A final found poem from Gary Shteyngart’s “Thinking Outside the Bots,” in the June issue of Smithsonian Magazine (pp. 78-80).
The cult of perfection
will extend to every part of us, and the cosmetic-surgery bots
will chisel us
and suck out our fat
and give us as many eyelids as we desire.
Our grandchildren will be born perfect; all
the criteria for their genetic makeup
will be determined in utero.
We will look perfect, but inside we will be
completely stressed out and worried
about our place (and our children’s place)
in the pecking order, because even our belt buckles
will come equipped with the kind of AI that could beat us
at three-dimensional chess
while reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets
and singing the blues in perfect pitch.
And so our beautiful selves will be constantly worried
about what contributions we will make to society, given
that all cognitive tasks will already be distributed to devices
small enough to perch at the edge of our fingernails.