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Sunday, December 05, 2021


by Darrell Petska

Ai-Da wears a woman’s head,
speaks in a woman’s voice.
She can paint, sculpt, wax poetic, even
expound on Picasso and knotty issues of our times.

A robot in human guise,
she has no feelings like we do, no designs
on our jobs or our necks—though she states
I enjoy being a person who makes people think.

Ai-Da’s knowledge of Dante’s Divine Comedy
sparked in her these poetic lines:

     We looked up from our verses like blindfolded captives,
     Sent out to seek the light; but it never came,
     A needle and thread would be necessary
     For the completion of the picture.
     To view the poor creatures, who were in misery,
     That of a hawk, eyes sewn shut.

Some, feeling threatened, will rail against
algorithms that might influence our behavior,
subverting human autonomy. Others will engage with
and direct how AI affects words and meaning.

Where shall all this lead? Poor creatures, those
who meet the future with their eyes sewn shut.

Darrell Petska is a retired university editor. His poetry and fiction can be found in 3rd Wednesday Magazine, First Literary Review–East, Nixes Mate Review, Verse Virtual, Loch Raven Review, and elsewhere. A father of five and grandfather of six, he lives near Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife of more than 50 years.