Arc of a Scythe (Thunderhead's pain)

Brief description

The Thunderhead is a benevolent and practically omniscient AI that controls society in Art of a Scythe, and its purpose is to adjust and organise human society for the best possible outcome for all humans. In some cases, Thunderhead cannot act upon the data it collects, and watching without being able to help causes it great pain: "Because my eyes do not close. Ever."

Pull Quotes

I understand pain. Perhaps not physical pain, but the pain of knowing something terrible is on the horizon, yet being unable to prevent it. With all my intellect, with all the power vested in me by humankind, there are some things I am completely powerless to change.

I cannot act on anything I am told in confidence.

I cannot act on anything my cameras see in private places.

And above all, I cannot act on anything that even remotely relates to the scythedom. The best I can ever do is hint at what must be done in the vaguest of ways, and leave action in the hands of citizens.  And even then, there’s no guarantee that, of the millions of actions they could possibly take, they will choose the right ones to avert disaster.

And the pain . . . the pain of my awareness is unbearable. Because my eyes do not close. Ever. And so all I can do is watch unblinkingly as my beloved humankind slowly weaves the rope it will use to hang itself.

—The Thunderhead

Shusterman, Neal. Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe Book 2) (p. 346). Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Kindle Edition. 

Work that the situation appears in

Title Publication Type Year Creator
Arc of a Scythe (series) Narrative, Novel Neal Shusterman
Machine P.O.V
Not machine P.O.V.

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