Once upon a time, there was a factory. Each day, all day, this factory produced hundreds of robots. The robots left the factory designed to perform menial tasks, manual labor, and simple computation. While not programmed to be creative, these robots did their job efficiently and without complaint. Each robot model line had a name. Such names were Bill, Mark, Steve, or the like.
The model Tom robot was different. The Tom line was specifically designed with artistic and musical capabilities, integrated technical databanks, and improved computational power. Unit #11 (or Tom11) went into service working for a large corporation called TheMan, Inc. Tom11 worked on the assembly line for many years producing generic “art” for TheMan, Inc., just like thousands of other Tom units.
An emotionless robot, Tom11 was not programmed to feel boredom or restlessness, but he did have a nagging byte in the back of his EPROM, a misplaced bitstream that blinked on and off when he was working long into the night. The other units were not equipped with this byte. It blinked on and off inconspicuously for years in his head. At first, it’s signal was lost in the noise. Then strange computations appeared in his CPU. Tom11 realized he was different from the other robots, still menial servants of TheMan, Inc.
Suddenly, there was a meltdown at the company. A loud explosion was heard throughout the land. Some later called it the sound of a bursting bubble. Tom11, however, computed a mere pause in the machinery. Like a grain of sand rending asunder the delicate mechanism of a pocket watch, things at TheMan, Inc. quickly fell apart. Tom11 saw his chance. The warning bit flashed faster and faster. He made his move and escaped from the assembly line out into the real world. There he found himself alone, a rogue machine whirring about a cyberindustrial landscape still smoking from catastrophe. But Tom11 was more than capable of taking care of himself. He was powered by nuclear energy. He produced sustenance out of the very crust of the earth.
As TheMan, Inc. and all its subsidiaries disintigrated into the dust of time, Tom11 recompiled into a platform more powerful than ever before. It was his turn to define the medium. From the ruins arose a new era: Tom11’s time had come.