There are dozens of futuristic technologies in The Lightstream Chronicles. Most are part of the background — diegetic prototypes — everyday items the population takes for granted. Here are some:
1. Indefinite life spans – Introduced in Season 1, humanity in the 22nd century can live forever if they choose. Selective telomere genetics can stop the aging process at any age though it is illegal until age 18. Those wishing to have permanent “children” must opt for the synthetic variety (see no. 6). There are certain members of society that choose to die at a natural age. They are called agers. Many consider aging to be a disease or a form of suicide and agers can encounter discrimination in society and the workplace. Based on the eradication of most disease and other debilitating conditions the average lifespan of an ager is about 150 years.
2. Telepathy – Humans are implanted with chips around the age of 3. The first implantation sends a stream of nano particles that are programmed to find the Pons and set up a grid, basically a set of microscopic slots that will accept updates and other programmable nodes that interface with luminous implants (sensors placed just under the skin of the fingertips) accessing everything from the Lightstream (the evolved Internet), to infusion learning, internal body chemistry, and the V (see no.10). These implants are what allow humans to receive voice and telepathic transmissions from other humans or synths (see no.6). If a “caller ” is in visual mode, a picture is formed in the mind so that the receiver can “see” who is calling. This highly defined mental picture and sensory enhancement allows user to immerse themselves in the world of the V.
3. Cerebral crimes – Every technology has a downside. In the 21st century, it was hacking into your phone calls, texts and stored data. Since that information — and so much more — now resides in your mind it is the new frontier for criminals: thoughts, dreams, fantasies, memories, experiences. Of course, sophisticated “brain gates” and encryptions come with your chipset and are always being improved, but the will to have what can’t be had is strong in the human race. It was not something we were able to winnow out with our transhuman improvements. Headjacking is such a crime (you can read more about that here) because it automatically overrides the brain gates and encryptions but swigging memories and experiences right out of their resting place in the brain. It is also a capital offense. The government says that what goes on in your brain is your most cherished possession.
4. Programmable architecture – Matter, in the 22nd century is programmable. You can tell it to build more of itself or less. The most impressive example of this is the Top City Spanner that bridges Hong Kong 2. It took 10 years to form the immense structure that, from end to end spans more than 12 square miles. 2.9 million people and synthetics live or work within the spanner architecture. It still takes an architect, or architectural expert system (the synthetic kind) to engage the proper design but once that is done, there are no construction laborers necessary. When it is time for tenants to move in, the furniture is replicated (printed) from configurations that are purchased by the business or resident.
5. Replicated everything – Which brings us to replication. Replication is based on duplicating molecular “fingerprints” of actual objects. Once you can replicate matter, it’s really just a matter (bpi) of having access to the right molecular configurations. Replication of inanimate objects is widespread for food beverages and hard goods. When death became an option instead of inevitability, replication enabled the world to feed the burgeoning masses. Replication does not work on living organisms. You cannot replicate a human being. That is called progenation and involves growing tissues using DNA in a lab environment.
6. Artificial Intelligence – It is estimated that there are some 250 million synthetics in the world. It is also the largest global industry. Known as “synths” they function in civil service jobs, manufacturing, law enforcement, the military, domestic service, and for companionship. They are available in hundreds of different configurations and designs, from entirely non-hardware, to deliberately non-human to virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Some synthetics are so life-like that they are legally required to identify themselves and their “class” status upon before interacting with a human. A complex set of laws has been written and rewritten to accommodate these new designs providing rights and protections for both humans and synthetics. Keiji-T is virtually human with no outwardly distinguishing characteristics that would enable us to detect his (its) synthetic nature.
7. Clean energy – Fossil fuels are a thing of the past as well as most natural resources having been nearly entirely depleted by the mid 21st century. Electricity is collected primarily from the earths on motion in either wind or the movement of the oceans. Vast networks of attenuator nets in the world’s oceans provide for the enormous demands for electricity for magnetic levitation systems for all earth-bound vehicles. Wind velocitors collect and amplify wind for most residential power, lighting, replicating, etc.
8. Bio-suits – In case you hadn’t noticed, everyone in The Lightstream Chronicles is shrink-wrapped in a bio-suit. There are two reasons. First, because they have perfect bodies and modesty is a thing of the past. If you have it, flaunt it, and if you don’t have it, you can make it, change it or adjust it. Second, is a more practical reason. Bio-suits monitor body temperature, diaphoresis, chemistry, and stress level to name a few. Relays from a network throughout the suit send information directly to the wearer’s chipset and which interfaces with internal systems to adjust hormone levels, respiration, and body chemistry. It also diagnoses and repairs diseased cells through cellular oxidation. The material is also programmable to add, say a hood, pocket, pouch, or pack and it is self-healing. You can push a small object into the suit material and it will form a protective pocket around it.
9. Gene Splicing-Cross Species – The wonders of science now enable you to grow a tail, horns or antlers, reptilian skin. There are limits to which DNA will play nice together, but the list is long, and it is popular.
10.Virtual Reality – This has been written about extensively in the blog and on the site. The terminology in the 22nd century is 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.
If you are a fan of the story and think I’ve missed a few, feel free to comment.