Musing: Game of Thrones just prepared us to be ruled by artificial intelligence
Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!
The eight season saga has come to an end and I feel many things inside me and apart from the anxiety of seeing your beloved series end with some of the most disappointing episodes, the one allegory, if to be taken as such, that the series has left us with, makes for an even bleak vision of the future. While chucking out the possibility of any kind of fundamental revolution that would, ahem, ‘break the wheel’, being good, the last episode of Game of Thrones ever, basically told us that artificial intelligence can rule the realm of (hu)man better than other humans ever could.
Spoilers for the S08 E06 !
Many commentators and fans of the show have indulged to their necks in creating meanings out of their viewings of the show. One such form of meaning being finding allegories. As Dany burned down the whole city of King’s Landing, along with its innocents, fans said that it was an allegory for the show’s creators DB Weiss and David Benioff burning down the storylines, the plots, the prophecies and the quality writing that the fans have come to know the show for. Very apt.
But as the final episode of the series aired, a pissed Tyrion disses Dany by publically denouncing the position of her Hand. That pisses the enough pissed Dany and Jon gets to meet Tyrion in the prison cell in a bit. Tyrion instigates Jon to ‘do the right thing’, as if Jon has been doing anything but ‘doing the right thing’ to this point. Jon goes to Dany. Dany, however cruel, presents the vision of breaking the wheel, instead of the plain old revolution. Jon is terrified and confused and finally proclaims Dany his faith forever and then, as happens with the ladies he proclaims love for, a knife through the heart.
While the show is not exactly about the most progressive of the ideas, but it has been brave. The tale that George RR Martin, the only of his name, spins, has always been gutsy enough to break away from the traditional tale of struggle where the status quo is restored at the end of the story after proclaiming any attempt to change it as villainy. That makes revolution, of any kind, then may that be of Killmonger in Black Panther wanting to open up Wakanda to the oppressed of the world or Daenerys wanting to liberate the world from slavery. The extremist portrayals of the revolution are just an appeal for the maintenance of the status quo.
In the end, as the ‘nobles’ of the realm of men sit down to establish who the new king of the ‘six (post winterexit) kingdoms’ should be, they all are at the end of their wits and options. Jon is a captive of the unsullied and they want him punished, so the ‘one true heir’ is no longer and option. The other quaint or otherwise leaders have no ‘pan six kingdom’ appeal or support. In comes the smart imp, Tyrion, and puts forth the name of Brandon Stark, as the best story they can tell the realm to believe in and to bring it together.
With Bran accepted as the new, just, good, king of the realm, with the new tradition that the next king will be chosen here at the same spot in King’s Landing by the nobles of the kingdom, giving a semblance of the beginning of a democracy. While doing so, Tyrion slips a word to Greyworm, that ‘this is the breaking of the wheel’ that queen Daenerys had dreamt for’ as ‘kings will not be born, but chosen’.
But this presents us with an allegory for the real world that we live in. Bran is the memory of his times, is full of knowledge about everything, He knows the past and the present and can predict the future, cannot father children so is ‘sterile’ and can keep an eye on anyone He wants from his warging abilities. Guess what real life network of ‘sterile’ machines can do almost all of that? Internet and Artificial Intelligence! The even more curious fact is that Bran knew about it all along. He 'came all the way for this'. Consider the implications of this in our allegory!
So in the end of the show, the allegory or the moral of the story that we are left with, is that humans are not really capable of ruling over humans and a superstate conducted through an omnipresent creation capable of endless resources, must conduct our affairs. Technology, will be the ‘neutral, impartial, objective’ new state. While the show argues a control over it through a ‘council of ministers’ of sorts, but are they there to ‘control’ or ‘carry out’ the rule of the new overlord? Only time will tell.
But in the end, none of this, even the discussion of democracy and freedom, would have been possible without the incessant, righteous, ‘cruel’ and ‘villainous’ rebellion that Daenerys carried out. The new reign of the realms is just building on the ruins of the revolution, but they must be forever thankful, to Daenerys, the breaker of the chains.