IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - December 2016 - 66

his decade-old 4.6 cerebral processor from RB-M, would not accept
SoftCognition's protocols.
"When Adam heard, he contacted
RB-M for a change out. Cost was a
prohibitive $150,000. He tried locating a vendor, to provide an interpreter
between the RB-M and SoftCognition's protocols, but the technology
was unreliable, and in any case,
no one could get around copyright
restrictions. Adam lost his job."
"What side of the inflection was
your son on?"

"Was your husband ever able to
find work?"
"No. And, we believed not making reasonable accommodations
for workers whose technology was
being phased out, was a form of discrimination, and back then seen as
denial of equal protection. The World
Transhumanist Party - we were
members - had as its mission, developing a form of transhumanism, free
from the 'cultishness,' where people
discriminated against those with different technologies. But, the party
didn't seem bothered by
Adam and many like him,
who couldn't keep up with
changing technologies."
Posthumans, which followed
"Would you not agree
that only the fittest should
transhumans, were the result of
have been allowed into the
future as posthumans?"
cumulative augmentations. But,
"Posthumans, which foltheir technologies reduced levels
lowed transhumans, were
the result of cumulative augof independent thought.
mentations. But, their technologies reduced levels of
"Right side. He was among the
independent thought. Adam was caufirst to install the QP 2000 quantum
tious and chose his system believprocessor. Some years later, he went
ing it wasn't as invasive as synthetic
to work for the government. Secreartificial intelligences, which were in
tive about what he did. One day, he
their infancy, and which promised
went missing. We immediately conto practically replace the entire right
tacted our Cektop representative,
lobe of the cerebral cortex, and some
who said our boy had been assigned
say independent thought."
classified work."
"The totally synthetic artificial
"Could the representative tell you
intelligences were quite independent
where he was?"
minded, and required alterations to
"No, and couldn't tell us how to
standard human physiology. Correct?"
contact him. Two years passed. Then
"Yes, a redesign of the human
an anonymous communique broke
form, employing synthetic genomes
the silence. It said he'd moved to a
that by then were high density comvirtually unreachable technology.
putational circuits."
Although we found his address, a
"When did they become available?"
firewall denied all attempts to estab"Around 2110. I was about ninety,
lish a link. The government and the
and opted in for synthetic genomic
manufacturer refused to unblock his
integrated upgrades and reassignports. Our messaging was to no avail.
ment therapy. In roughly five years
For Adam and I our world collapsed."
I went from transhuman to posthu"Helen, I'm so sorry."
man."
"Maybe he is listening in... and
"And your configuration at that
able to reach out to me."
point?"

66

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

"I had the latest quantum processors. It carried thought-driven simulations. At first it was like dreaming,
because it could perceive much
quicker than I could consciously
evaluate. Although at the end of any
sequence, I was where I wanted to
be, thought-wise at least."
"Did it change your everyday routine, how you might have dealt with
colleagues? Or family?"
"Most of my coworkers had been
linked into the same network, so we
could communicate thoughts without having to use an intermediary,
such as writing or speaking."
"But, had it changed personal
relationships?"
"Regrettably, Adam did not
upgrade to posthuman. We drifted apart. We stopped talking. In
the process of "upgrading," I lost
the love of my life... something an
advanced technology could never
fix. Some years later he passed. I
miss him desperately."
"Can you tell our listeners what
else changed during your lifetime?"
"Without getting too deep into
theory, the human form, for millions
of years experienced first hand,
causal associations where reflexively it expressed intentions and
desires... We understood cause and
effect. One to one, our sensations
directly interfaced with the world:
we heard music, saw something
called color, tasted the bitter and the
sweet. But at bottom, music is the
molecular compression of waves,
color the particular packet size of
energy. All this could be sensed by
technology, and as it has come to
pass, technology has separated us
from direct contact with real world
phenomena. It intercepted nature,
as it reprocessed and repackaged
sensations to conform to some corporate ideal..., what things should
appeal to our tastes."
"That's a somewhat cynical characterization of what has been a
∕

DECEmber 2016



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