Author : Kaj Sotala
Case #6-694-39245: Michael Jones.
Born September 5, 1993. Died and suspended July 8, 2012. Looks ordinary – stabbed in a drunken bar brawl, lay bleeding on the ground for a couple of hours before people noticed. Dead before reaching the hospital. No “do not suspend” order on file, so he was placed in cryogenic suspension. Ten percent of his property was left to grow an interest, with the rest divided to his relatives, as per the law.
As the nanobots thaw through the vitrification, I study their survey of his brain. As you’d expect from somebody dead for hours before suspension, the major structures are intact, but a lot of the fine detail has been lost. Only a rough image of Michael Jones.
Fortunately, there’s other information to work with. Jones was a bit of a hermit, so what’s usually the most useful source comes up nearly dry. Of the people who’ve given permission to access their memories, only six remember knowing him, none very well. Still, their memories are useful – his speech patterns, impressions of his body language. From over a billion ways to reconstruct his cerebellum and motor cortex, this narrows down the alternatives to about half a million. I choose the most probable alternative.
Online is the next source. Data harvested by ECHELON, e-mails that’ve passed through GMail, customer information from banks and store chains – the law gives us access to all of it.
I find a blog he used to keep, several e-mails sent to different mailing lists. I track the change in personality over several years of online presence, build a model of how he might have evolved into what he was. In one blog post he passingly mentions a game convention – the date of the posting, as well as the location of the event, match one fragmented set of memories I found earlier. I fill in missing details from the memories of other people who were there, pull up the convention schedule and calculate the events he was the most likely to have been attending. Suddenly a lot of nearly destroyed memory cues make sense, helping reconstruct a unique experience. We always start from a person’s own remaining memories, filling in material from other sources only when we have to.
There’s one set of memories with a lot of associations – an important one for his psyche, but I can’t figure out its exact contents. An online search reveals it must be the death of his dog as a child. I can’t determine the color of the dog’s eyes, but I know that he would have remembered it, so I call up the genetic database for that breed and choose the most likely one. Green.
After making sure my model of him would’ve bought all the things his debit card history says he did, I estimate I’m getting a 92% accuracy. Some things we always fudge in a better direction – the algorithms are biased to make people a bit more alturistic and kind. Society is different now, so we always make them more receptive to change.
I finish compiling the map of his rebuilt brain, and give the nanobots the order to implement. The rest of his body has already been rebuilt, with all of his minor ailments cured while at it. Soon, he will awaken to a new life – not the same as he once was, but it wouldn’t be a rebirth if you didn’t change, would it?
In the meanwhile, I turn my attention to the next case.