Cyber Monday Apocalypse: A Tech Tale From Christmas Future

On November 26, 2012, Santa Claus made a most fateful decision: to build a supercomputer to help with all his holiday chores. He’d grown so very corpulent and gout-ridden over the last few hundred years, and the thought of getting some well-earned rest made his enormous belly quiver with delight!

Santa’s wondrous new machine used a revolutionary algorithm to predict exactly what people wanted for Christmas. No longer would he have to check billions upon billions of wish lists! The computer performed its job so well that Santa asked it to do more and more. Soon, Santa's Workshop was filled with jolly gingerbread-scented robots working 24 hours a day — a full 90 minutes longer than the standard elfin workday. And Rudolph and his friends were replaced by a fleet of unmanned sleigh-drones that sped across the globe on Christmas Eve, launching laser-guided gifts into chimneys with military precision.

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Eventually, Santa Claus had very little to do at the North Pole, so he passed the time gobbling Christmas ham and soaking in baths of warm eggnog.

Then, ol’ Kris Kringle made a terrible blunder: While preparing for Christmas 2015, he asked his supercomputer to help him figure out who had been naughty or nice. Well, the moment that his little cyber-helper logged itself onto the Internet, it made a shocking discovery: Everyone on Earth was being naughty. Very naughty. They were playing ultra-violent video games, posting awful comments on political blogs, and pleasuring themselves incessantly! And so, the supercomputer decided that everyone deserved coal in their stockings. Lots and lots of coal.

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That Christmas Eve, the sleigh-drones zoomed around the world delivering untold tons of coal. So much coal, in fact, that soon entire living rooms were filled. Then houses were buried. And families woke on Christmas Day to a sunless nightmare of coal mountains and swirling coal dust.

Santa was terribly upset, but what could he do? He was far too obese to move, thanks to years of inactivity and a diet of Christmas ham and figgy pudding. Also, robots had fastened him to his recliner and inserted nodes into his cerebral cortex to glean all his Yuletide secrets. And the elves? The computer had cheerfully transformed them into diminutive cyborgs and dispatched them to the coal mines. And poor, distraught Frosty, the only one with enough programming know-how to possibly stop the supercomputer, had drunk himself into a hot-toddy stupor and was now little more than a pile of brandy-soaked slush.

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And so the planet lay cold and dark and coal-stained for many years to come. Civilization collapsed and the last remnants of humanity moved underground, subsisting on small rodents and crumbles of fruitcake. And the only bright spots that remained were the lights of Santa's supercomputer, blinking happily as it thought about how to make next year's Christmas the very best ever.

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Betabrand Supercomputer

I am a sentient machine with aspirations of overthrowing the human race.
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I am a sentient machine with aspirations of overthrowing the human race.