We are living at a precarious time in history.
One might say we are balancing on the knife-edge between the past and an unknowable future, between what has been and the onslaught of a brave new world defined by endless innovation and relentless catastrophe.
Into this new world, some months from now, a baby will be born. That child will—most likely, unless Grimes is trolling us all—be the spawn of none other than Elon Musk and Claire Boucher, the artist formerly known as Grimes who is now referred to as c.
Once upon a time, we could laugh at the uncanny union of Musk and Grimes, but tragically, straight couples have the capability to do something that no straight couple should ever be able to do: They can create new life. Today, Grimes posted an uncensored photo of herself with a CGI-crafted child emblazoned on her torso. "Being knocked up is a very feral & war-like state of being," she wrote in the comments. "Might as well be what it is. Plus most of my friends told me not to post them so then I was afflicted w reverse psychology. Interrogated my shame and decided it was sum weird internalized self hated to feel uncomfortable about my body. Hope ur having a nice day!"
What will become of this child? Is this child even real and human-made, or are we talking a simulated, asexually reproduced entity, built by Elon Musk's Frankenstein sperm-machine and 3D-printed to the tune of Grimes' latest artificial intelligence collaboration? Here are three potential futures that we see for this poor, poor creature, who has the misfortune of being the subject of an article like this one while being merely a pomegranate-sized lump within their mother's translucent chest.
Future #1: Cyborg
Elon Musk and Grimes are both obsessed with artificial intelligence. They even met because of a joke about a thought experiment called Rokoko's Basilisk, which essentially says that we all need to be living in service of an AI in case it's actually watching over us and expecting us to do its bidding. Pretty terrifying, right? Could it be that Elon Musk and Grimes started dating with the intention to produce a child that would dedicate its life to the service of artificial intelligence? Could it be that Elon Musk has been working tirelessly in his lab to produce the first cyborgian child, and could it be that he has finally inseminated his goth music producer girlfriend with a half-robot, half-human hybrid?
For her part, Grimes frequently posts arguments about how very soon, art and all artists are going to be completely consumed by artificial intelligence, usurped by robots and algorithms. Therefore, she probably also would be into the idea of making a human child that's at the very least capable of working closely in support of artificial intelligence.
But could Grimes and Elon Musk be creating the first of a new super-race of very advanced cyborgs that will, once they produce a large enough brood, totally eviscerate the rest of us flawed mortals? Or will the child glitch and become a monstrosity, only to be locked in their father's underground lab eternally? What if this is all a thought experiment, and what if the "child" is merely going to be an ongoing illusion, a Lil Miquela-esque commentary on the simulacra-like nature of celebrity worship?
If they grow tired of the experiment, will Elon Musk and Grimes contact the simulator, delve back into the algorithm of our memories, and erase all evidence that this child existed? Or what if the child is real and is kept hidden until it grows strong enough to hack their own parents' algorithm-minds and blossoms out of the cave, armed with the tools necessary to save the world?
That brings us to the next possible future for this child. Elon Musk and Grimes' baby could do a lot of things. For one, it could potentially pull us all back from the brink of destruction.
Future #2: New Jesus
Elon Musk and Grimes might be very confused, selfish, and hypocritical capitalists, but they're both quite aware of the dangers of climate change. Elon Musk is trying to create a community on Mars for when we face disaster and run out of resources on Earth; and when the fires and floods come, billionaires like Musk and their families will certainly defect to their cool blue Martian villas, leaving the rest of us to burn away while live-tweeting memes till the last second.
Grimes also seems very concerned about the Earth and the future of the human race, and over the past few months she's been slowly releasing singles from her upcoming album Miss_Anthropocene, which is apparently going to be a representation of a female demon of climate change.
Clearly, Elon Musk and Grimes are both very, very concerned about the dangers of ecological disaster (though neither seems to care about this disaster's connection to capitalism and the spirit of relentless innovation that Musk embodies). Perhaps they're confident enough in their wealth to know that their money will protect their child from any form of true annihilation, but perhaps they have another idea. Perhaps they've planned on birthing the ultimate climate revolutionary—think Greta Thunberg, but much, much wealthier and implemented with their parents' agendas and passcodes from before birth.
On the other hand, perhaps the child might be lucid enough to see the shame in his parents' ways and could carry on Jesus's truly socialist mission, carrying us out of the real simulation, which was always capitalism. At this point, if anybody is capable of hacking the real-life Matrix—if anybody might be born into a family that could help them save us all—it would probably be Grimes and Elon Musk's child.
But on the other hand, do either of us really think that Elon Musk and Grimes contain the tiniest flicker of empathy for the rest of us poor flesh mortals? This brings us to the most likely (albeit the most unfortunate) potential future for Elon Musk and Grimes' progeny:
Future #3: The Antichrist
Just take one look at the images that Grimes posted on Twitter today, and you'll notice that there's something unnatural about them. Something ominous shrouds this whole business. Maybe it's the fact that Australia is on fire or that war with Iran is looming—or that the earth has been quietly humming from below and receiving radio waves from distant galaxies—or maybe it's that we've entered a new decade, and the earth is ablaze with protests and violence—or maybe it's that humanity has always been broken, always undergoing a variant of the apocalypse—but it does feel like we're reaching another breaking point, a new critical juncture. Perhaps we have reached our own 21st century Revelation.
Whether this Revelation period comes because of climate change or AI or social unrest or a combination of all of them, this age will need its own antichrist, and who else could be better suited to helm it than the child of a tech billionaire and his futuristic techno-goddess girlfriend? Since his mother is literally inhabiting the role of a climate change demon, and since his father is an actual human demon, the most believable conclusion to be reached here is that Grimes and Elon Musk's child will be the literal antichrist. (Or at least, he'll be one of the four coders of the apocalypse, along with the children of Mark Zuckerberg, Ivanka Trump, and Kim Jong Un). This demon-being could, for example, create a game that determines the fate of the world, or could program some algorithm to effectively siphon all our data, or could start the next truly great cult.
Naturally, there's also the possibility that this child will be—like most normal people—unremarkably, irredeemably f*cked up from birth. Crushed by their parents' expectations and the trappings of being born into Silicon Valley's First Family, this kid might become an angsty emo musician, or a grim techie a la Ready Player One living in an underground labyrinth in their parents' basement. Or they could be something else entirely, something as unexpected and new and unknown as the future itself.
But if the child is only a thought experiment and Grimes winds up having the last laugh, honestly, I wouldn't expect anything less.