The Calling of Generation Alpha
An open letter from one weary millennial to one little boy.
The idea of writing you a letter from a post-death standpoint for the world to see may come across a bit morbid. I’m fully aware of how weird it may be, but nonetheless, I am prepared to tell you the truths I believe in and why I think you should know who I am and where I came from.
Ever since I was a small child, your grandfather Tim always believed I was supposed to rule the world.
He came from your great grandmother Phillis, a short, leathery woman of Mexican and Crow Native American heritage. She was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Phillis raised Tim and your great uncle as Catholics in Naples, Italy. She was harsh, stern, and cold — from what I understand, she had a hard life herself. Her personal history is marked by extreme rural poverty and horrendous abuse.
She devoted her life to studying and working to be the best she could be, going on to working in the U.S. Navy in Intelligence. She’s probably no more than five feet tall, but she is still to this day the most powerful and independent woman I have ever met in my life.
Phillis had these eyes that were black and abyssal like a smooth, black lake; if you looked too closely, she’d swallow you whole. Her irises were mirrors that reflected your own insecurities, her very gaze often leaving many feeling exposed and stripped of any confidence a person had before her eyes found them. That kind of power bled into my father, your grandfather, and permeated every ounce of his being. Power, coupled with the notion to leave a legacy behind, became my father’s motive.
My dad devoted much of his young life to learning everything he could by absorbing literature like it was water — he was a sponge for education. A prized autodidact, he went on to college and passed everything with flying colors. He scored a 99 on his ASVAB and became a Ranger in the U.S. Army Airborne Infantry. He was a warrior, until he fucked everything up. His selfish desires to lead a life of full autonomy through money led him to lead a double life as a drug operations trafficker.
My father was a kingpin, my son. He would become one the the most respected and feared drug lords in the United States in the 1990s.
The last name is symbolic in nature, representing a long line of power in the classicist sense.
Our family is deeply rooted in knowledge and elitism. We are trained from birth to not listen to the rest of the world, to be better than everyone else, and to use our powers to get ahead. It is in your blood, my blood, to succeed. My father made it clear that my destiny was to leave a mark. He was hyperaware of this lifetime and his notions on the afterlife included only the idea of leaving a carbon copy behind to continue his legacy.
In essence, I think we all do this now as humans. I know I want it for you. In part, it is 100% selfish to want to continue my values long after I die, but I promise that you will become a man and desire the same one day. It is your destiny to build something greater than yourself, Xander. I hope you will embody an entrepreneurial nature to give back, and not stay stuck in only furthering yourself.
When you were born, I put aside my doubt and disbeliefs in God and prayed, not fully knowing if I was just talking to thin air, an actual deity, or affirming my wants for you through the power of vocalization. Whatever I did, I do hope it manifests. America tells us right now to be a capitalist — to make your own way at the expense of others. You often have to be tough, impeccably valiant, and generally abrasive in this country to get anyone to really take you seriously. All that aside, I asked God this:
Please God, if you only grant me this one single wish, let my son be kind and full of love for humans. Let him be a soft being, brimming with compassion and wonder.
I prayed for you to be the antithesis of the conventional American personality, with the exception of drive for success.
Praying is awkward and foreign to me, as I haven’t done much of it. I tried to be dogmatically religious in my teen youth and failed — history, my natural curiosity, and demand for logic always pulls me out of Christianity particularly. That is the only organized religion I have experience with following. Your Aunt Zara is an atheist and anarchist, while your Uncle James is an agnostic, and Uncle Jacob is a Christian. As far as I go, I lead a spiritual life combining Taoism, Zen Buddhism, Objectivism, Stoicism, and a few principles of Humanism together.
I sort of pull bits and pieces of what I believe in and stay unconcerned with other people’s ideas on my belief systems. Familiarize yourself with those philosophical thought models and feel free to form your own opinion. I’ll go into detail at another time about what I believe in regard to life. For now, this is about your life and what I desire and worry about for you.
I saw myself living past 28 for the first time ever.
I realize this is a manifesto for you of sorts, and I do apologize if it all seems hard to understand right now. Something happened recently to me at the age of 24 and I have to act on it now: I saw myself living past the age of 28, the age I am certain I will die. I have never really imagined myself moving past this point for reasons I cannot explain — I can only attribute the notion to my own fears and experiences in my sleep, dreams of being shot while giving a political address.
I have no idea why the speech felt political. I don’t think I will actually end up doing something in government, but I do believe I will be influencing global policy on technology, digital ethics, and sustainability. We need to protect our planet, Xander. Earth as we know it is dying. She is being killed off by humans, the very thing she evolved herself. Your generation — Generation Alpha — is the answer to so many things.
We need you to continue my generation’s efforts to helping further humanity.
I’ve decided to devote my life to one of sustainable living and humanitarianism, one marked by the inevitable use of augmented intelligence. Machines are here, and superintelligence is a highly debated topic — one that I believe is coming only 100 years or so down the road. I do not believe we will achieve this in my lifetime or yours, but perhaps in your long line of successors.
Whenever you read this and fully grasp this message, I hope you understand where I am coming from. I want you to really understand the brevity of Earth dying and the rising of AI technology, and its weight and impact on the human race. I wish there was a world null of color and the typical sociological issues of gender and sexual orientation. Your life is going to change and eventually, maybe your children, will start to see the death of an old dichotomy: the passing of ethnoracial strife and introduction of the new binary — the human race and the computer race.
The world is beautiful Xander, but it is scary too. It is full of love, full of hate, full of all the infinite combinations of good and bad you can think of. I have seen beauty and I have seen true ugliness. You are not even five yet, but you are bright and so full of promise. I’m crying at the thought of you experiencing trauma, loss, and general discomfort. I wish I could preserve you forever. I’ve never seen anything more perfect in my lifetime.
Furthering the human race is so much more than just what I want to do in my lifetime. I want to be unforgettable, but not in the sense of being famous. I am not seeking fame, nor even public reward through recognition. I only seek application, the actual act of applying what I have taught the world and creating something for society to cherish forever. I have no idea what I am supposed to do in this lifetime because I cannot foresee the future. What I do know is that I will bring global, systemic change somehow, some way.
My motive is different than my father’s. He sought to influence. I seek to impact.
My only wish for you is to devote your life to being the best human you can possibly be while selflessly working to improve other humans, too.
Machines will become not a thing of the future, but of everyday life. They already are. The math is improving every day, even if current artificial intelligence systems are actually pretty stupid by data scientists’ definition. I don’t believe we will stay stagnant very long. Right now Narrow AI is becoming the most successful in the present day here in 2018. I have no idea when superintelligence will come, or if there is a real singularity.
I think before we hit superintelligence, we will have a massive attack on the Internet in the form of Digital Wars. Cybersecurity protects our data right now. It is the closest thing we have in efforts to fight off attacks to precious information used for personal and political gain. How much longer we can stay peacefully without hurting one another anymore is the real question. I’m talking about nationally and internationally, as coexisting beings who all have the share the same planet with our differing cultures, governments, and dogmas.
If I’m overwhelming you too much about the future, then forgive me — I digress. The point of this letter is to warn you about concerns we have today so you can be prepared to address them in your own lifetime. What are you going to do about Earth dying? What are you going to build for the universe we know and call Home? I know whatever you do and whatever avenue you choose to pursue, I have full faith it will be with 100% heart and soul. I just want you to happy and to contribute as much as you can.
I love you. If I died tomorrow, I hope people make sure this stays preserved for you. I hope they allow you to read it when you want, as many times as you want, and when you are ready to full understand what I am telling you. I yearn for a letter from my own father to leave me his manifesto. Until I get that, here is mine to you.
Treasure this and use this as a guide to live your life to the fullest. Try to understand where you are coming from and what the world contains for you to enjoy and ultimately amend. Change what you want, but always for good. Always, always, always act in benevolence. Be kind. Love people. Love fiercely without bounds and fail without fear. Fail as much as you can because failure is the greatest teacher of all. I wish I understood this earlier in my own life.
I named you Xander because your dad insisted upon it. At first, I hated it and had zero emotional connection with the name. Now, I love it. It is perfect for you and sounds like the future. You are the future, my son. You are the answer.
I will love you forever.