In response to a random writing prompt, I set out to write a story in exactly 100 words. I’ve never written a piece of fiction that short. After all, it was always daunting enough to write a story in 1,000 words. My biggest question was exactly what kind of story could possibly be told in 100 words?
Indepedently of this prompt, I had been thinking plenty in the recent months about humans and society. Asking questions of myself about how we could establish a government that was not subject to human nature. Most of human history has been marred by our own doing. Natural disasters and other environmental hazards have their place, but mostly it’s been us. A certain train of thought led me to the hypothetical situation of having a benevolent dictatorship in which the dictator was just a set of rules, like a super detailed and complex Constitution. It had all the logic and values already worked out in advance so whatever came up, there was a “best” answer that had nothing to do with human emotions and irrational behavior. If the entire world got onboard with it, there would never be another war, another revolution, or another riot.
It was one small step from there to arrive at an AI (Artificial Intelligence) that had all the answers – it would be our “oracle” and an impartial decision-maker.
That seed, by itself, offers a deep well of writing material, but that made it all the more obvious as a topic for a 100 word story. Marrying the two things, I ended up with “Computer-in-Chief” and quite liked how it turned out. It could easily balloon into a 75,000 word novel, and I may tackle that one day, but for now I’m content. Enjoy!