Alien Newsletter #22: Elon Musk Learns How to Fly (or at least Tweet)
In which our alien marvels at the extraordinary fears unleashed when all 280 characters can be dominated by one
Network Note: One of the most fascinating discoveries we have made since we have begun following our alien’s perspectives on our blighted planet is the hidden technology comprising the 21st century billionaire class. Previously, we were of the notion that they might have been a lizard-hominid hybrid race, but apparently, we were quite mistaken. Rather, it would seem that AI has progressed further than we have thought, and has transformed various personalities like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates into locally distributed “bot nodes” that are in the process of re-engineering human societies in accordance with their black-box agendas. At least, this is how we have attempted to fathom the unfathomable until recently, when Botnode 8 — aka Elon Musk — announced his takeover of the controversial social media network Twitter. Now that Twitter has agreed to his buyout, speculation is rife with what changes the maverick hybrid-robot will bring to this highly-coveted disseminator of information. From what our alien is communicating to its own home species (not through Twitter at the moment — but you never know when the alien might avail itself to social media), this is all following a script, and one with an ending even the bot nodes themselves might not have anticipated.
From their very first moments of sentience, the Greatest Apes are subject to a dizzying and contradictory amount of neural programming regarding their propensity for communication. Their parental units rejoice upon hearing their first attempts at vocal speech, yet once they begin their formal education, they are commanded to keep quiet for lengthy periods of time. However, during intermittent seasons of political debate, young adult GAs are urged to “make their voices heard” — however, it is often urged that these voices not speak with their own voice, but in support of either another representative of a larger voice or a preferred vision or decision baring down on their respective societies. Diversity of voices is encouraged, except when the Greatest Apes decide, as they have in their latest violence-saturated escapade, that GAs “put their differences aside” and “be of one voice.” Therefore, confusion envelops the Greatest Ape from creation to termination whenever the issue of speech and its freedom happens to be debated or considered. Given the extraordinary capacity of GAs to turn their ongoing dilemmas into potent brands or businesses, they have succeeded in giving this confusion a name, shape, and two flightless wings. That name is Twitter, and for some of the most powerful GAs on earth, to control it is to control the entire supersimian race.
Like much that has been otherwise transformed into lucrative businesses, the technological underpinnings of Twitter were initially constructed not for commerce, but to empower and amplify the issues of racial, sexual and ideological minorities within the various GA populations. Twitter’s parent company Odeo was particularly inspired by the SMS messaging service TXTMob, which had been used to great effect for such efforts, and Twitter’s infrastructural roots in such organizing are seen to this day in the behaviors exhibited upon the service. This has allowed Twitter to exert an influence which exceeds its relatively modest user base. While it is often reported that only 10% of the service’s users communicate frequently using it, this 10% includes many of the leaders of what is colloquially known as the “free world.” The previous leader of Northern Hemisphere Plate 2 was one of those users, and he helped to popularize the time-honored simian pastime of excrement-throwing upon the service, using it famously as a means of consolidating political power.
However, since 2021, this leader has been exiled from the site after an impromptu unchaperoned visit upon the NHP2’s main political citadel by some of his uniquely-informed adherents. However, it has not been lost upon those left that this leader used Twitter quite adroitly to build power, and that another dark messiah might rise again and take his place. And it would appear that Botnode 8, he of the electric-powered movement devices, galactic real estate schemes and funnily-named children, has become the latest emperor of this fractious virtual space. He has already surpassed the former NHP2 leader’s follower count at its peak. Moreover, he has moved to purchase the site itself, and has declared to make it a free-speech haven. However, details on his larger plans for the site remain murky as he busily assembles the quantities of GA value needed to conquer this territory.
Like much else, the GAs are hopelessly torn regarding what to make of this. Those GAs of the “progressive” or “liberal” tribe are utterly crestfallen by this turn of events, and have gotten to the point where I am told a small number of them needed to be sent to the hospital after a parody account communicated “Breathing is so much better than not breathing suck it libz lol” and swore immediately afterwards to forsake it. Those amongst the “conservative” or “MAGA” tribe which worships the now-deposed NHPI president have conversely celebrated the turn of events. They have claimed themselves victims of censorship, or the purposeful silencing of their voices through various technological gambits, and believe they can gain greater control upon the public dialogue with the reinstatement of their exiled colleagues. And the company’s founder/ice cube bath aficionado has declared his trust and faith in Botnode 8’s “mission to extend the light of consciousness.”
All this for a company that essentially allows GAs to use their voice for the most part however they see fit. However, those who sense their voices will no longer carry the same weight over the collective conversation as they used to insist it is not that simple. You see, those who have these smaller voices will invariably be bullied and harassed and otherwise abused by those who are currently in power. One cannot help but think that this could be said by anyone who was not wielding control over the platform at any given time. For those who do, their main concern is not whether those who disagree with them have their voices heard, but whether they can continue to disregard them. It would appear to be the same no matter who was in control at any given time.
By now, you probably may be reminded of the JasSpreizer Incident in the Alpha Persei Cluster several millennia ago, back when its stars were barely bright enough to graze the surface of an errant meteor. This cluster was populated by disembodied beings which consisted of soundwaves. Governance of these soundwaves was quite difficult, as they all had a tendency to perk up all at once, and what with the vacuum of space being what it is, a condenser, named the JasSpreizer by its discoverer/inventor, [untranslatable sinusoid pitch emitted]. Out of necessity, it was prematurely launched onto the cluster and while complaints rolled in that it needed to be altered, none of the soundwaves could ever agree upon what shape those alterations should take. Soundwaves had to contort and distort themselves in all sorts of ways just to be heard, and only the loudest and most powerful ones end up being heard anyway.
Frustrated by this turn of events, many of the soundwaves traveled elsewhere in the galaxy, with many a sonic signature now lost to the void. The soundwaves recognized this as the Long Silence, a form of apocalypse which they believed all lifeforms in the universe were heading towards. Today, the cluster is only represented by a handful of sounds, the JasSpreizer long since abandoned as its rudiments only ended up defining the evolutionary constraints by which Alpha Persei’s lifeforms were filtered. Were I to speak to the Greatest Apes, I would suggest to them that the ultimate laws of enduring speech, just like the laws of physics, were not designed with justice or fair play in mind. Even we have not learned to what ends they were made, if any. Their only role is make their authority known as we all struggle to find our place in this universe.
In the meantime, I cannot help but be reminded that according to one of the GA polls, the majority of tweets uttered upon Twitter — 40% — is classified as “pointless babble.” Botnode 8, perhaps because of his programming, seems to be keenly aware of this in a way many of his detractors are not. Whether he will succeed in creating his wondrous free-speech cluster or whether he will be exiled to Venus instead remains to be seen. What I am certain will not change is what the Alpha Persei soundwaves learned long before the GAs did: whether it’s the JasSpreizer, Twitter or any other amplification of one’s voice, controlling it will always be a fight. Sometimes it will sound like a symphony, and other times like a shriek into the void. But it will be never be dominated by one voice for long, save for, inevitably and inexorably, the Long Silence.
In spite of their monotheistic authorities forbidding certain types of exo-planetary explorations in the past, one of the wealthiest non-NHP2-GKP1 nations is set to do so anyway with its first Arab astronaut.
The pig-GA artist collaboration Pigcasso delves into NFTs.
Canadian GAs can no longer commit earthian crimes in space with impunity.
And as it turns out, free speech has indeed greatly benefited us as aliens. Semantics, apparently, has cloaked our presence better than grainy film stock ever could.