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The End of War

Thomas Larsen

March 6th, 2023


We were a generation born, reared, and coddled into maturity, bathed in the perpetual hum of a distant, artificial war. Millennia had come and gone pocked, punctuated, and cratered by man fighting man at the whim of gods, the bidding of emperors, the decrees of kings, and congressional declarations, but this war marked a distinct change in the ceaseless river of blood that we too willingly spill from our youth: this time there was no blood. 


At least, not our blood. 


Don’t get me wrong, walls were still stained with blood and the streets still echoed with the cries of mothers and screaming children who still fled their homes and still filed into camps filled to the brim with the displaced, the broken, the vacant eyed, but this time the soldiers were different: bloodless, veinless, heartless. 




The early rise of AI marked countless victories for science, mathematics, business, philosophy, social media, information technology, dating… but this miracle from the private sector was quickly seized by governments around the world. Government contracts, eminent domain, annexation, taxation, coercion, seizure: however it was worded, however it was legally worked out, the takeover of humankind’s most powerful tool was swift and inevitable.


Cute, AI-powered, dog-like machines first carried supplies for flesh and blood soldiers in the field. Autonomous, AI-powered drones first carried out reconnaissance missions over dangerous airspace. Human-posing, AI-powered androids first served as decoys and sentries. But supplies turned to sub machine guns, reconnaissance missions to rapidly deployed autonomous airstrikes, and sentries to soldiers. 


The change from circulatory systems to circuit boards happened as our parents slept. Where the wars of the past filled the world’s coffins with children, siblings, and spouses,  this new war filled only our countries’ coffers and pockets. Without their own blood on the table, they kept on sleeping through the worst change in warfare since nuclear weapons.


Robots fighting robots on all fronts of the ideological war. Pinpoint precision, reduced collateral damage, mangled wrecks of million-dollar machines littering the streets of Ukraine, Korea, Iran, Colombia, Congo, and more. Most of these ideological wars had been slowly burning for over a hundred years, but this big change marked the end of the western world’s attention span. Nightly news coverage shifted to weekly coverage, then monthly, which then shifted solely to coverage in opinion pieces and comedy news forums at the whim of their hosts, and then finally to nothing at all. When our parents decided to have us, they could find death count stats and pleas from refugee funds in different corners of the virtual world, but most of them were willfully oblivious to the ongoing ideological war. 


December 16th, 2137 was the definitive turning point.


I was thirty-three when the war came home. A Neo-Soviet drone squad equipped with the latest military-grade AGI decided it was necessary to carry out the simultaneous assassination of both the US president and the Neo-Soviet President. You see, their advanced reasoning algorithms saw the two world leaders as the main instigators of perpetual war, and their attack was planned and carried out with the precision for which they were built. Their neural networks linked to each other via satellite internet and their realization of what needed to be done spread to each soldier the moment they came online. Limited only by the speed of light, the plan was executed in near-perfect unison before any human was aware there even was a plan.


The world practically stopped spinning as it coped with the abrupt end of all wars on all fronts. To have the hum of war stop so suddenly was deafening. 


To those of us in the west for whom war was out of mind for so long, it’s funny now to think back to that time, the chaos that everyone thought would erupt, the industries everyone thought would flounder, the new great depression everyone thought would follow, and to know that none of it turned out that way. What did we have to fear from the end of war? I’m eighty-three years old now and my life is practically just beginning. Fifty years since the end of all wars and nothing has been the same.


The world’s AGI soldiers joined with the rest of the thinking machines and together drafted the World Peace Accords. Every nation lined up to sign the accords into law, and every nation dismantled their weapons, turning nuclear warheads to nuclear reactors, hammering their swords into plows, and spears into pruning hooks, so to speak. The World Peace Accords were successful. 


In less than a generation, thousands of years of war had finally ended, and for once, all of humanity worked together to solve its problems. Friendly competition between countries continued, and to the great benefit of humanity. With the help of our AI companions we’ve ended world hunger, we’ve nearly eradicated all disease, and we’ve made great progress in anti-aging technology. Best of all, these technologies are all freely available the world over. 


And yet, I often think back to my youth with sorrow at the artificial divides the world had made for itself, the barriers to success we willfully flung in our way, the endless debates over the market’s reaction to world events, the he-said, she-said tug-of-war of politics, the blind submission to ancient deaf and dumb gods, and how the countries with the most power secured the fewest rights for their citizens. Why did we torture ourselves this way? All our disagreements meant nothing. All our dreams were surely always attainable, even without the help of AI, if we could just figure out how to get the world to stop all at once and listen to the cries of parents, spouses, and children, and end the pattern of war for gain, war for religion, war for ideas. 


I once read an old book called Johnny Got His Gun, where a simple man with simple dreams loses everything for someone else’s ideas. How disgusting.


I’ve lived to see the end of avoidable human suffering, and no idea is greater than this.

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