Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis
Inverted pyramid against grey sky


Is immortality worth risking the unthinkable? — Trumind serial, part 5

This room was much larger. There seemed to be a bed in the middle, with a gigantic inverted pyramid positioned directly over it. The pyramid was filled with a mesmerizing pattern of shifting light beams and Johann felt his mind becoming curiously focused as he watched the spectacle. He was reminded of something he couldn’t quite grasp.

“Shall we begin?” Flim asked. Johann nodded but felt another quick pang of unease, something he’d rarely felt for much of his life. Now suddenly, he felt like he did back in his school days, with the older kids glaring down at him. However, one thing Johann was not was a coward. “Of course, lead the way!”

Flim pointed to the bed in the middle of the room. “Lie down.”

This was the moment of truth. Johann had come to this strange place on the promise of immortality. He didn’t believe in any religious nonsense but he also didn’t want to die. The prospect of death was the one thing that brought back that sense of unease and he tried to ignore it as much as possible. In fact, if he was honest with himself, Johann would admit that he was terrified of death. He’d do anything to avoid the blackness beyond night that would eventually engulf everything. So, if this weird bed and the somewhat dangerous-looking pyramid could stave off nightfall a little longer, Johann would do it. He lay down.

Flim quickly turned his back to hide the uncontrollable jerk of his face. He could feel another soft, maniacal laugh coming on but had to contain it for just a little longer. He sauntered over to the control panel on the other side of the room and flicked the switch. All lights went out, completely. The room was pitch black.

An infinitesimal, point of phosphorescent light emerged in the middle of the pyramid. It began to grow with a low, subterranean-like hum that seemed to shake the very core of Johann’s body. The feeling was strangely relaxing he suddenly realized that he could not control the relaxation. His tension began to ease. He couldn’t remember the last time that had happened.

Meanwhile, the whole pyramid was now steadily gleaming with a phosphorescent glow, bathing the entire room in a pearly green hue. Johann could make out a shaking shadow where he thought Flim was and could hear what seemed to be snorting—or was it laughter? The shadow suddenly went rigid. Then everything became black again.

When the lights came on, Johann’s body was sitting up in bed. He quickly got up, and awkwardly walked out of the room without so much as a glance at the lifeless body of Flim lying near the control panel. Once outside the facility, in the backseat of his limousine, Johann pulled out his cell phone.

“Bertrand, this TruMind is the real deal. Their technology is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. I want to go all in, sell that other stuff.”

“Sir, are you sure? Would you mind just confirming some numbers with me?”

“Yes, ready to copy?”

Meanwhile, the real Johann didn’t know where he was. The world around Johann slowly came into focus. Where was his body? He still felt the strange focusing of his mind, but now ever stronger. Not only was he getting used to it, but now he liked it since normally his mind was fairly distracted. Now there were no distractions and he knew what he needed to do. In front of him, in the middle of intersecting phosphorescent planes, he could see a giant number pad. All he had to do was enter in his master passcode and success was his!

Johann focused his mind on each number in turn, until it lit up. Once he’d lit up the entire sequence and it was displayed back to him above the number pad, Johann felt a tremendous euphoric rush of success, the likes of which he’d never felt in his life, even at the close of his greatest deals. He felt his mind relax and wander again, playing with the images that grew up around him, feeling more content than he could ever remember. Then Johann fell into utter blackness—forever.

“Sir, your number checks out, transfer to TruMind will begin immediately. Congratulations on your new venture.” Johann’s face began to twitch and snort, and a soft maniacal laughter escaped into the limousine as it drove away. The driver looked into his rearview mirror, puzzled, and suddenly gripped with fear.

Don’t miss the first four episodes in the TruMinds series, courtesy Sci-Fi Saturday at Mind Matters News: Sci-Fi Saturday!:

Ghost in the Nuke: Weapons have no souls, thus greater power ensures our safety…? —a tale: Arctang’s grip tightened on the throttle. This was it. No going back. The Fortress loomed, gigantic towers gazing down on him, laser dots peppering his window.

The brain: Junkyard, watch, or antenna? A warped genius reviews the options, as he seeks ultimate power—a tale: After many dead ends, Flim realized that all forms of human power are ultimately controlled by the human mind. Thus, if he could harness the power of the mind, he would finally be able to create anything his heart could desire.

Neuroharvest – a tale TruMind engineers had discovered a new science: editing the very fabric of reality.


A singular space adventure takes a twist The old man could buy anything but youth. Until now, maybe. He was the richest man in history, having amassed wealth through his inheritance and that of a few other unfortunate people.

Watch for episode 6 in Eric Holloway’s series of seven next Sci-Fi Saturday.

Eric Holloway

Senior Fellow, Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence
Eric Holloway is a Senior Fellow with the Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence, and holds a PhD in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Baylor University. A Captain in the United States Air Force, he served in the US and Afghanistan. He is the co-editor of Naturalism and Its Alternatives in Scientific Methodologies.