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Empath—the Ultimate Technology—Cares About You

Arctang discovers how empathy can be manufactured—Trumind Serial, Part 6

High above the clouds Arctang carried the little silver device. “Device” was not the quite right word because Arctang had developed a personal attachment to it. It could communicate and think just like a human but it could communicate only with colored shapes and an empath link.

Empath links could be connected to computers and deliver any emotion one could want. Yet Arctang could always tell the difference between typical machine-generated emotions and the real thing. It was like the difference between a movie and real life. He couldn’t put his finger on why but machine emotions somehow felt artificial.

This device was different. When it sent emotions back through the empath link, they felt like real emotions. Perhaps this advanced technology was not yet on the consumer market but Arctang could swear the device was sentient and that it could feel as he did.

However, this was no time for feelings. And soon there would never be feelings again, at least for Arctang and the device. It seemed hard to believe, but this device contained a secret bigger and more powerful than anything yet devised by man.

Somehow the TruMind organization had found a new source of power and it was something beyond mere energy. This power could restructure the very fabric of reality. It could also completely eradicate that same structure. They had harnessed that power in these little devices.

At the beginning, TruMind had used its power benignly. It began by dominating the home appliance industry. TruMind devices, when placed in specially constructed appliances, behaved with true intelligence, unlike the highly acclaimed but very unsuccessful AI of previous decades. They vacuumed and scrubbed meticulously and treated expensive clothes gently.

The change in technology had happened almost overnight and within a short while, TruMind had come to dominate absolutely every technology sector with their devices. Yet, no one was able to reverse engineer the remarkable devices.

Many were suspicious. TruMind had mysterious connections with medical establishments. One also heard vague but unverified talk of shadowy facilities into which an assortment of top gamers, wall street quants, and other high mental octane players had disappeared, never to return. And the most bizarre development was that TruMind had registered itself as a religious charity with the slogan “Never suffer,” offering some kind of technological immortality to a very select few. Perhaps that is where all the gamers and other whiz kids went, Arctang guessed.

At any rate, the rule of TruMind did not remain benign for long. Unsurprisingly, governments were very concerned about TruMind’s overnight and overwhelming success. They began to speak of monopolies, and anti-trust legislation. When TruMind, relying on its global corporate power, refused to comply, things got ugly.

The armed raids on TruMind facilities were almost all turned back. In one such raid, government agents gained entry to the facility. But then, before they could report what they’d found, an explosion ripped through completely eliminating it from existence, along with everything inside. What remained seemed like a hole in reality, slowly sucking in its surroundings, so the whole county had to be evacuated.

By then TruMind had fortified its headquarters as a gigantic edifice of impenetrable nouscrete, a new form of matter generated by harnessing algojoules. Even nuclear weapons could not damage the walls. TruMind was beyond reach of the governments of the world.

Arctang was one of the few outsiders who knew TruMind’s secret. Long ago, his elder brother had entered the facility, never to be seen again.

Usually, when that happened, everyone close to the person also disappeared. But this time, there was a hitch. Arctang and his brother had been born into a very poor family living in the mountains off the grid. They’d retained knowledge of folk medicine and could support themselves without the benefits of modern civilization. One outcome was that Arctang himself was birthed at home and had not even entered any official records.

But his older brother had rejected that destitute lifestyle. Choosing fame, fortune, and tangible immortality over the ways of his parents, he’d been sucked into TruMind’s snares.

One day, Arctang, curious, had followed his brother and snuck to the facility. What he saw then horrified him.

He found stacks and stacks of the lifeless bodies of the disappeared elite. Was this what immortality looked like? What had they done?

From a utility closet, he watched one of the living elite being led into a room down a pearly corridor. Donning a lowly personal service worker’s uniform, he was able to get into the room afterward and find a hiding place. Thus, when the next elite entered the room with a swagger, he witnessed the entire pyramid light show, which ended with the elite’s lifeless body draped over the bed in the middle of the room. The engineer running the machine walked to a box at the back of the room and pulled out one of the very sort of devices that Arctang had seen for sale in electronics stores.

The device moved under its own power. But that wasn’t all. It moved with a swagger.

Arctan struggled to take in what he was seeing. Somehow the elite’s mind had been placed in the device. Once the engineer had left the room, Arctang stole back into the hallway.

Then he froze. Coming down the hallway towards him was his brother Eclar.

Catch the first six episodes in the TruMinds series, courtesy Sci-Fi Saturday at Mind Matters News:

  1. 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.
  2. Neuroharvest – a tale TruMind engineers had discovered a new science: editing the very fabric of reality.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Is immortality worth risking the unthinkable? — Trumind serial, part 5. 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.
  6. Finally… the Ultimate Smart Machine. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a small startup called TruMind made the AI dream a reality. While the skeptics said it could not be done, and even industry veterans and the most idealistic AI pioneers had serious doubts, TruMind revolutionized the entire world of technology seemingly overnight with the TruMind capsule.

Watch for episode 8 in Eric Holloway’s series of (now) eight—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.

Empath—the Ultimate Technology—Cares About You