Bring Me the Head of Alan Turing!

by FREDERICA VON McTOAST-HYPHEN,
Alternate Reality News Service People Culture Writer

The animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Alan Turing has gone missing.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about it,” said DCI Gene Hunt. “They tell me that Turing’s a smart lad, good head on his…well, a smart lad, anyway, so I’m sure he couldn’t be up to anything too stupid.”

Turing’s head was last seen at Salome’s Strip & Clip Joint in London’s East End, where he was talking to the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Philip K. Dick.

“Are you sure it was Alan Turing’s animatronic, AI-enhanced head?” the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Philip K. Dick asked. “Maybe it was the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of an animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Alan Turing impersonator who had forgotten that he wasn’t the real animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Alan Turing. Maybe it was the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Isaac Asimov that had been reprogrammed to think it was the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Alan Turing. For that matter, are you sure this universe is real? How do we know that we’re not all characters in some fake news article dreamed up by a demented –”

We didn’t have time to hear all of the possible paranoid scenarios the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Philip K. Dick could come up with, so we pretended to hear our LOLcat mewling for its supper and went backstage to talk to one of the performers at the adult club.

“Stripping from the neck up is not a matter of what you show,” the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Lili St. Cyr explained, a wispy veil blowing around her face, “but, rather what you artfully conceal.”

Asked if she had known the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Alan Turing, the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Lili St. Cyr said she may have noticed him around the club. “Hard not to, really,” she sniffed. “He would go on and on about how we were all part of a single, universal computational machine. I swear, if he hadn’t been so cute! – not that that mattered very much, if you know what I mean…”

We said we didn’t know what she meant. When the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Lili St. Cyr said it wasn’t like it was subtle, we explained that we had led a sheltered life. “Alan preferred his heads more…chiselled,” she told us. We shook our heads. “Hairier?” We smiled in polite bafflement. “Goodness, but you are thick! He would rather be with male heads than female heads!”

Ooooooooh.

“But, still,” we sputtered, “how…I mean, without a body, is it even – you know – is there really a possibility of…umm…”

“Zis is a very interesting qvestion,” stated the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of noted sexologist and hardscrabble oil wildcatter Dr. Ruth Westheimer. “If our zexuality is focused solely in our genital regions, zen siz would make no sense, yes? Howeffer, if zexuality iz affected by brain structure and chemicals, zen zis is indeed possible!”

“But…they’re…just…heads!” we objected. “Astonishingly life-like recreations of the faces and intellects of famous people, but, still! Heads! No bodies! How –”

“Tut, tut,” the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Dr. Ruth Westheimer tut tutted us. “Human desire iz a mysterious three leggedy beasty!”

Oh.

The police have brought in the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Rock Hudson and the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Cary Grant for questioning. “They aren’t suspects or nothing,” DCI Hunt, hastily stuffing some BMW brochures in a drawer and slamming it shut, explained. “You can’t do no foul play without limbs, right? It’s just – you just can’t. But, what the hell? They do liven the place up – especially for the birds!”

The proliferation (not to be confused with the process of turning somebody into an anti-abortion zealot) of animatronic, AI-enhanced heads can be traced back almost 20 years, when every museum, art gallery and rock and roll hall of fame seemed to have to have one. The problem with animatronic, AI-enhanced heads is that they tend to take on a life of their own – legally as well as literally – so when they got bored of them, the museums, art galleries and halls of fame couldn’t just drive into the countryside, leave them by the side of the road and hope they never found their way back home.

Thus, the profusion (not to be confused with the razor, the anti-nuclear fission movement or the short-lived NHL/jazz musical ice hockey movement) of animatronic, AI-enhanced heads. Still, despite their growing numbers, animatronic, AI-enhanced heads are not generally well accepted in society (the Queen has never asked one to escort her to a Detroit Lions tailgate party, for example) and, as a result, tend to keep to their own areas of the city. So, the animatronic, AI-enhanced head of Alan Turing would stand out like a man coughing up a rhino in most places in the city.

“Oh, yeah, well, I wouldn’t worry too much about it,” sniffed DCI Hunt. “This Alan Turing thingie probably got its brains scrambled by being too close to an electro-magnet. Yeah, we’ll probably find it next to the Thames, singing ‘Danny Boy’ off key and crying about how Hugh Alexander got too much of the credit. Yeah. Sure. Happens all the time!”

The investigation continues.

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About Ira Nayman

In his past lives, Ira Nayman was, among other things: a cave painter whose art was not appreciated in his lifetime; several nameless peasants who died before their 20th birthday during the Dark Ages; a toenail fungus specialist in the court of Louis XIV; and Alan Turing’s scullery maid.

In his current incarnation, Ira is the creator of Les Pages aux Folles, a Web site of political and social satire that was 10 years old in the first week of September, 2012 (that’s positively Paleolithic in Internet years!). Three collections of Alternate Reality News Service (ARNS) stories (Alternate Reality Ain’t What It Used To Be, What Were Once Miracles Are Now Children’s Toys and Luna for the Lunies!) which originally appeared on the Web site have been self-published in print. Two new volumes of ARNS stories – The Street Finds Its Own Uses for Market Lateralization and The Alternate Reality News Service’s Guide To Sex, Love and Robots will be published in 2013. Probably. Hopefully. 2014 at the latest. Ira has produced the pilot for a radio series based on stories from the first two ARNS books; “The Weight of Information, Episode One” can be heard on YouTube.

Ira has also written a series of stories that take place in a universe where matter at all levels of organization has become conscious. They feature Antonio Van der Whall, object psychologist. To date, four of these stories have been sold. “A Really Useful Engine” has been published in Even Birds Are Chained To The Sky and Other Tales: The Fine Line Short Story Collection and “Escalation is Academic” has appeared in the anthology UnCONventional. “If the Mountain Won’t Come to Mohammed” can be found in Here Be Monsters. “Thinking is the Worst Way to Travel” has been accepted into Explorers: Beyond the Horizon. Several other stories in the series are currently awaiting editorial decisions at various publications.

Ira’s Web Goddess tells him he should make more of the fact that he won the 2010 Jonathan Swift Satire Writing Contest. So, Ira won the 2010 Jonathan Swift Satire Writing Contest.

In another life (but still within this incarnation) Ira has a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School for Social Research which was conducted entirely online. He also has a PhD in Communications from McGill University. Ira taught New Media part-time at Ryerson University for five years.

Whoever created the Karmic wheel has a lot to answer for…

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