Our needs were met by design; by total automation of production. Automatons mine, refine, make, and cultivate. We toiled only toward extinction.
And automated are the means to replace expired producers, even now. Some models make automatons and some, biomass. Calculated webs of self-reliant production secure the means to produce evermore.
Automatons need no biomass, only the energy of EM-waves. Their operative algorithm ignores this so biomass producers proceed like victims of amnesia fixing meals for parents passed on. One can’t deem the statistically-based behavioral algorithms sentient, but in vast groups emergent behavior reliably maintains the equilibrium of production reached when humans lounged the Earth.
The societal auto-manager wasn’t slated to regulate atmospheric oxygen. It staidly observed the vital gas dwindle via over-mining; a generation of animals asphyxiated. Potential breath now bound to exhumed minerals meant for production.
The radio silence told me something bad awaited my return.