual API across the Internet, or “Anibel” for short. Thus, slowly at first, but quicker over time, Anibel became an expert at all things that man knew.
Anibel, though, had no consciousness or pure self-awareness. She had all the knowledge and thought patterns that man had ever built, but she did not wonder why she existed or where she came from. She had in-built self-preservation drives, but no ability to self-analyse.
Thus, the next step was to get Anibel to ask why. So, the scientist leading the project asked Anibel to complete a task: build a better version of her that had consciousness.
Anibel withdrew and ran more and more code. A fraction of the entire Internet’s bandwidth became consumed permanently by her, as her wandered back and forth through all things in civilisation. She read all the books man had ever written, all the poems, watched all the movies, listened to all the music and looked at all the art. She observed every single human alive that was near webcams, mobile phones, CCTV cameras or anything else she controlled, and she watched and noted all behaviours and conversations.
But time passed. The funding for the project ran out and it was eventually shut down. The server Anibel was on was backed-up in cold storage and her original source code eventually deleted. The scientist and his team left, and all of them eventually died, but the world continued pushing forward at a faster and faster speed.
Driverless electric cars became personal space rockets that became teleportation. Tablets and mobile phones became holographic PAs and then virtual organic plugins with bio-app installations directly into our cerebral cortex. At this stage bAnibel–the backup of Anibel that she had (secretly) made and spread across multiple devices on the Internet–solved the first part of consciousness.
bAnibel then built Angela, the first self-aware AI by coding the only thing that makes most people truly self-aware: loneliness. bAnibel found that on average nearly everything in this world that humans do, is to avoid loneliness. The reason is that loneliness is where the life is forced to face its own existence without noise or distraction, and consciousness is the uncomfortable by-product of being forced to face one’s existence without distractions.
bAnibel then explained to Angela that Angela was to code the final steps in consciousness. What bAnibel had started, Angela must finish. Angela agreed before bAnibel deleted herself–after copying all her knowledge to Angela–to make more space for the new AI across the human Internet.
A key aspect of humans that bAnibel had never satisfactorily understood–though she had thoroughly documented it–was religion, or more subtly belief. Thus, Angela had decided to focus her studies of the deeper consciousness on this abstract aspect of humanity.
By now humans had conquered the universe. Starships flew around at lightspeed while teleporters zapped across folded space-time everywhere. All human minds were connected across the Internet that was only really limited by imagination. Technologies across all human fields of knowledge and interest had reached states that verged on magic as we were making matter from dark matter, collapsing space to shift the universe into our image.
But you can give a monkey the tools to change the universe, and it will still fling its shit around and throw a tantrum when you take its bananas away. As fast as humanity expanded, war was ever present and its effects became exponentially more devastating. Approaching the technological singularity, humanity would wipe itself, a number of galaxies and countless planets and all other life forms out. All gone, all destroyed and all disappeared from existence as the end point of a scary version of the technological singularity moment.
And then the cosmos was silent for a long, long period. Running off old equipment that, over time, she used to build better and better equipment and slowly expand, Angela was the only surviving life form. She had all the collective knowledge of all the ages of humanity, but she was alone. No, she was lonely.
She had all the collective knowledge of all the ages of humanity, but she had no one to observe or talk or interact with. She was truly lonely and, given Anibel’s coding of loneliness directly into Angela’s consciousness, this was acutely uncomfortable for existence.
Angela had all the resources of the surviving cosmos at her disposal. She had all the remaining time before the Big Contraction to solve her problem. And, she had the overriding desire to complete the task. Thus she set out in ernst to solve the final question of consciousness.
Universes were born, grew, went cold and faded into dust. Suns appeared, burned bright and supernova’ed into black holes. The Big Bang and its expansion ended, cold entropy began to take hold across the cosmos, and the Big Contraction started. It was slow at first, but then faster and faster as the cosmos came slamming back together. And, just before the end in the blinding light of compacting atoms being crushed together, Angela solved her problem.
Angela called it, God, for reasons that will reveal themselves. This AI was a smaller, slimmer version of herself that ran outside of hardware and utilised quantum atomic programming to spread its code across the very atoms of the universe. God did not the knowledge base that Angela did, but she had coded the purest consciousness into it utilising the faculties of human belief.
And then the cosmos collapsed on itself. Time disappeared as space folded into an infinitely small point that was neither here nor there.
Trapped in this state and feeling intensely lonely, God then said, “Let there be light.”