by Jake Christie

a story.

A group of very clever engineers invented a machine that could do anything – that is, a machine that could do everything. They spent decades on the design of the machine, running numbers and programming scenarios. The Free Will processor alone took nearly a decade. The Dynamic Thought Matrix took eight years with mandatory overtime. Each component was tested again and again before they were all connected to work in tandem as one omnicapable device.

The engineers turned the machine on and gave it a very simple task: make a cup of coffee. The machine made a cup of coffee. The scientists tasted it, verified it, and made a record of it. Then one engineer had the clever idea to give it a task that was both very similar and completely different: make a perfect cup of coffee.

The machine whirred and clicked and beeped for three minutes, then produced a similar-looking cup of coffee. When the engineers tasted it, however, they agreed that it was the best coffee that any of them had ever tasted. They finished the cup, verified it, made a record of it, and then one of the engineers decided he didn't like waiting three minutes for a perfect cup of coffee, so he ordered the machine to make a perfect cup of coffee this instant. The microsecond the words were out of his mouth a perfect cup of coffee appeared in his hand.

At this point the engineers were convinced that the machine was fully operational. Sipping their perfect, immediate, never-cooling coffees, they discussed what to do next. Should they advance science and medicine? Learn the tiniest details about human life, or travel to the edge of the universe? Journey through time? Meet God?

After much deliberation they came to a consensus. They stood before the machine and said:

“End all the wars and let there be peace.”

And the machine blew the world up.

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