When Mark and Kat stumble across the Town at the end of last week’s episode, it certainly appears to contradict my theory that the Town is a computer-simulated environment, which the characters are hooked up to via the white room in which Joe awakened. I’ve also argued that the Program is a computer program, experimenting on people for reasons of its own.
So last week was a bad week for my theories – we also got to see a room full of humans monitoring the Town, and a flesh-and-blood Director, in charge of them.
Well, I still think my theory is safe. I think that the show is pretty clever, and that the writers realized that seeing Joe in the white room would cause us to suspect the nature of the Town. So they left us with Mark and Kat locating it to contradict such predictions.
We’ll find out soon enough (this Saturday, in fact), but my prediction is that Mark and Kat will find the Town abandoned. There will be minor changes, and no evidence of any specific events that we’ve witnessed so far in the Town.
That’s because it isn’t the Town. It’s the original Town that was used before they switched to the new, computer-simulated one. They digitized the town exactly as it really is, so that there would be continuity in their experimental data.
Mark and Kat have simply stumbled upon the real world Town, the one that the Town we’ve been seeing was modelled after.
And sure, it looks like there are people in charge, and it looks like the Director is right there in our reality, a human being interacting with other human beings. Where’s my AI Program, running everything?
Well, first, let me just be clear – I don’t know. This show is doing an excellent job of screwing with my head, and although I’d be awfully proud of myself and difficult to live with, I’d also be a bit disappointed, if the mystery was solved and that was that.
So as long as I’m clinging to my theory, here are a couple of Out There explanations.
First, we still don’t know what the Program wants. The Director has mentioned that Joe has the potential to reach the tenth level. That hasn’t happened in ten years, she says.
So at least we have a name for what they want. They are sorting people according to their potential for reaching the tenth level. What’s the tenth level?
Well, if the Program is literally a computer program, then perhaps what it is after is humanity. Human form. Alert reader (don’t know the name, just Funk Dem) has confirmed that the same actress who plays the Director also plays the crazy woman in the asylum, the one who is said to have escaped the Program.
So, how is this person in two places at one time? I really don’t think they’re going to play the old Evil Twin trick on us here, and I think there’s too much going on to add cloning to the mix. No, I think the explanation is, the person is not in two places at one time.
The real person is in the asylum, and is under the constant watch and control of the Program. That’s why she was moved right when she conveyed information to Mark and Kat.
The Director we’ve been seeing interacting with all of the people monitoring the Town is the AI Program. The room from which all the people are monitoring the computer-simulated town, is also computer-simulated. I would guess that none of them except the guy in charge – Mr. Ullrick – knows that it is computer simulated, just as none of them know that the Director is the Program.
The last person to reach the tenth level was the crazy woman. Once you’ve reached the tenth level, that means the Program can not only inhabit your “avatar,” but also that it can make a convincing copy of you.
See, I think the computer can convincingly simulate anything, except the complexity of the human mind. It can’t create a believable simulation of a human being.
Perhaps the cooks in the Chinese restaurant are computer simulations, that’s why they are content to stand around all day cooking constantly for seven people. Interaction with them has been limited by the language barrier, so the participants won’t be able to detect the imperfect simulations.
But it’s humanity that the Program is after. It wants to have human experiences, and it wants to expand its influence on the real world.
This autonomy is what the computer has been after. Like Data from Star Trek, the Program wants humanity, so it has been striving for the means simulate it.
Perhaps it can even do this to some extent already, but only certain very impressive people have the capacity to handle it without going insane. It requires the invasive mapping of one’s entire psyche. Most people go crazy, and if you do that, go crazy, then that means you’re not going to work out. The Program ejects you, like it did Tori.
It could still produce a copy of Tori, but she’s suddenly a nurse and doesn’t act like Tori at all. That’s because Tori hadn’t reached the tenth level. It couldn’t map her psyche in enough detail. So that was really her body they found, it’s just that the Program still had an imperfectly working copy of her avatar.
Following this logic, the only person that we know of who has reached the tenth level was the crazy lady in the asylum. At that point, the Program could simulate her as a human to such a degree that no one would be able to detect that she wasn’t human. The mapping of the psyche drove the original person crazy, but enabled the Program to take her digital form.
Similarly, some of the characters we already know may be programs learning to imitate humanity. Moira comes to mind – she claims to be from a mental hospital, which is a nice excuse for being weird.
Joe said that he was once a normal participant who showed promise and became a monitoring worker. It stands to reason that one could be promoted further- to the control room we witnessed communicating with the Night Manager, for instance. Or one could be demoted, as Mr. Ullrick has been, to fill the Night Manager’s position.
I’ll post again in a day or two after I’ve watched the last few episodes again. It feels exactly like this show is beating the crap out of me at chess, except I like it. Anyone with any ideas, I’m certainly listening.
Previously, Persons Unknown: The Program Is Literally A Program
And, Persons Unknown: The Very Curious Computer
Also, unrelated: The Inspector Gadget-Nostradamus Effect