“Elon Musk has said that there is only a ‘one in billions’ chance that we’re not living in a computer simulation. Our lives are almost certainly being conducted within an artificial world powered by AI and highly-powered computers, like in The Matrix, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO suggested at a tech conference in California.” — The Independent

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ALIEN ONE: Remember how we created that simulation with inhabitants who eventually called themselves “humans”?

ALIEN TWO: Humans… one of our more primitive simulations, right?

ALIEN ONE: Very. So, the humans created this thing called “the internet.” It’s basically a terrible version of klorg. Doesn’t allow you to experience complete physical pleasure, for instance. Anyway, check out this human: he paid for the internet and — oh, yeah, you have to “pay” for things in their world.

ALIEN TWO: What do you mean, “pay”?

ALIEN ONE: Like, you can’t just think of something and suddenly you have it. Someone else possesses a thing, and you have to give your own resources to them to receive the thing.


ALIEN ONE: I know, right? So, this human is not only paying for the internet, he has to wait for someone to bring it to his home.

ALIEN TWO: “Wait,” as in — what’s it called again? “Time”? Divided up into units of “hours” and “minutes” and so on?

ALIEN ONE: Exactly. And that’s not all. The humans who possess the internet, who were previously named “Time Warner” but are now called “Spectrum” — although that part is confusing, because sometimes they still call themselves Time Warner — told him that they will deliver it to him at an unspecified moment within a span of four of these so-called hours.

ALIEN TWO: So suspenseful! What’s he doing now?

ALIEN ONE: He’s on a “phone” trying to reach the Spectrum humans who possess the internet, because they didn’t honor even that vague promise of coming within those four hours, and he’s “upset” because he took the day off from work to be home.

ALIEN TWO: Hold on — “work”?

ALIEN ONE: The humans must work — that is, perform actions they probably dislike for much of the day for someone else, whom they also typically dislike — to pay for things like the internet and food and shelter. He’s also upset because he recently got “divorced” from a female human and his shelter is now a “studio apartment” in the geographic zone of “Murray Hill.”

ALIEN TWO: Why is he repeating one word over and over?

ALIEN ONE: He incorrectly believes that he will reach a human, and not an artificial human voice, if he keeps saying “representative.”

ALIEN TWO: Fascinating. What’s the artificial human voice on the phone telling him?

ALIEN ONE: It’s saying, “We are experiencing heavy call volume. Your estimated wait time is approximately ninety-seven minutes. If you would like to leave a message with your callback number, please press pound.”

ALIEN TWO: Why doesn’t he do that? Wouldn’t it be more efficient?

ALIEN ONE: Because his artificial intelligence has taught him that the Spectrum humans will never call back. Here, I’ll speed up two more hours… okay, he’s finally getting through to the human. But now this human is connecting him to a second human, who’s making him state his phone number, address, and account number — even though he just did all that a minute ago with the first human.

ALIEN TWO: That’s hilarious. But couldn’t he just cancel his order with Spectrum and find other humans to pay for the internet?

ALIEN ONE: The only other option where he lives is something called “Fios,” which sounds too complicated to him. I’ll skip to three hours later, when the Spectrum human with the internet shows up. He wants to yell at him, but he’s tired and his spirit is broken and he’s wondering if his former mate is currently procreating with “Richard.”

ALIEN TWO: Now what is he going to do?

ALIEN ONE: He’ll spend the rest of the night using the internet to escape into less entertaining human-simulated worlds.

ALIEN TWO: What about that one we used to enjoy when the humans watched it? The Wire?

ALIEN ONE: I forgot about The Wire. That was great.

ALIEN TWO: Best human-simulation simulation ever.