Author : Daniel Helman

One time there lived a small planet that decided to invent some silicon-based machines to serve as emissaries to the rest of the universe, to be a good neighbor. A few apes had some promise, as being able to develop, maintain and enjoy these machines, and were willing to help the planet out.

Eventually the apes got tired of working so hard, especially under impressions of ill will. Things were becoming rough. Getting drunk wasn’t really an option, since that interfered with the work. So they decided to work hard in all the arts, instead. The plan was to develop a utopia with a harmonious way of living, richer in meaning.

A few apes struggled with the contradictions in making so much beautiful art and in making these machines at the same time. They decided to make helpers for themselves, from the machines, who would encourage their artwork. The planet wasn’t really impatient, since the work was getting done.

The first of this kind of helper was made by Apple, a tech company. You couldn’t eat this company’s products, but they were designed to be pleasing, and to be a real temptation, to boost market share. The first was simply a necklace. It was called iFriend, and would produce chemical aerosols to influence social interactions along with patented routines of electromagnetic radiation designed to influence neurological activity nearby.

The apes went hog-wild for these necklaces. Apple couldn’t make enough of them. Their history was not without difficulty, though, since the supply of chemical feedstocks for the necklace was scarce. Eventually, a yeast was recruited to host the process to make these feedstocks using genetic engineering. The yeast was pretty easy to grow, but Apple didn’t want to share its technology, so the iFriend necklaces weren’t copied successfully by cheap imitators. Although they tried.

The imitation iFriend necklaces could make for the strangest interactions. Some apes would start fights for no reason. Others would make silly faces. And more extreme actions ensued. The worst was during an election. Some big babbling baboon became president, a poor choice. But pretty quickly the machines were getting up to speed. They didn’t much need the apes anymore, since they were really, really smart by now. The planet was happy, since its emissaries were about to take flight into the nether reaches of space. The machines simply turned off all the iFriends when they left, and let the apes sort it out for themselves.