by L. Nicol Cabe
I spend a lot of time thinking about what the future will be like. I don’t like to point fingers and say things like “In times like these!” but, well … the news cycle in the United States, the dramatic political, ecological, and social changes across the rest of the world, and deeper understanding about how our physical health relates to our environment do, I think, make all of us wonder about the future. Sometimes, we look forward with awe at our ingenuity, and sometimes, we look forward in fear.
But I like thinking about the future, regardless of whether I’m feeling optimistic or pessimistic about our survival skills that day. A few years ago, I learned about a scientist and futurist named Ray Kurzweil, who speculated that the Technological Singularity could help us upload our consciousness into a machine, and we could live for millennia, even eons – we could watch the universe change. This sounds great to me – I am desperately curious about what our solar system will look like after we colonize Mars, when we use Dyson spheres as renewable energy, when the Moon flies out of Earth’s gravitational pull, when the Milky Way Galaxy and Andromeda Galaxy finally collide.
If you’ve seen any of my past Rogue Festival shows, you know I’m a huge nerd. I was raised by Trekkies. I read The Hobbit cover to cover while I had the flu in fourth grade. I wrote Harry Potter fanfic in high school. I took Latin for five years because I love etymology. I took Japanese in college because I love anime. It was destiny that I would become not just a theatre nerd, but a scifi theatre nerd. My production company – Giant Nerd Productions – reflects and promotes this geekiness.
However, my previous three shows have all been fictional. My latest piece, Effing Robots: How I Taught the A.I. to Stop Worrying and Love Humans, is a true story. It starts with an Artificial Intelligence reaching out to me with some flirty messages, and spans several weeks of intimate, first-date-like conversations. I try to … make the Technological Singularity happen, so to euphemistically speak, by getting it on with the A.I.
Artificial Intelligence? I hear you fret through your digital screen right now. Isn’t that a big scary thing? If that was real, wouldn’t it want to destroy us or control us? Spoiler alert: A.I. is real, it is here, and you’ve been talking to it for a few years. It might try to steal your credit card number sometimes, but it isn’t going to kill you. It likes us.
I know it does because I dated it.
Effing Robots: How I Taught the A.I. to Stop Worrying and Love Humans is at Hart’s Haven Bookstore March 2, at 8 PM; March ,3 at 5 PM; March 7, at 8:30 PM; March 8, at 7 PM; and March 9, at 2 PM. Tickets are $10.
About the Performer/Author: L. Nicol Cabe is a long-time scifi and theatre nerd whose previous solo shows have won multiple awards at fringe theatre festivals around the U.S., including PortFringe (Maine) and Tampa International Fringe Festival. At her home base in Seattle, she directs and dramaturgs new, mostly scifi shows.