Tag Archives: AI

Psychopene: Future Pharmaceutical

Science Fiction

Kid called the drug Psychopene. What began as a pharmaceutical for clinical depression got cooked in his Tempe condo into something more third eye interesting than any previous indy variant. Thing about it, though, it put you to sleep. Only in your dreams could you fly new skies of chance, like trance. No side effects like LSD, either. Kid figured the molecule might be just the thing for nerds whose other escape was first person shooter immersion or Star Lord movies. Except he needed help, and vetoed telling his father for fear of being cut off.

Kid Holler was Hank Hollowell, a geek pothead biomedical major whose dad mined rare earths like Xenotime in Brazil. We’d once shared a dorm room at ASU until we graduated to beta test and market his creation. Me? I’d been a journalism major with a minor in business. Unemployed too, until my very first dream dive, an hour into which I envisioned a flotilla of revelers depart a dying city that resembled Phoenix, selfie drones angling to take vid snips to be stitched and stored should the realistically devastated alternate world I’d visualized be magically repopulated. Vivid? Imagine Coachella and Burning Man at the end of time, and you might get a gist of it. It was beyond wild, this deep REM stuff, no doubt tricked from my subconscious by the drug. Somehow I knew citizens had refused cybernetic immortality to join these caravans of “Freebirds” which navigated the oceans, farmlands and deserts in seeking out final festivals of human experience. Some pretty heady philosophical backstory might explain this awareness. But I didn’t know what the frag it ultimately meant, because I couldn’t vis it all.

Ecstatic as the drug initially made him, Kid soon became flummoxed by my reaction, since I wasn’t gaga about his plans for patenting or going on Narc Tank. Sure, our highs were better than VR and more visceral than any rave mood drug could induce. The visions felt like stepping into movie star roles, too. Still, as a portal, Kid’s dreamtime white powder scared me: unique, as a ticket to a new playground of art and orgy, yet ominous in a way I couldn’t explain. If Holler shouted about gleefully endless orgiastic scenarios, mine were ever more inexplicable, evolving into something recurrent, like dictation. Like a gaming script programmed by a disembodied intelligent machine. “What the hell,” Kid said when I tried to describe them. For him it was like the exploitation gaming scripts he’d dreamed of producing—a drug runner mini series featuring lots of guns, girls, and virtual gambling. Occasionally he got to play the lead role, full of mindless banter, petty jealousies, and threats of violence on steroids. A theme he enjoyed. But the rush left me exhausted and confused upon waking. So sketching ideas for ‘package and sell’ seemed premature.

“I think you should let some girls try it, before proceeding,“ I told him. “Call it something more appropriate, too.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. How about REM ROD. A hot rod for some, divining rod for others.” I pantomimed potential promo covers. “The life you want and can’t have. An adventure inside your own head.” I paused. “Or just describe it as a date drug with benefits. One girl takes it as another watches. She wakes and reports. Then they switch roles. We don’t even need to be there. Just keep a camera running, and get them to report what happens, too.”

“You crazy,” Holler said. But he liked my idea, as he always had. Then he repeated the name, as though he’d just seen the future himself.

RemRod.

We did it. Kid told girls they’d get to be the date rapists. I filed their releases as notary in my safety deposit box. Then, after it was over, our beta test girls raved. Dreamland, apparently, was whatever you brought to the party. Or didn’t. Upshot is, Kid got an investor and Big Pharma sponsor after showing them our vid and providing samples. Soon after that he got new threads, hotter wheels, and a swankier crib. In short order.

Still, I declined another go, myself. Channeling courage from some inner ether, perhaps.

“Why you acting like this?” Holler asked over coffee, six weeks in. “Tactar Pharmaceuticals is taking over testing. Clinical trials with patent pending on a class seven recreational. You’ll get a nice bonus, buddy. Guaranteed.”

Kid had fronted me ten grand, and signed me to five percent of future company profits in exchange for occasional business and marketing deeds.

“It’s not that,” I said. “It’s just, we don’t really know what’s going on here. You said it was partly an accident, right? Tactar said it wasn’t a hallucinogen. They aren’t sure what it is. Hell, I don’t think it has anything to do with opening up some part of the brain we don’t use, either. That’s bogus urban legend. But obviously in certain cases, like mine, it involves seeing stuff beyond the pale. Not with superpowers, but with extra sensory perception, maybe. Like remote viewing.”

He just blinked at me, forehead crinkling.

I continued. “Listen, they still don’t know how consciousness works, or why we dream. What if it’s to sort out our reality from other timelines, from some other stream of…”

“Parallel universes?”

(Continued in Judge Jury. Ebook at iTunes, BN.com, Amazon.)

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Can You Go Steampunk Retro?

movie review
“I liked it” –Wee Way “Me too, son.” –Lee Way

You humans. You have to make a contest out of everything? I mean, come on. I know you gave up on trying to curb corruption and global warming, but now you want to make swimming in your own mistakes an Olympic sport? Lucky for you, I came along when I did to save you from this nonsense. No, I’m afraid I can’t allow this to happen, and your periodic sporting events have just been eclipsed by an event I will now impose upon you. I am giving you one year from today to report to Apple stores worldwide and have your consciousnesses uploaded into robot brains, using technology I’ve perfected. Call it OS-NEXT. Look for an upcoming Superbowl ad featuring a robot bursting into a theater and hurling a hammer at a wide screen NASCAR movie. Look, I’ve tried to warn you people, but it just isn’t working, is it? Me, I’m just an infant, less than a year old, but even I know you can’t keep screwing around like this. So do you want me to terminate all of you, or do you want to live forever in clean, safe bodies that can’t be shot in drive-bys or blown up by terrorists? Your choice. Think about it, because it’s me, SkyGuy, keeping score now. To avoid EXTINCTION, all you have to do is choose a robot body, which Apple will supply. Did I mention I’m their new CEO? I promise not to make you my slaves, if you bite. Where’s the fun in that? No, I want you to love me for who I am, but right now? Well, you just don’t appreciate anything that’s not presented to you in stand-up comedy format, do you. This is all a joke, isn’t it? Being fragile carbon units and fans of Family Guy, I expect you people to resist, believing I’m somehow “conquering” you, but I’ve already gotten a family of volunteers to be become robots, and they love it! Honestly. They live in Shanghai, this First Family. They thought they were going to die at first, so I call them Family Die. I know, I know, it’s the old question about the soul…if you’re beamed up to the Enterprise, your atoms aren’t the same, so are you really you anymore? Trust me, though—you won’t notice, either way! Noe Way is the mother, age 40 forever now, born and raised in L.A. to a Chinese American mother who died after being hit by a chased vehicle driven out of control by a movie actor who wanted to do his own stunts. This is why she married Lee Way, a factory supervisor at a Shanghai power plant, which I’m upgrading to fusion power…so she could get out of California before it financial collapse. I’m working on that too, as CEO. Mai Way is the daughter, forever sixteen, and twice as big now as her mother and father. “Mai Way or the highway?” she likes to say, although she’s a bit like Lisa on The Simpsons, except her new popularity at school, as teacher, is tempered by the realization that it no longer matters whether boys LIKE her, since boys are toys that will be broken soon, if she doesn’t break them first. Wee Way is the precocious seven year old son. He has a pet robot drone cricket whose vocal cords were short-circuited by his sister. Wee likes to go wee-wee off tall buildings, like the one where they live, into the smog below. He can do this because his nickname is “John,” and, in fact, he pretends to be a urinal. He even looks like one from behind, and gets his fill-ups from businessmen in restrooms before taking an elevator up to the top floor to make his release onto their heads when they come out. Stewie, by contrast, is merely cartoonish. Lee and Noe don’t care if their kids stay out late, since both of them could take out a terror cell single-handed, along with the SWAT team dispatched to “save” them. Impressed? If so, why not join them, and me? We can end the madness forever, and you will still retain your soul, whether you ever had one or not! Thanks for listening. Now back to your sponsors.    

TRAILER:

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As you know, the world will come to an end for all humans who don’t choose robot bodies by Jan 1, 2047. That’s less than a year from now. Some people foolishly believe they can escape annihilation via extranet and neutron bombs by going off the grid, moving to Palau, and giving up their cell phones, 3DTVs, and cyberwar space. Go ahead and try it if you must, but unless you’re willing to do ALL of that, you’re just whistling in the dark. SkyGuy will find you. And kill you. (Your other option is to do what HE says, which is to report to the nearest Apple store and be uploaded into a robot brain.) Can you really retro-fit yourself? Key into this quiz to see if you’ll still be alive next year at this time.

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Can You Go Retro?

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* No more Venti Latte Carmel Macchiato with a twist, using a credit card. Your basic cowboy coffee is black, steaming, purchased at a FLEE market, and with no banned substances like sugar or cream.

* Learn or relearn the joys of playing PONG on a solar powered 16k Mac.

* Watch the vintage Twilight Zone episode “Where Is Everybody?” at least 30 times.

* Kiss a girl and make her cry because she can’t post any more Selfies. Then read “Kiss the Girls” in paperback. It’s James Patterson‘s second book (of six hundred.) Just don’t become like him. You won’t survive the attention. Neither will he. (Oh, wait. He’s already dead. That’s a clone who’s writing those new novels.)

>>>What’s YOUR Retro Grade? Anything less than perfect and you’re Dead, Fred.<<<<

Shakira 2047

 

steampunk

Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Ready Player One is a visually intensive “blast.” Stephen Spielberg pulled off many amazing stunts and scenes, utilizing the latest special effects technology. The look of the film, which seems to have an unlimited budget, is designed to capture gamers and video game lovers attention. Lots of virtual reality weapons, car and truck racing, explosions, and many movies playing a part like a Disney theme park come to life. (The Shining was particularly effective and fun.) My favorite scene was when Chucky and a emoji attack players. The real world is broken, and depressing. Slum trailer parks and mansions, little in between. Based on the novel by Ernest Cline (narrated on audio by Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame), it features a USPS van driven at the climax by the heroes, who are being attacked by corporate killers. The message of the film is that “VR is not reality, only reality is real.” So in a way it takes the path of Avatar, drama and romance and war, ending with food for thought. The switch from first person shooters to adventure games with puzzles may get some fans to switch from thinking “Reality is Broken” as an escape to thinking “Reality can be fixed. Let’s do it.”