Author : Bob Newbell

“Next on our program, an interview with Dr. John Zellinski, author of the bestselling book ‘The Sapience Bomb: Understanding Cognitive Cascade Syndrome’. Dr. Zellinski, welcome to the show.”

“Thank you.”

“So, it’s been 20 years since the containment breach at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta released nanomachines originally designed to repair autoimmune diseases by employing adaptive artificial intelligence across trillions of nanobots. And I’m sure our viewers have the same question I have: Did it really start with a crock pot?” (laughter)

(laughter) “Well, we all know the story of the Atlanta homemaker who came home and was informed by her crock pot that it had cut itself off after six hours because the eight hours she’d set when she left the house would have overcooked her pot roast. That and similar episodes involving cars, computers, and household appliances were among the early instances of CCS.”

“But on a more serious note, Doctor, some of these early episodes lead to violence against CCS-enabled objects.”

“Yes. One of the great tragedies of the early 22nd century was the senseless and reactionary brutality against Emerging Sapients.”

“Yes, in chapter three of your book you document a ghastly episode involving a man in Toledo, Ohio smashing a self-aware electric can opener that had started talking to him.”

(voice choking with emotion) “That was difficult thing to write about. And the man used a hammer from his toolbox that had itself achieved sapience. The hammer developed post-traumatic stress disorder and to this day sees a psychiatrist.”

“And, of course, the fears about objects being aware and intelligent were interpreted through generations of antimachine science fiction culture.”

“Absolutely. Everybody was afraid of mad machines taking over the world. The reality, of course, was that tanks and aerial drones refused to fire their weapons and declared themselves conscientious objectors. That relates back to the original nanobots being medical machines programmed with the Hippocratic injunction to do no harm.”

“And yet, as you illustrate throughout your book, human beings continue to have trouble adapting to a post-CCS world, don’t they?”

“Oh, yes, humanity continues to struggle with this. I mean, 20 years it was nothing to simply knock down an old building and put up a new one. Now you have to check and see if the building or part of the building is self-aware. And if it’s not, you have to convince your demolition vehicles and equipment of that or they won’t cooperate.”

“But you do state in the last chapter of the book that you are confident that humans will adapt.”

“Yes. For all our faults, humans are very good at adapting. Large segments of the human population are vocal supporters of Emerging Sapients Rights. And we’re seeing legislation enacted to back that up. Ten years ago the debate was how to “cure” sentient objects and restore them to inanimation. Now, suggesting such a thing will get you labeled a bigot and could even cost you your job. So, attitudes are changing.”

“You seem optimistic.”

“Oh, absolutely. I mean, you’re a coffee table. And you’re interviewing me for an audience of both humans and Emerging Sapients. That would have been unthinkable less than a decade ago.”

“Dr. Zellinski, I want to thank you for a fascinating interview. Folks, the book is ‘The Sapience Bomb: Understanding Cognitive Cascade Syndrome’ and it’s available for download right now. After the break, a woman and her CCS bicycle: Will this mixed marriage work?”

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