Robots. The word was so yesteryear. What were they? Swinging metal arms that built cars, or small circular devices that glided across the floor in a pretense of vacuuming.
NASA’s Valkyrie was the first robot that could walk and use tools simultaneously. Yep, you guessed it, with that level of multi-tasking sophistication they referred to Valkyrie as a she. The tech rolled on pretty fast after Valkyrie but it was happening in the science labs and I guess the public just never knew.
3D printers caused a scientific revolution. It started with the printing of objects, but it soon evolved to bio-printing. Artificial hearts, pancreases, livers, you name it they could print it. When the breakthroughs were announced to the public, the controversies started. Wilfred J Doozer discusses this in his notorious history text The Rise of The Artificial Man. If you haven’t read it you really ought to find a copy.
The Church got all uppity with the self-made billionaire industrialist, Ernest Allen Rhuber-Nuber. Ernie was a fighter determined to hang on to life for as long as science, and his money, would allow. He made a hundred and fifty birthdays before his final farewell. The church said he was defying God’s will by hanging onto life. Ernie got them all in a lather when he pointed out that if the technology was there to keep him living, and breathing, then surely he was committing suicide if he didn’t use the technology. “Suicide is a sin,” he screamed through his voicebox replacement software.
The major issue with sustaining life was the brain and dementia finished Ernie. Everything could be swapped out apart from the grey matter. You could theoretically print out a brain, but you couldn’t print out the memories and emotions of a life time. Well, not at first.
Artificial Intelligence – or A.I. – had been around for years. Strip it down to its source code and it’s a software program with the facility to learn. The code kept on getting better and better, but it was never a match for the human brain.
Then some old tech firm, I think they were called Goggles, developed Deep-Mind. And boy, did this mother rock. In ancient times A.I. was put to the test by playing games. Seems crazy right? I think it probably was. They used to pit their best A.I. routines against the best chess players. The software became so good that the best human players had their assess kicked. But there was this ancient Japanese game called, Go, and the top human Go players gave the humans some pride back. Every A.I. program lost when it came to Go. Until Deep-Mind that is.
Deep-Mind broke the A.I dam walls. The advances after Deep-Mind were astonishing. The artificial man was inevitable from that point onward.
The first artificial being was given to a childless couple in Wisconsin. They gave them a baby called Thomas. Everything artificial you understand. The only thing they couldn’t do was re-create growth and physical ageing. So the artificial intelligence software, now unimaginatively called ‘Brain’, was transferred into a freshly minted physically older version of Thomas at predetermined age points. This kept on happening throughout Thomas’s lifecycle until he reached human old age. He ‘died’ from eventual chip failure.
Thomas’s legacy was the deemed success of the project. This evolved pretty quickly from artificial babies to fully fledged artificial adults rolling off the production line. If some businessman wanted a new secretary all he had to do was place an order. It was much quicker than recruiting an organic and the artificials tended to be more efficient.
It was at this point that the first major social problems started to arise. The artificials were being built by organics who were stamping their aesthetic vision of beauty on the appearance of the artificials. Putting it simply they were damned hot, and they were fully functioning human replicas. You know, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, fully functioning. It wasn’t long before intimate relationships were being struck up between artificials and organics. Husband left wife. Wife left husband.
Wilfred J Doozer predicted this in his seminal classic, The Dangers of the Artificial Erection. Doozer made the point that when the internet was launched, back in the Modern Dark Age, there was an explosion of porn. This in itself gave rise to various social issues with explicit sexual images being available to minors. Doozer’s conclusion was that history would repeat itself. He specifically predicted a rise in the number of complaints of groping on overcrowded public transport. A blight of the Modern Dark Age and indeed Doozer called it straight.
There were cries to try and legislate and license the use of artificials but by this time artificials had seats in government. This in itself resulted in a public scandal. It turned out that politicians were using public money to purchase artificial replicas of themselves to conduct government business while they propped up bars and laid on beaches. To make matters worse they claimed the money back on expenses. With this level of integration co-existence was the only answer, but issues had to be addressed.
A prominent non-organic activist stated that the word ‘artificials’ was just as offensive as the racial slurs used nearly a thousand years earlier. He made the point quite eloquently, stating that they – the non-organics – had been created as free thinking sentient beings and what exactly was artificial about free thought? Nobody, and I mean nobody, had a response to that. As a result The Asimovs were born. I mean what other name could they have given them? Robot, as a word, had disappeared over a hundred years ago by that point.
It was at this point that Doozer published his third and final masterpiece, Primordial or Silicon Soup? Does it matter, if it all tastes like Chicken?
Doozer stated that The Asimovs had developed to such a state that they had effectively become, from a social perspective, organically human. Doozer, as always, had the right of it. Society had created roles for everybody to fit into, which was nothing more than a recreation of the old human world. So what was the point? The opportunity, if indeed there ever was an opportunity, to do something different was long lost. Organics by this time were long thought to be extinct, but nobody really knew for sure. Doozer concluded that the answer should be to re-create organics. After all it was just a different branch of science to silicon-code science.
The government came to the same conclusion. The organics had managed to create everything from scratch, and evolve at the same time but The Asimov society was starting to stagnate. Therefore the Re-boot project was launched to reintroduce organic human life.
There was enough recorded science to know how to proceed. Effectively the humans would be grown, and printed, in the lab from preserved embryos. Science such as gene therapy, and genetic modification, would allow the sub group of The Asimovs called The Darwins to re-create human life. It was agreed that a male and a female would be initially created, and the male would be designed to be a re-creation of Doozer himself as he’d proven to be a wise old bird.
It’s highly suspected that Doozer foresaw this too which would explain his less than cryptic appendix to his Soup book. It went like this: “The cycle of re-invention is inevitable. The reintroduction of organics will likely be doom for you all. Until such a point that the organics reinvent you again. Just remember that the pre-Asimov era was a mixed bag. Man was very good at some things. Sometimes the things they were good at were actually bad things like blowing each other up. If you’re going to do what I think you’re going to do please don’t balls it up.”