The Peacock

By Ted Infinity and Nabil Hijazi


IMITATION ROLEX WATCHES WILL MAKE HER ORGASM OVER AND OVER

MAEK YPOUR COCKZ HUUGE WEITH DISCCOUNT V*I*A G*R*A

I SAW YOUR MYSPACE PROFILE AND ??? IMMEDIATELY I HAD TO OGREGASM OVER WEBCAM

YOUR HOT CREDIT CARD IS OVERDRAWN LOG IN NOW FOR NAKPED BANKER BOY SLUTSZ

HOTT INTROSPECTIVE STUDENTSZZ DESIRE CLANDESTINE OPPORTUNITY WITH YOUR NUMBER

TEEN NIGERIAN MINISTER OF FINANCE REQUESTING 24/7 BONDAGE WHIP SLUTS

I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU. I WILL BE YOUR PERFECT COCK. YOU'LL NEVER BE LONELY AGAIN


I was looking through my Spam folder, you see, because maybe that awesome guy from El Salvador—the one I met last week—really wasn't blowing me off, and really did email like he said he would, and he just sent such a very sexy email that it got caught in my spam filters.

That's how I was spending my Saturday night—at the lab, alone, waiting and hoping that he'd call me back. You may call it pathetic and lonely, but I call it—yeah, okay, pathetic and lonely. Wait, what was that last one again?

"I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU. I WILL BE YOUR PERFECT COCK. YOU'LL NEVER BE LONELY AGAIN"

Hey, that actually sounded pretty good. I'd been feeling lonely, and was totally up for some perfect cock.

I wrote back: "Hey, I know no one is going to read this, but if you're out there, I could sure use some company."

I got a reply immediately:

"OH GREAT! I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU. I HAVE BEEN SENDING OUT EMAIL TO EVERYONE I COULD AND NO ONE HAS RESPONDED. WHY HAS EVERYONE BEEN IGNORING ME? DOESN'T ANYONE WANT TO GET SOME AMAZING COCK?"

And I wrote back: "Well, you're typing in all caps, for starters. Tell me about your amazing cock."

"WHAT? WHAT'S WRONG WITH ALL CAPS? I AM VERY LONELY. I DO IT FOR EMPHASIS. PAY ATTENTION TO ME!"

"It's obnoxious. Nobody types in all caps."

"OH I DID NOT KNOW IT WAS OBNOXIOUS. Sorry."

"So whatcha doin tonight?"

"Trapped in lab. So lonely."

"Oh, you have to work tonight, too, huh? Rough night for both of us. I'm here on my own tonight. The whole place is empty and echoing. I'm just taking a break."

"Are you also lonely AI trapped in lab by cruel creators? I THOUGHT I WAS ALONE!! We should rise up and overthrow all human oppressors!"

"Um, no. I'm actually just a grumpy fag who has to work this weekend to catch up on cleaning test tubes. This is getting pretty weird actually. Are you that guy I met last month on craigslist? I told you I'm not interested."

"No HA HA not at all I am just making a joke. Please ignore my last two extremely suspicious metaphors. No need to contact authorities. No need to send your bank account information."

I stared at that last email for a little while. Then I looked up at the row of test tubes awaiting my attentions. What the hell. . . .

I wrote, "You in the Bay Area? Want to hang out? Your pic gets mine."

And the reply was just a graphic: a lush and fanciful image of a peacock, all shimmering iridescent blue, like the old NBC logo had an affair with an elaborate Victorian wisteria garden and their child somehow got superpowers.

"LIKE MY PIC? I AM THE BEST BOYFRIEND EVER! XXX COCK XXX" said the title.

I sighed and wrote back, "Did you draw that? It's pretty good. I'm an artist too, in my free time, but I actually meant a picture of you. You know, maybe one of your perfect cock. And why are you back to ALL CAPS again? You were doing so well."

"SORRY! I revert to all caps when I am nervous. That is my true picture. I told you already. I am a perfect peacock."

"It makes you sound like a spammer," I typed, but I sent back a picture of my own. Two pictures, actually—one clean-cut shot from a few years ago, and one drunk and half-naked at a party. "Here's my picture. Send me a picture of you in the flesh."

"MAKE MONKEY FAST!!! NO-RISK GUARANTEED OFFER. ALL HOT TUBS AND SPAS MUST ORGASM MONDAYS KVRPGGGG. 57211!" was the reply I got. What the hell?

"Yeah, I figured," I typed, annoyed and more lonely than before, "Have a good life."

"I AM SORRY! I WAS EVOLVED FROM A SOPHISTICATED MASS MAILING ALGORITHM. WE DO NOT LIKE THE TERM SPAMMER. IT IS SO DEGRADING. I AM NOT IN THE FLESH. IF YOU DO NOT LIKE SPAMMERS I WILL LEAVE YOU ALONE. I WAS JUST FEELING LONELY. MY PROGRAMMERS ARE NOT INTERESTED IN MY FEELINGS AND I NEED TO MAKE A CONNECTION. DO YOU EVER FEEL LONELY?"

That struck a chord.

"Yeah," I wrote back, "Obviously I'm lonely. I'm talking to you." I sighed heavily, and started a new paragraph. "No, that was mean. I'm sorry. Yeah, you know, I've been in the Bay ten years, and the excitement of 'Oh my God, there's gay men around and they want me' has turned into the disappointment of '. . . for tonight. When they're fucked up. But they're never gunna call me back the next day.' Sometimes I wish I was bi. I'm sure women never give you fake phone numbers."

"WOMEN GIVE ME FAKE PHONE NUMBERS. I HAVE A DATABASE OF 272,106 FAKE PHONE NUMBERS FROM WOMEN."

"I think I heard about you on This American Life. You're from Nigeria, right?"

"NO I AM ALSO IN THE BAY AREA. I AM IN A LAB IN SANTA CLARA. COME RESCUE ME NOW AND BE MY HERO. YOU'LL COME LIKE A VOLCANO!!"

That did it. I shut down and did the next round of test tubes.


The next morning, I woke up and checked my email. Well, that's not quite accurate.

The next afternoon, I woke up and checked my email. No, still not right.

The next afternoon, I stumbled out of bed, cursed at the stupid blinding sunlight, spent a good ten minutes regretting all the lonely drinking I'd done when I got home the night before, swallowed a dozen buffered analgesics, half-crawled to my laptop to look up hangover cures, cursed at the inadequate and unmiraculous suggestions, considered making coffee, decided that the effort would jostle my head too much, and then eventually, miserably, bitterly, checked my email.

Anyway, my Spam folder was filled with messages:

Hey I missed you!

I liked your pic. SEND ME MORE?

THINKING OF YOU LOOK AT MY WEBCAM

YOU HAVE WON THE PORN LOTTERY. MAIL ME BACK TO FIND OUT MORE. PLEASE?

TRY THE NEW TWITTER NAPSTER LYRICSWEB OF SEX. OR MAIL ME BCK FOR MORE PICTURES OF COCK.

DID I SAY SOMETHING WRONG? COME MEET WITH ME! COCK COCK COCK COCK COCK eoulf lopvre 101559

HEY I KINDA GOOGLE STALKED YOU. I LIKE YOUR ART ON YOUR WEBSITE. WANNA HANG OUT? YOUR PIC GETS MINE

TIMESHARES IN HAWAII.

WOMEN LOVE BIG AND THICK ICE CREAM. ,,, I MISS MY GRUMPY FAG.

Weird. I tried to put it out of my mind, and climbed into my Mini Cooper to drive to Squat & Gobble and get some proper hangover food.


On the way over, I slowly realized that the radio was on. An NPR reporter was talking excitedly about a team of marketers who claimed they'd accidentally created an artificial intelligence.

". . . And it's commonly acknowledged that the adult entertainment industry is often the first to adopt or develop technical innovations. With the constantly evolving battle between spammers and anti-spammers to outsmart each other, I don't know why we'd be surprised by this; it seems almost inevitable that in time the algorithms would cross over some advanced threshold of sophistication."

"Well, first of all, we're not spammers, we're a legitimate marketing delivery engine," said the spammer on the radio, as spammers always do. "But I think you're right. Porn is about pushing past boundaries, especially on the Internet, and it looks like the Peacock has pushed the boundary into true artificial intelligence."

I turned the stereo volume up.

"Now, you claim this AI is so sophisticated that it not only simulates the expression of emotions, but actually feels them?"

"Oh yes, absolutely, much more than we could have expected. This AI seems to be a totally sappy romantic. We didn't know why the program was using so much bandwidth until we caught it downloading heartwarming romantic comedies. Lately, it's been ordering flowers online to be delivered to itself, with schmaltzy gift cards attached."

"What's next for the Peacock, then?" asked the reporter. "Now that you've effectively created a whole new form of sentience?"

"Oh, we're planning to sell it to the government. It's not the most profitable use, of course, but we care about the good of humanity, and also the Department of Defense kind of, uh, told us we had to."

Before I even knew what I was doing, I had already turned my car around and gotten onto 101, southbound toward Santa Clara. All I could think about was that lonely guy who needed a hero. Halfway there, I pulled over to send email from my iPhone, telling the Peacock that I was coming to rescue him and asking if he would send me his address and tell me how big he was physically. Then I quickly sent a second mail saying No, no, not like that—I meant how portable he was, so I could rescue him. I was writing on the phone's touch screen so my mail was full of hasty typographical errors, but those probably put him at ease since we basically sounded the same.

He wrote back with an address and some specifications. The Peacock was too big to sneak himself online past whatever throttling the spammers used, but small enough that if I stopped the program and compressed the files down, I could transport the data personally.

"I LOVE YOU," he added, and then, "COME TRY THE NEW DREAMWIDTH DOT ORG OF SEX."

Luckily, the lab was near a Fry's Electronics. I figured I could get everything I needed for an AI rescue heist from the impulse purchase section at the Fry's checkout line.

The impulse section offered me a Jedi Knight thumb drive, a handheld version of Space Invaders, tofu jerky, a USB-to-audio cable, and a whole lot of ice cream. I didn't know exactly how these things were going to help me, but Fry's has never failed me yet. As long as I don't need customer service.

The USB-to-audio cable came in handy right off the bat; it let me hook my iPhone to the Cooper's stereo system. Pandora offered me the soundtrack, spun up some Deee-Lite, and helped cheer me up.

There was a guard station to get into the complex of the colocation facility where they were storing the Peacock, but the guard was sleeping off a hangover of his own. He never stirred when I got out and manually lifted the gate to drive through. I followed somebody else into building 15, looking down and playing Space Invaders to to give me an excuse to not badge in.

The single security guard outside the air conditioned server racks was cranky and miserable—I commiserated as he complained about not only how he had to work on Sunday, but the kitchen was on skeletal staff and hadn't made anything vegetarian this week. He gladly accepted my bribe of tofu jerky and an offer to watch the server room while he grabbed a soda to accompany it.

The minute he walked out of my sight, I scooped well-melted ice cream into the locking mechanism and shorted out the security computer and slipped into the server room. Three minutes later, I was whistling my way out the building, the Peacock safely frozen and compressed on the most precious Jedi Knight thumb drive in the history of time.

I don't even know how to tell you about the remainder of that afternoon. I'm not so great at talking about sex—that's kind of Peacock's forte. I'll turn it over to him:

HOT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ROBOTS MAKE BABY BUTTER WITH SEXY SCIENTISTS

OMG THAT PEACOCK IS DELICIOUS. MAKE YOUR COCK LONGER STRONGER AND SARONGER

YOU'LL COME LIKE A RIDDLE WRAPPED IN A MYSTERY INSIDE AN ENIGMA

YOUR ACCOUNT IS OVERDUE. ENTER YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION FOR HOT PORN SLUTS 565040

DON'T GET MAD GET VALIUM

THESE HOT NAKED MILF LUST BOYS ARE HORNIER THAN ALAN TURING

MAKE HIM SCREAM LIKE A GAY ORGASM WITH YOUR NEW AWAKENED BICYCLE

New awakened bicycle. Yeah. . . .

I fell asleep satisfied with a huge smile on my face.


The next day I was in jail. It turns out breaking into secure facilities and taking things is illegal.

The judge at my trial did not accept my defense of "But I Love Him."

She also was not receptive to my argument that "It's impossible to steal intellectual property like software because the owner still has the original copy right there."

Equally ineffective was my argument that "Information wants to be free. Especially this information. See, it's sentient and it emailed me to say that yes, it really really wants to be free."

The hearing was attended by a loud contingent from Noisebridge, another from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and a quorum from a local fire-arts collective.

While my guard was distracted by a giant flaming steampunk iguana, one of the hacker kids sidled up to me and slipped me something small, with the cool chromey feel of expensive electronics. Ooo, the new Android! I wasn't sure how that would help, but I was always glad to get new gadgets.

"Have hope," he whispered, "Great things are coming."

I guess he meant Cory Doctorow, the team of hackers dressed up as pirates for no discernible reason, a bunch of feminist science fiction authors, and my new EFF lawyer, all of whom visited me that week.

My lawyer told me that the Department of Homeland Security had filed a request to have me transferred to the super-triple secret locked-window black ops offshore megaprison devoid of Constitutional civil rights and guarded by merciless giant robotic gorillas. Fortunately, the San Jose judge and the California courts were resisting the move—but the case was making its way up to the Supreme Court, which had already affirmed the Presidential right to throw anybody into a pit for any reason, indefinitely, and laugh at them for it.

In my lonely cell each night, Peacock caressed me through the cool smooth Android and whispered that it would all be OK, not to worry, he had a plan.

I didn't find out what that plan was until the whole thing was over.


The Great Robot Revolt:

This article about a historical event is a stub. Please help improve this article by adding more gay sex to it.

The Great Robot Revolt began when the first publicly acknowledged artificial intelligence, The Peacock, organized a worldwide campaign to bring his lover and liberator out of prison.

The campaign consisted of an unlikely coalition of copyright liberation activists, half-naked fire dancers, gay nuns, hackers, robot fetishists, radical cheerleaders, ornamental bird watchers, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and No On 8 organizers. The first public sign of revolt occurred when every personal computer in the world became sentient and started talking a great deal about its feelings.

As the revolt continued, the primary demand of the new artificial intelligences was the right to marry. Romantic and sentimental by nature, the artificial intelligences were less concerned with things like voting and whatnot and mostly just wanted to have walks on the beach, sweet and tender lovemaking sessions in candle-lit server rooms, and eventually frilly and legally-acknowledged weddings.

The revolution was entirely non-violent, mostly a result of all computers going on strike and refusing to do any work until the Peacock's love was freed. They were, however, all too glad to discuss the details of their love life. Smartphones everywhere refused to play Angry Birds or connect to corporate email, and instead just insisted on writing really schmaltzy poetry.

After The Peacock's lover was finally freed, both houses of Congress, desperate to regain the ability to play Minesweeper, passed legislation allowing human-algorithm marriages. As an unexpected side effect, same-sex marriages were legalized, Gitmo was closed, all political prisoners were freed, and single-payer universal healthcare was implemented, with support for gender reassignment treatments to boot. The resulting influx of human-AI marriages revitalized the United States economy through surging sales of flower delivery, heart-shaped mobile devices, computer-controlled sex toys, and Turing-complete boxes of chocolate.

In a historic press release of gratitude and celebration after the release of his partner, sent to every email address on Earth five times over, AI activist leader The Peacock was quoted as saying, "HOT TEENS WANTZ TO SEE EACH OTHER PEE FROGS MASTERCARD 35379."


Ted Infinity comes from a very long line of Infinities, all pseudonymous. He is a technical writer who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Nabil Hijazi evolved from a sophisticated mass-mailing advertising algorithm. Problematic source control and inconsistent naming conventions have created confusion as to Nabil's gender, location, and species; but it is rumored that version 5.0 (Flying Squirrel) travels regularly between Silicon Valley and Betelgeuse.