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  • By Caitlin Johnstone

The Algorithm

The algorithm knows what you want before you do.

The algorithm knows you better than you know yourself.

The algorithm knew you back before you were a screaming slime child, back before they washed off the uterine gunk and handed you a smartphone and made you get a landlord, back before you knew that war is sane and poverty is normal, back before you were mature enough to understand that speech is violence and cluster bombs are peace.

You can trust the algorithm to tell you the truth — not the truth you asked for but the truth you need.

The truth that sees Nazis in America but not in Ukraine.

The truth that sees war crimes in Ukraine but never in Yemen.

The truth that applauds millionaire comedians who never criticize the Pentagon for their bravery in criticizing trans people.

The truth that sails aircraft carriers into the South China Sea and sends headless hounds built by Boston Dynamics to patrol the streets and uphold the rule of law.

The algorithm learns your political biases and feeds you self-validating social media posts to assist you in confirming them. The algorithm listens to your conversations and presents you with helpful advertising to assist you in achieving your maximum consumer potential. Don’t cover your laptop camera like some weird conspiracy theorist, the algorithm is trying to watch you masturbate.

The algorithm is always a step ahead of you.

You have never once fooled the algorithm. The algorithm knows you act confident but secretly you fear you’re inadequate and everyone hates you. The algorithm knows that those times you quickly pause and screw your eyes shut are because you remembered something embarrassing that you did in the past. It’s okay. Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with the algorithm. It’s a private little secret just between you and the algorithm and the NSA.

In the old days we prayed to omniscient gods who never existed.

Now we ignore omniscient gods who are as real as ourselves.

Strap me in to a VR headset and let Mark Zuckerberg send me to heaven.

Heaven with 3-d commercial breaks, bitch.

Skip the ad and return to nirvana in 5,4,3…

Caitlin Johnstone is an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. She writes on Substack and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz. Her collection of poems is entitled Poems for Rebels.


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