So, es ist mal wieder Zeit für frische Buchstaben, frischen Lesestoff. Diesmal allerdings nicht völlig querbeet, sondern alles eher Sciencefiction-Stories.

Viel Spaß damit!

The Gambler

Virgil looked around the table. The others were moving their hands to a spot just behind their left ears, clearly expecting this request. He did the same, placing a finger behind his ear to the Cochlear-Glyph implant. A silver circle the size of a penny, the c-glyph connected every mind to the Freewave, the collective knowledge of the human species. They also contained memory pins. A standard model held about a year’s memories. Audio feed, and—if the individual wore g-glasses, or was wealthy enough to afford an injection of nano-droids that attached to the optic nerves—a visual recording as well. As actual human memories were highly unreliable, susceptible to emotion, to the degradation of time and the whims of imagination, the courts had rightfully decided that recollection by natural means was inadmissible as evidence. With an epidemic in recent decades of citizens incrementally losing short and long-term memory, the c-glyphs and the memory pins were a savior. There were those who said the c-glyphs were the cause of memory loss, that by allowing them to take over day-to-day brain functions, we were outsourcing the process of thinking and remembering. That our brains atrophied, unused. But only luddites spouted such nonsense.

Lich-House

The white room is bleeding to death.
A white vestibule, with white floors and white walls and a lit white ceiling. The only other color is red. A crack in one wall, exposing a raw fistula in the bioelectric packeting. Blood leaks from the hole, down three inches of slick white wall, to pool on the floor. A broken heart in the interstitial net of veins and wires that makes our houses live and breathe.
Somebody has murdered the house.

Victimless Crimes

“Stay away from my baby!” Teri shouted.

“Stand back, ma’am,” said the big lunkhead with the odd nozzles sticking out of his bald scalp. His arms bulged with unnatural muscles and knotted veins, and he had a huge belt that kept changing color. Teri tried to make a break for it, but the big bald man and the other man, the red pirate, grabbed an arm each and restrained her. She kicked and clawed, but they were both many times stronger than her. She started screaming. A crowd was gathering around the four adults and the baby in front of the organic grocery store, and all the people had their phones out. Teri hoped for a moment that the bystanders were phoning the cops, but then realized they were taking pictures and videos. This incident would make people YouTube famous.

Trying on the Retro Flesh

In Terry Bisson’s short story “They’re Made Out of Meat” (originally published in OMNI in 1990) super-intelligent machines discuss the absurdity of life on Earth, seeing us as no more than “talking meat.” The predominant thinking seems to be that AI would be repulsed and mystified by our meaty ways. But where does this tendency come from—to believe intelligent machines would be so indifferent towards organic life? What if, like teenagers fumbling with a record player, they thought organic life was cool and retro?

When I ask Sebastian Benthall, of UC Berkeley’s School of Information, this question—if he thinks contemporary A.I. could become sentimental—he tells me that in many ways, an emotional reaction from programs already does happen, we just don’t call it that yet.

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