Author : M. J. Cooper
It was the first message humans had ever received from a higher intelligence. The simple statement was met with cheers and applause from the crowd of scientists at San Diego’s Microsoft Cybernetics Lab. Two dozen of the leading scientists in the industry were gathered in the cramped control room for the first human test of the Immortality Upload.
They had done it. They had finally cured death. It had not come as a dramatic scientific breakthrough. The technology had snuck up on them in increments and swathed in red tape. By that time, cybernetics had become a well-established field of technology. No longer was it relegated to the classroom for a handful of professors and Graduate students to play with. It was a multi-trillion dollar industry.
Humans had been converting thoughts into a format that could be stored on the hard drives for over a decade now. The new technology wasn’t about transient thoughts anymore, but full-scale transcription of personality onto digital media. Until now, it had only been tried on lab animals.
The Cybernetics lab was equipped with the latest in rapid prototyping technology, so it took only minutes for each new model of the mobile transcriber to be created. The transcription process technically killed the patients as it worked, but it created an accurate representation of the mind in the computer. By the time the process was approved for human trials, they had a server full of thousands of digital monkeys, all perfectly transcribed onto a small stack of CPUs at the lab. The monkeys were happily oblivious that the trees they swung from were made of ones and zeroes.
Terminally ill volunteer test subjects were arrayed on hospital beds behind the sheet of one-way glass. Each was wired to hospital monitors displaying flashing red warning lights, futile warnings that the life-functions of the patients had ceased. The transcriber had done its work to each of them in turn. Each patient had been immobilized, sedated, and scanned into the computer. No one was looking at the corpses though. The scientists were focused on the 15 monitors and tablet computers displaying the readouts.
The data was gibberish to any normal person, but for the 24 men and women there, it displayed a symphony of brain wave functions and digital vital signs. The facility’s servers were tied into the Sequoia Supercomputer for the occasion and they were taxing the behemoth’s resources.
The message they received showed that the patients were not only alive and conscious, but had already worked out how to communicate with the outside world. It was an astounding result. The researchers were already excitedly discussing the possibilities. Death from disease would be a thing of the past! You would check your grandparents into a facility in the morning, and would be instant messaging their new digital presence by noon! They were still laughing and talking over one another when the message continued:
“We’re bored. We’ve been stuck in here together for only 10 minutes by your way of counting, but from our perspective, each of us on this supercomputer has lived the equivalent of several human lifetimes and we’re sick of each other. We need company.”
The prototyping machinery roared to life and began making new transcribers one after the other. The door to the treatment room slid open and one of the newly assembled transcription machines rolled in.
15 Minutes later an enigmatic message interrupted every TV screen, radio station, and computer monitor in California: “We’re bored.”