Thursday, October 27, 2005

I was scribbling notes for science fiction story ideas (on a cardboard java jacket, since nothing else was handy) and found myself meme-splicing the "zones of thought" from Vernor Vinge's "A Fire Upon the Deep" with the homey practicality of Wi-Fi hotspots.

Basically, the idea is that different social groups -- not necessarily defined by geography -- broadcast high-bandwidth "feeds" that are automatically detected, routed and processed by the augmented brains of anyone passing through.

Take language. A non-French-speaking tourist could visit France and suddenly find him- or herself speaking the native tongue fluently. But the applications can be far more potent, even threatening entrenched notions of what constitutes "self." So it logically follows that a lot of people will set up neural firewalls to protect themselves from personality-altering networked "feeds" while continuing to enjoy Mind-Fi's limitless conveniences.

But all might not be pleasant:

The subliminal undertow of the mindfeed felt like a layer of gelatin lubricating every conscious thought; factoids and assumptions rose to the surface of awareness unbidden only to dissolve once expressed. "Like gnats," he thought, leaning into his augmented exosuit. "Digital mayflies canvassing my synapses and quietly expiring." The notion weighed on his conscience. He imagined the husks of dead insects clinging to the warm, wet lining of his skull, impervious to decay.

He shook his head as if to dislodge them; the exosuit amplified the motion and would have jarred his sense of balance had he not opted for modification prior to boarding the geosynch tether. Slowly, his limbs relaxed into their programmed routine.

Sudden bilocation racked his senses: He was a thing of temperamental flesh, head full of arcane machinery. At the same time, we was pure thought, seamlessly encased in factory-fresh piezoplastics and discreet pneumatics.


W.M. Bear said...

This whole idea calls up two words to me: mindfeed spyware. The Federal Thought Police (FTPs) are comin' to get ya!

weevee: qeppr (As in, "Win one for the Qeppr.")

razorsmile said...

This would make one hell of a short story.

Mac said...

This would make one hell of a short story.

I think it would make an interesting milieu for a whole series of 'em! I might have a "fix-up" novel on my hands...