Souls of the Machines

By Jonathan McDermott


Without going into too much detail, I've had occasion to consider the idea that machines -- such as, say, computers -- which are used interactively by a great many people over a long period of time might inherit some sort of spirit or quintessence from their users.

I don't mean things like web servers. There's nothing interactive there; there's just requests for data, delivery of data, not much else. It's essentially one-way communication. I'm talking about something more along the lines of an ancient, 20-plus-years-old minicomputer, which has dumb terminals hardwired into it, and is used by thirty to fifty people just about every day during the course of those twenty years or so.

People are interacting with the computer relatively directly, day in day out. A lot of humans might anthropomorphize it: they'll talk to it, urge it, curse it. They'll be looking at the screen at what the computer tells them, and 'talking back' (through the keyboard) to it.

In such a case, I can see I computer gaining Essence over time, from the users, perhaps even eventually using that essence in some way to develop an Ethereal Force. It may develop a personality of sorts. A spirit. Not a soul, not as IN defines them, but a spirit of some kind.

So... what happens when the computer isn't being used much, in down time? What happens when that spirit is in the Marches? What happens... when the computer is turned OFF?


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