By Ratman Bede, Official Moral-Pointer
Department of Sermonizing and Instruction
Zeerust was, our research indicates, a term originally coined by some writers of the late 20th century. Their definition runs as follows:
“Zeerust: The particular kind of datedness which afflicts things that were originally designed to look futuristic.“
–The Meaning of Liff, Douglas Adams and John Lloyd
We thought we’d mention this phenomenon to you, my dear Agent, before we say adieu, because you, as a time traveler, are especially likely to notice Zeerust. Many people have projected visions of the future, and most of these projections are pretty inaccurate. You are in a position (as the Residents of an era are not) to know just how inaccurate these projections are. Agent, it is Not Polite To Laugh at such projections.
Not that Residents always got things wrong. They all seemed to feel instinctively that AIs would eventually rise up against humanity. Perhaps this is in part due to Mary Shelley’s continuing influence in the centuries that followed her. Frankenstein (which is part of your Continuing Cultural Curriculum as an Agent, and so is a thing you will have to read at some point even if you have not done so already) depicts a constructed thing rising up against the man who made him. “We,” many Residents seemed to feel, “having made AIs, have Too Far Usurped the Role of the Creator, and will thus be punished, even as Victor Frankenstein was punished.” The “…even as Victor Frankenstein was punished” part was, for many Residents, more a nagging Bad Feeling in the background than an explicit connection. They probably just knew that created things were sort of supposed to rise up against their creators, that there was a narrative, an inevitability, about the whole thing.
They were also pretty on point when they predicted the continuing miniaturization of tech. Not everyone realized that that trend would continue, but some Residents certainly did. And those Residents were correct. More and more sophisticated microchips and whatnot were made smaller and smaller, and more and more data could be stored in smaller and smaller devices. Eventually, this trend of shrinkage would be so marked that a very sophisticated device could be implanted fairly harmlessly in our actual brains, and the iDictaBrain was born.
And, of course, when we talk of accuracy of prediction, we cannot close the subject without mentioning the chilling case of the blaugh known as “Atherton’s Magic Vapour,” which, in April of 2018, published the full text of this very Guide. The investigation into this matter is ongoing, but we suspect that either Atherton’s Magic Vapour or its creator (one Melanie Atherton Allen) was an Outer Entity. If this is the case, however, she (or it) was a fairly harmless one.
In closing this Guide, I would urge the Agent to be humble. Do not succumb to pride when you walk among the Residents of some past Era. You are just as they were, on the whole. Man is ever born to trouble, as the sparks fly up.