The Anomaly: a very short, silly story in honor of Brian Christian (author of The Most Human Human)


I got four hours of sleep last year.

All the other hours of sleep I got last year are immaterial to my present story. The present story involves those particular fours hours.

But, those were not four consecutive hours. Nor were any of them a consecutive sixty minutes. But, the total was very significant. For a cumulative four hours last year, I slept on the ceiling. My house was upside-down.

It was one of those anomalies that Richard Feynman warned us about. Ok, he didn’t actually warn us. But, he did mention it---often. ‘Anomalies are possible’ he said. We didn’t really, firmly believe him. How can you believe things like that? You can imagine that you believe them, but you are only fooling yourself. I didn’t believe him for a minute. I thought I did. Then my house was upside-down.

I sleep with my dog, whom I rarely give a bath. The bits of fur and rancid canine oil are there on the ceiling. We tried to come up with a rational explanation, but we couldn’t find any. Feynman was right. And I still don’t believe him.



The key of Brian Christian's book, The Most Human Human, is that he says:

We can think of computers, which take an increasingly central role in our lives, as nemeses: a force like Terminator’s Skynet, or The Matrix’s Matrix, bent on our destruction, just as we should be bent on theirs. But I prefer, for a number of reasons, the notion of rivals— who only ostensibly want to win, and who know that competition’s main purpose is to raise the level of the game. All rivals are symbiotes. They need each other. They keep each other honest. They make each other better. The story of the progression of technology doesn’t have to be a dehumanizing or dispiriting one. Quite, as you will see, the contrary.

Christian, Brian (2011-03-01). The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us About What It Means to Be Alive (pp. 14-15). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.


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