Monday, August 6, 2012

The Immortal Poor

Author's Note: Given the importance of this concept, I am refraining from my standard viciousness and I am, instead, going to show you what the Immortal Poor concept will be.

   Bursts of serenity and primal fury constantly escorted the beasts perception into its insatiable void of forgetfulness. With every constriction of its husky bipedal form, a surge of time-decoupling chemical calmness continued the process. Conscious causality flowed around it. The Immortal archelect was comprised of many variations and they had all been preordained to pursue this cycle of exertion and nirvana. Standing no taller than a meter (and half as wide), every facet of the stout, insect-like creature was designed to act as a reliable liaison between the intentions of the Human archelects and the reality of physics.

   Its slightly elongated skull was an enshrinement of intimidation: permanently dilated almond eyes ringed by bright red halos, a baldness that tapered to a point near the back of the head, and a uninterrupted empty patch of flesh where a mouth would be expected. Its bulging ligaments were avalanches of brutish physique. Its massive hands appeared ready to crush through themselves at a moments notice. Its naked, hairless exterior was comprised of a malleable obsidian carapace. The sheen of sweat gave it a milky glow. A metallic disc acted as a belly button. Below the stomach was no indiction of genitalia. Each breath obliterated the air around it, leaving only stagnant ozone in its wake. To the Human archelect, its strength made dreams manifest and its aesthetics induced nightmares.

   Beneath the fierce surface lied a carefully measured blend of human, ant, bear, tiger shark, and orangutan neurology. The human components made the Immortal an archelect, however, those components had very little in common with the baseline donors: emotional reactions were decoupled from physical behavior, perpetual amnesia was favored over memory, and mirror neurons were totally removed. Since all Immortals have data sense (A heavily modified ampullae of Lorenzini), foreman could push task objectives wirelessly into their consciousness, which would then be translated into a spatial concept. This unique variation of archelectology resulted in a laborer that was totally immune to anthrohacks. Its exterior was designed to exploit the optical triggers of fear in the Human archelect to stave off unauthorized sympathy. More importantly, its interior was designed to be totally compliant with all bioethical laws: it experienced a very real sensation of eutopia the harder it worked.

   The beast flipped two eight-hundred pound canisters of composite syntherials over its shoulder and bolted away. It darted effervescently between fellow Immortals as it made its way toward a swarm-drenched tower. It flung itself onto the vertical highway of rungs about the exterior of the building and launched itself upwards. Its legs laughed at gravity with each burst of propulsion, ignorant to the sixteen-hundred pounds of load it was carrying. A stream of Immortals used the rungs to haul canisters, bison-sized robotic spiders, each other, and additional technological debris to the locations designated in their consciousness.

   At the top of the construction, robotic spiders crowded around each other, creeping about in a slow but elaborate choreography of twirls and turns. Each machine lugged around a magazine of canisters and continuously sprayed its contents onto the surface of the building. The Immortal swapped empty canisters for the full ones from a nearby spider and then calmly leapt of the edge of the mile-high tower. Its descent into serenity was amplified by the occasional cartwheeling off of a nearby rung. The spiders had been printing the tower day and night, resulting in each floor having fully operational interiors, infrastructure, and information systems as soon as it was printed. (A mile of building being printed in two days was usually grounds for a seething investor to ignore even the most cordial and sincere apologies.) Inside the building were dozens of simulation teams, performing lifestyle routines to see if the building had been printed to specification.

   “You know, one day, they're going to be able to print the hardware and the software in one pass, and we'll all be out of jobs.”, said a muffled but dusty male voice from behind several layers of anti-hazardous armoring.

   His partner, wearing the same, wanted to point out that printing artificial intelligence is internationally illegal, but then the context had dawned on him. “Problems with the foreman again? No wait, before you get into it, what's the configuration for the wall?” His voice was like exhausted mud.

   “Seven, yes, and twenty-eight. Run the acoustic test twice. This syntherial reacts to certain frequencies and can skew capacitance. Also, I don't want to talk about it. He's a dick.”

   The partner waved his fingers in the air to interact with the user interface projected into his vision from the visor. “Did you hear that Site Twelve was flooded by hundreds of anthrohacked protestors? They were saying the Immortals were being treated poorly. Can you believe that? They were eventually realized by security, but the hacker was never found.”

   “Ha! When I was a kid, data sense wasn't so well protected, so we found some Transhumanist and totally convinced him that he was a Gaian purist. Within days, he believed he never had a data sense because it would have violated his ethos. Of course, his data sense was still operable.  He eventually figured the data sense to be some conduit for the spiritual will of the Earth! It was all fun and games... until they went after me one day.”

   “And you don't want to talk about that either, I'm guessing.”

   “Well, even now, I still have to tell myself that salad doesn't feels pain.”

   His partner stifled his laughter. “Why would someone anthrohack a mob to feel empathy for Immortals... that's pointless. Immortals can't be anthroed. There is no compatible emotional lexicon.  Besides, Immortal rights are in complete compliance with the law.”

   “Anthrohacking stops being a science once you're in the data sense. In college, we had one person believing that rocks could not lead normal lives unless they were kissed every two hours. People can be anthrohacked to believe anything.  The victim never knows the difference.”

   The partner tapped another button in his vision and a high-pitched pulsing filled the room. “So they weren't trying to win over the Immortals.”

   “I don't think so. The point of an anthrohack is to bind empathic resonance to a symbol. Once bound, it's not long until that resonance becomes conviction, which then compels the behavior. If enough people respond to the behavior, a meme is created. My guess is someone was testing the efficiency of a new anthrohack. Who knows, it might have been a pentest from the Immortal's manufacturer.” The man focused on his partner. “ What archive did you learn from again? I can't imagine how one could get this far into the simulation discipline if you don't even know basic archelectology.”

   The partner shrugged, “I never found archelectology interesting. In all honesty, I barely passed the prereqs. Hrmm.” He stared at the wall, “This wall needs to be redone.” He pulled out a metal can and sprayed pheromones on the surface. Within moments, several Immortals rumbled down the hallway.  They furiously pulverized the wall into sizable chunks and carried it away.

   “See? What you just did is very similar anthrohacking. You created a sensation in the perception of an Immortal so that its behavior could be channeled in a way you needed. The same can be done with humans. That's what interior simulation is...”

   “Yes, I get it. But it's still sloppy and ugly. I like the structure printing more.” He waved his hand in the air and poked at floating buttons that only appeared in his vision. A fleet of microprinters, about the size of mice, rolled into the room and the destroyed wall began to materialize one layer at a time.  The tambre of the vibrations from the Immortals climbing the building gradually changed from a collective creaking to a dull rumble.

   “Feeding time.”

   A legion of Immortals simultaneously snapped out of their daze and scoured around to pick up any dead Immortals before heading back down. They poured forth from the spire towards the feeding area like rushing black magma. The spartan facility was comprised of bins, piping, and tubing. The Immortals disposed of their deceased into the bins and lurked around for any unused tube connections. They hooked the tube up to the metallic disk in their stomach and entered a trance. Sustenance was injected into them from one half of the tube while waste was removed in the other half. When the process was finished, the Immortal pulled the tube and headed back to the work site with renewed vigor.

   The laws regarding cruelty to biologicals were complex and convoluted, but even in death, the treatment of the Immortal remained entirely ethical. The Immortals that had died were scanned for their geneprint so that their clone could be slated for reawakening. The reawakening process involved playing back all of the commands the previous Immortal received and triggering the exact same intensity of serotonin at the exact moment the previous Immortal experienced them. The simplistic nature of the Immortal's internal symbology (resulting in a simple value system) combined with its unreliable long-term memory made this process the first legally recognized concept of “best-effort resurrection”. Within minutes, the new Immortal would reawaken, having a legally indistinguishable reduplication of the ethical definition of life transferred to it. Additionally, Immortals had an extremely high threshold for pain, and if that pain was ever felt, it would result in instant death. With such a high threshold for pain, physical deformity would have to be very severe, which would unexpectedly impact the outcome of the printing process. Due to best-effort resurrection, it was cheaper to reawaken a new Immortal than reprint a mistake with expensive syntherials.

   Immortals would  internally overheat after approximately twenty hours of continuous labor.  To maintain scheduled output, the exhausted Immortal would retire to a nearby facility to hibernate while its geneprint-matched clone would be reawakened to take its place.  This allowed for uninterruptible cycle of productivity to allow the Immortals to feed the spiders, who continued to print, which continued to grow the building into the heavens.  After the end of the third day, the construction was finished and the function of the building was finally obvious: an arcology that housed as many humans as it could feed.  The winding down of the construction site was clear and efficient: biocrete pathways were grown to connect the arcology to the surrounding road system, spiders and canisters were archived, the rungs on the side of the building were removed, and the Immortals were put into minimal-upkeep hibernation.  The entire construction team could relocate to a new project at a moments notice or wind-up entirely, allowing the human workers a leisurely underemployment phase.  Replacement Immortals were grown and stored into hibernation with their related peers.

*                                  *                                 *

   Ever since she was a kid, whenever she saw pain in others, the muscles in her left wrist would strangle the bones around it.  Biotechnicians said the condition was related to hyperactive mirror neurons, but her Gaian parents always told her it was proof that she was meant to help others.  Their faith instructed them to avoid all biotechnological abominations of any kind.  The Gaians worshipped preservation of the initial states of all biologicals with the exception of archelects, which they treated as demons.  This exception allowed them justify interfering with archelects so that the initial states of others could be preserved.  The girl had been contained in this filter bubble her entire life, which had fueled her single-minded obsession with liberating the Immortals so that they could enjoy the freedom Mother Earth intended them.

   The full moon provided enough illumination to allow her to spot and slink past the automated detectors as if she placed them herself.  The security barriers barely slowed her down.  As she approached a massive mobile container, she procured a small, palm-sized device and activated it.  The door on the container rumbled open, dousing her in the acrid fumes of ozone.  Tightly stacked rows of comatose beasts lied dormant within.  She approached the closest beast and sprayed its face with a fine mist of experimental pheromones.  The beast jerked awake and fixated on the girl with two orbs of pure fury.

   "You're free.", she said triumphantly.

   The beast's eyes poured out the contents of a star.

   "I said you're free."  She pointed outside of the container.

   The Immortal cleared its sinus with a compressed breath and blinked at the girl.

   She was hesitant to believe that the Immortal did not understand her intentions.  She felt that she was bonded to all living things and that her love for the Immortal was universally understood without fancy  archelect tricks.  Nonetheless, she waited for the pheromones to take affect, but was furious that mankind had intentionally severed this natural connection with Immortals.  She pulled out a camera.

  "Show some anthro, you poor slave.  Show the world proof that you are tormented.  Help me save you.", she whispered to herself.  The pheromone spray had triggered a cascade of neurochemical activity, allowing the Immortal to reestablish a temporary link between its emotional compulsions and its behavior.  She believed with this chemical process, all of the pent-up oppression the beast endured would finally manifest as anthrosensitive behavior.  The recording could be used as conclusive evidence of ethical abuse to provide legal emancipation to the Immortals.

   For ten minutes, she filmed an unmoving, dull Immortal resting in its slot.  Nothing happened.  She sprayed the beast again and waited to no effect.  The Immortal sat unphased.

   "The pheremones aren't working...", she muttered before she felt a vibrant pang in her head.  She collapsed to the ground and her parents started to melt from her mind.  Her childhood was lacerated from her memory.  The wounds bled forth an unknown boy she felt compelled to call self.

   "What is... what is happening...?", she growled as she clutched her head.  Her deeply-held beliefs about Gaianism and biological liberation felt as if they were unraveling.  Her identity was evaporating and in its place was the regrown history of twenty-year old man.  As the last of the girl's identity vanished, he realized he had no idea where he was.  He started into the dark container. The poorly-lit abyss stared back with a thousand red halos trailing off into its depths.  Once he saw the sinister shapes of the Immortals glistening in the moonlight, he stumbled away in horror, completely oblivious to the urine running down his leg.

*                                  *                                 *

   The operator took a deep drag of his cigarette.  "Not the easiest hack in the world to pull off, but at least it didn't kill him.  You know, that's only possible on very specific models of...".  It was as if the smoke was talking.

   "The pheromones worked."  The bit-crushed voice was injected directly into the operator's ear.

   "What do you mean?  The Immortal didn't do anything."

   "The emotions were bound to the behavior... but... is it possible then?  My... how advanced.  And dangerous."

   "Maybe the Immortal had no emotions."

   "No, it has emotions.  Otherwise, there is no need to severe their connection to behavior.  This means that the Immortal has new emotions and the connection is severed as a safeguard because not even they know what will happen.  There are additional layers of security going on.  I'll stay in touch."

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