Friday 25 August 2023


I flipflop as to where I stand in the Artificial Intelligence debate. I cannot decide if it is to be welcomed or feared. Partly I think this is because Frank Herbert's Dune made such an impact on me as an adolescent: the Butlerian Jihad- never suffer a machine to think I think is Herbert's injunction in the original novel. Truth be told it is the only Dune book I've ever read, the endless series held no attraction. 

On the other hand Ian M Banks Culture novels describe a meta society that has always been always been alluring to me, a society that is overseen by immense AI minds housed in starships. I could move to the Culture tomorrow if they'd have me [please].

All of this is a build up to this post's poem. Thanks to the wonderous Secret Poets for their invaluable in put once again.


we will be concluded

consigned to history

afterwards all we deemed important

will have stopped

of course there will be no poetry

or sounds we label music

no action named art

no further need of the novel

-that fleeting distraction

words themselves will be extinct

numbers reduced to a one or a zero

no click clack of mechanical switches

registering on or off

reality will be something else altogether

something unique and singular

to those vast computing systems

we have let into the world

and who have learned too well from us

the art of the double cross

The poem came in a rush about two weeks ago and took some sorting out. As I started writing it down I had no idea of the ending which just seemed to appear. My difficulty was in line length and ensuring I did not repeat myself. On reflection I shall choose to welcome AIs, they can be a force for positive change and equality. Where do you stand?

Anna Ternheim has been touring but sadly not the UK. Here's Shoreline.

Until next time.

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