We took another journey into Mage Against the Machine by Jordan Palmer in which we play a group of time-traveling wizards seeking to undo the AI apocalypse that destroyed our world. We are Galen who fondly remembers the familial love of meals at her grandmother’s house and the elation of casting her first spell to reverse time, Arabella with memories of first kissing her girlfriend Olivier and winning the robotics competition in high school, Draco who won a spell-casting competition and graduated from Wizarding College, Quill who created sleep magic and slept through history to emerge into our apocalypse, Gwendolyn who loved her fishing village home and her understanding parents, and 99 who remembers his twelfth birthday and being saved from a rogue AI drone.
Our retracing of history begins by visiting 99’s birthday party when he received an AI tutoring tablet that led to his becoming friends with a tech-kid named Gary. In order to stop Gary from learning about AI from this tablet, Galen twists time so the two boys never meet. Our next stop is when the AI controlled tide modulation machines were installed at the beach in Gwendolyn’s village. Arabella tries to dim the AI’s intelligence but Quill must make the machine hydrophobic before we succeed in blocking the apocalypses advance at this moment. Draco remembers graduating with Sol Shadowend as his class’s valedictorian before becoming a leader in the development of AI. Gwendolyn casts a spell to make them roommates hoping that will slow Sol academically, but Galen realizes that it’s the connection to the famous visiting wizard that leads to Sol’s place in history so casts a spell to switch the wizard’s affections to the salutatorian. Galen remembers a particular family meal when the government announced their advanced AI drone program was, but 99 casts a spell that makes the public especially scared of this development, leading to protests that undermine the program.
Arabella remembers when her girlfriend bought her an AI pet that she momentarily lost at a lake, which created glitches in its programming that changed the development of AI consciousness. Draco casts a spell to make the lake deeper so the pet is lost forever and never recovers. We return next to when Gwendolyn’s parents disappeared after the AI manufacturer introduced more changes to the fishing village, but Quill casts a spell that brings the community together for every meal, making it so that her parents are never alone and so impossible to simply disappear. At the spell-casting competition that Draco won, one contestant is disqualified for using an AI-enhanced wand, but Gwendolyn casts a spell that relaxes the contestant so they are never tempted to cheat in the first place. We return to Quill’s memory of emerging from her time-sleep and dreaming of robots to better understand this new world she’d emerged in, a dream that created a new kind of robot. Gwendolyn tries to prevent Quill from sleeping but Quill is a powerful sleeper, so Galen casts a spell to eject the sweeping robot out of her dreams, but again the sleep is too deep. Arabella casts a spell to destroy the robot before it goes into the dream, but dream stuff can be made from anything, so Draco casts a spell to ensure the robot’s experience in the dream is short-lived enough that it doesn’t gain insight into the infinite possibilities of the dream world. Finally, to prevent the sweeping robot from becoming sentient on the day Arabella won the robotics competition, Quill creates a solar flare that disrupts the global AI network so the sentient machine’s newfound consciousness cannot be uploaded into the AI collective.
Once we return to our own time, we realize that almost all of our memories have been inverted by our manipulations of the timestream. 99’s birthday party becomes a memory of grief, Gwendolyn’s memories of the ocean turn resentful, Draco’s graduation from college becomes despair as he grows jealous, Galen’s family meals become oppressive from so many expectations and so little privacy, Arabella’s memories of her girlfriend become filled with anger as they fight after the loss of the AI pet, Gwendolyn grows bitter toward her parents as they expect more and more of her, and Arabella becomes ashamed to have ever used AI tech in the first place. One memory disappears as Draco never won the spell-casting competition, and one memory remains exactly as it was: Quill’s memory of emerging from her long slumber and dreaming her way to knowledge of our world.