Tag Archives: nanotechnology

On eavesdropping on your thoughts and the reason for fences.

Sending and receiving thoughts is not that far fetched.

Last year the science media was abuzz with the news that a thought (basically “hello”) was transmitted from India to France. The experiment was clunky and primitive with lots of wires and electrodes, and took 70 minutes to complete, but it was a step in the direction of telepathic transmission. 1. In other labs, scientists are finding ways to translate thoughts into words through implanted electrodes in the brain. 2  From these reports it would appear that telepathic transmissions like the ones shown in The Lightstream Chronicles are decades or more away. But, as we know, technology tracks an exponential growth. What used to take years or decades to develop now happens much faster. The mobile phone was once the size of a brick and could only make phone calls. Now the basic smart phone is a thousand times more powerful than the most sophisticated computer of 15 years ago. If we look at the speed with which technology expands then it is quite possible that some of our most sci-fi imaginings are really just around the corner. Both sets of researchers cite the obvious benefits for those who are speech impaired, paralyzed, or perhaps in a coma which would be tremendous breakthroughs for medicine and psychology. Of course, I tend to think toward the dark side. As the one researcher in the India-France experiment noted, “‘Could there be potential for sending someone a thought that’s not desirable to them?’ he says. ‘Those kinds of things are theoretically in the realm of possibility.’”

In this weeks episode of The Lightstream Chronicles, Keiji-T is eavesdropping on a conversation between Kristin Broulliard and Colonel Lee Chen. The intercepted data is analyzed the identities of the parties is verified and the transcript committed to memory — human or otherwise. Keiji-T’s marvelous technological features are a huge benefit to crime fighting. Before the introduction of Keiji-T’s state-of-the-art faculties thought transmissions were inaccessible. With so much implanted circuitry in the human brain the pioneers of telepathy created sophisticated and impenetrable encryptions to protect our thoughts and telepathic communications from being intercepted or “overheard”. With the introduction of the T-Class synthetic, that fence came down. All in the name of security, of course

In a broadly interpreted and paraphrased thought from the author G. K. Chesterton, (though this not really what he said), “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.” (If you wan to know what he really said go here.) Nevertheless, the spirit of the quote stands. As a society we are forever tearing down fences in the name of anything from the greater good to freedom or security. The Lightstream Chronicles is sometimes a reminder that regardless of the sophistication of our implants, the human condition prevails.

Citations:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/scientists-prove-that-telepathic-communication-is-within-reach-180952868/?no-ist
http://phys.org/news180620740.html
http://www.chesterton.org/taking-a-fence-down/
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A taste of future-tech in the graphic novel.

If you are a regular to The Lightstream Chronicles, then you know that what you see on the Web is only a fraction of the detail that is available from the high-resolution PDF that accompanies each page. This week I thought I would highlight a few examples of plausible future tech that have occurred on recent pages.

The coffee

Just your average beverage replicator
Just your average beverage replicator

For example, soon after Kristin and Keiji entered her office back on page 93 Kristin offers Keiji coffee. There’s no Keurig in the office—at least not one that we would recognize—but there is a beverage replicator similar to the one that Marie used back on page 80 when she whipped up a Cabernet for Kristin. The beverage replicator, in this case, the same one that Marie used, a Maitre-deux™ kitchen food and beverage replicator. Model FVX-GNN42H71000.

Kristin “taps” in her favorite blend and delivers a freshly brewed cup of coffee including the cup. Since the flavor configuration can vary as well, Kristin prefers a French Press style at a precise 92.6 C. 325.309 ml. If you look closely into the background of page 93 you can see her making her selections.

The cups

A nanotherm cup.
A nanotherm cup.

The coffee cups that Kristin dispenses to hold a precise 325.309 ml. and are replicated bone china with a nanothermic structure that keeps the contents steaming hot—indefinitely—or until the liquid evaporates. That’s why you’ll catch a whiff of steam throughout this scene.

The desk & tablet

A simple intermediary.
A simple intermediary.

Kristin’s desk is an active surface. In other words it is able to transmit, receive and display (or project) information from any other active surface including the luminous implants that both Keiji-T and Kristin have embedded into their fingertips. (Everyone else in the world has them, too.)

The thin glass tablet that Keiji is “porting” to is simply an intermediate storage device that Kristin then transfers to her desk surface and, ultimately to holographic projection above her desk. The tablet can also store vast amounts of data for later access.

Just a sampling of some of the details in the background—a lot like the design and technology we take for granted everyday.

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A graphic novel about culture, design and transhumanism in the future

And you thought this blog was about writing a graphic novel.

Anyway, I’ve just returned from holiday, I have been virtually free from the computer for nearly a week. I finished two books, started a third, and did a lot of mental tweaking to my story.

Without tipping my hand (too far) to the plot of my graphic novel (since it is not 100% solidified), I can say that it has always dealt with ramifications and implications of a somewhat transhumanist future, a world where scientism rules the day. As the prologue to my screenplay states, “Scientific advances have enabled the manufacture of life-like robots. Known as synthetics, these robots are found in all walks of life and can be virtually indistinguishable from humans.” Some of my key characters fit this description and even my humans are considerably augmented, enhanced and amplified.

While my story includes a fair amount of mystery and action, I never intended the read to be one dimensional. I hope to thread some thought-provoking themes and opposing ideas into the mix. This is especially relevant in lieu of the fact that my paper, the whole design fiction aspect of this project, is an examination of the design culture relationship. What we design will affect our culture and vice versa. What happens when we are able to design and create near-humans? What will we teach them? How will we use them? What capabilities should they have or not have? What will separate our future, synthetically augmented human sons and daughters from their purely synthetic counterparts? What role will ethics play in this future drama? After all, there is no science to ethics.

Meanwhile, all of these questions seem to be surfacing around me in our current cultural environment as we see a flurry of discussion about Kurzweil’s optimistic singularity and Vernor Vinge’s less than optimistic predictions of that same technology gone astray. In fact, Kurzweil has even enlisted Michio Kaku, Deepak Chopra and a host of other “thinkers” and, of course the mandatory celebrities (no doubt for their scientific insight) for a live discussion on the topic that will be coming to a theater near you.

I guess this means my novel is timely.

I’ve also done some additional thinking on stylistic texture and setting, especially in light of the fact that recent press releases have put the locale for the upcoming screen adaptation of Akira in “New Manhattan”. Hmmm.

More on that later.

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