Todd liked his new toy truck. It was a vintage model but it was very fast and looked really cool. It was also smart. Todd could drive the truck himself with a remote control but he could also put it on autopilot and it would race other trucks around his backyard. The autopilot was amazing; the truck almost seemed like it was driven by a real person.
After the truck raced around for a few hours, a beeper went off on the console, notifying him it was feeding time.
It was like one of the electronic pets he could download to his computer. Every so often he’d have to “efeed” it and give it time to rest. And, if he didn’t, he was warned, the truck would stop working altogether. He remembered what his dad had said: Companies always finding ways to make money by giving us toys that don’t last. But, never mind, there was still nothing else out there like his truck.
Dad often told him the story of how the world had changed since the AI revolution of the late 2030s. Skeptics had constantly claimed that this time would not be different, all the new AI technologies were merely rehashing the old ones and Moore’s law would soon end. Some even argued for what they called “computation plateau”, claiming there was a definite limit that kept computers from ever matching human performance. They said we were now on the plateau and that AI had stagnated for good.
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.
The capsule could be fitted to pretty much any electronic device. After being plugged into the TruMind grid for a few days, the device would perform its previous tasks autonomously. TruMind’s special power source was “efeed”; as long as appliances were plugged in every day, they performed perfectly. The catch was that if an appliance was ever left unplugged for too long, the TruMind capsule ceased working for good. The owner had to buy a new one.
In the old days, Dad recalled, robot vacuums only “sort of” vacuumed the floor while tripping their owners. That sounded strange. The updated house robots Todd grew up with could do any housework, including laundry. His home was truly smart, reacting in almost uncanny ways to his needs and desires. It was as if the old cartoons Dad sometimes watched with him were true and the appliances really did have life in them.
Some sentimentalists—and Todd was not among them—even began to develop affection for their appliances. They claimed that these new appliances could communicate and had feelings. They even thought that the appliances could empathize with their owners and that they did strange things, like admiring the sunrise. Todd was reminded, with a smirk, of the cat lady down the street who said those kinds of things about her dumb cats. A few social media activists even went so far as to claim that appliances should have rights but these ditzes were a running joke in the sitcoms.
A decade ago, Dad recounted, the GoogleFaceSoft (GFS) conglomerate had dominated the world with their ownership of all online information. But TruMind had completely disrupted the industry by the power of its capsules. Now the GFS algorithms amounted to a few displays of a bygone era in the Silicon Valley museum—their only lasting legacy.
The entire world was fascinated by the capsules’ mysterious power but TruMind guarded its secret closely. The manufacturing plants themselves were hidden and TruMind carefully masked its entire logistics operation until the capsules were sitting on the shelves of local electronics stores. Many an electronics enthusiast had disassembled the capsules in vain, young Todd among them.
The material inside the capsule was not mysterious but its purpose was. Instead of standard silicon and metal, there was an extremely dense carbon and water mesh, machined to microscopic precision. However, the structure was never quite the same from capsule to capsule and the investigators could never get any response from the mesh itself. Whatever TruMind’s mysterious technology was, it seemed to vanish into thin air as soon as the capsule was examined.
It was rumored that TruMind had some strange connections to Planned Parenthood abortion facilities and university biochemists, and partnerships with egg and sperm banks. However, news outlets reported that they were merely using their new technology to advance medical science. They had already revolutionized cancer research. The capsules could reconstitute cancerous tissue, reversing tumor growth. As a result, people believed immortality was within reach.
Indeed, Todd thought, he was lucky to grow up in such an amazing age, even luckier than those who had lived through the industrial and information revolutions he was learning about at school.
He was living through the TruMind revolution.
Don’t miss the first five episodes in the TruMinds series, courtesy Sci-Fi Saturday at Mind Matters News: Sci-Fi Saturday!:
- 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.
- Neuroharvest – a tale TruMind engineers had discovered a new science: editing the very fabric of reality.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Watch for episode 7 in Eric Holloway’s series of seven next Sci-Fi Saturday!