The Lightstream Chronicles Glossary Part 1: Design Fiction Definitions from the 22nd Century.

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Happy New Year, 2014. I thought I would pull some excerpts from a glossary of terms that I have been working on for several months. There is a lot of terminology that gets thrown around in The Lightstream Chronicles, online graphic novel/web comic. As mentioned, the science fiction that I use in the story is based on threads of current technology that are teased out and extrapolated to some possible outcome a hundred and forty years from now. The glossary is a work in process and will likely not be fully complete until the story eventually ends in chapter/season 6. Nevertheless, much of this is at the heart of my design fiction explorations. I always wished I’d had something like this for books like Neuromancer and so many other cyberpunk epics. Comments are welcome.

Active surface – the evolution of ubiquitous computing. Active surfaces can receive or transmit data and images through via the Lightstream (see Lightstream). Nano receptors, transmitters and emitters serve to receive, send and display images directly from their surfaces. Virtually any surface can be made active.

Lightstream – The evolved Internet. Through nano photonics, large amounts of data can be transmitted without circuitry or wires. Nano receptors are implanted into everything from surfaces (see active surfaces) to skin implants and even beamed directly into the retina.

Synth – Slang for synthetic. A synthetic is an artificial humanoid form. Synthetics may take many forms of appearance from mechanized to indiscernible from actual humans.

Headjacking – The unauthorized recording and/or removal of memories from a human. Unlike selected erasure, which is, a medical procedure to remove unwanted or traumatic memories from patients, Downtown gangs have used headjacking technology. Human gang lords use roving bands of synths that have been twisted to rape and/or torture their victims while recording everything from the victim’s perspective; a process called head-jacking. A small device, called a jack, clamps itself to the invisible port behind the victim’s right ear that connects directly to the chipset and the memories of the incident—complete with all five senses—are recorded. The experience is then sold on the black market. Depending on the quality of the device and trauma the victim is subjected to, if the victim survives the crime, headjacking can result in partial or total memory erasure, and in some cases, death. Headjacking is a capital offense.

Swig – A medically sanctioned device (under medical supervision) designed for patient authorized erasure of selected memories and/or transfer to another recipient. Swigging first appeared in 2157 and is still a relatively new diversion. Selective erasure between 2130 and 2157 was sanctioned only as medical procedure. Memories—complete with their accompanying sensory experiences are recorded and extracted directly via the port (see brain port) to the swig and then can be transferred to another person in the same manner. Though participants swear by the “rush” of reliving someone else’s experience and claim that it far exceeds virtual simulations (which are readily available), the procedure is fraught with danger. Since the technology is relatively new and heavily regulated, quality swigs are hard to find and quite expensive. Unlike the illegal version known as a jack, (see headjacking) a swig under proper protocols can safely remove or transfer selected memories. Large-scale erasures are considered a medical procedure with serious risks.

Virtual Immersions – A fully engrossing experience that overtakes all senses and consciousness. Immersions are a form of regulated entertainment and are available in two types, programmed and retrieved. These highly realistic virtual experiences are known in street vernacular, as The V. Programmed immersions are detailed environmental simulations. Participation can occur with the users identity, or by assuming another from limitless combinations of gender, race, and species, and may entail a full range of experiences from a simple day on the beach to the aberrant and perverse. Immersions are highly regulated by the New Asia government. Certain immersive programs are required to have timeout algorithms to prevent a condition known as OB state in which the mind is unable to re-adjust to reality and surface from the immersion, a side effect for individuals who are immersed for more than 24 hours. Certain content is age-restricted and users must receive annual mental and bio statistical fitness assessments to renew their access — all of which is monitored by the government.

Mesh (The) – the massive proliferation of electronic image receivers, recorders, and active surface technology provides the ability to triangulate and decode a 3-dimensional image within virtually any modern environment. Using GPS coordinates, an active technology produces a field, which interprets the surrounding environment. Correlating data fields from multiple active technologies within contiguous environments creates a mesh, which generates a detailed 3-dimensional image of anything or anyone without the need for optical recording devices. The encryptions and addressing of millions of devices requires highly sophisticated decoding technology and is authorized for government use only. Because the resulting visual information has no regard for privacy, it is highly controversial. The government claims that mesh imagery, (of non-suspect activity) is not archived. All mesh imagery, by law, is decoded and parsed using “impartial” synthetics that evaluate activity on a strictly legal, amoral basis.

Saming – Slang for the purchase of an identical synthetic version of one’s self for the purposes of companionship or a sexual relationship.

Is there something you want to know more about? Comment here.

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