(Not really an essay. Also, picture from outside one of Magnoliophyta’s facilities, at night, real spooky.)
You wouldn’t think Sweden would ever win this race, or any race for that matter, but here we are. In urban Sweden, Magnoliophyta permeates everything. Different names are distinguished in other nations, but none of them are as established as Magnoliophyta is here. This is the bioputer playground. The test site.
As is with every swedish non-IKEA corporation, no one has ever heard of Magnoliophyta. But they were first to develop the technology. Probably some of their fucked-up employees did some sick experiments in their basement, and now we have bioputers. I’m not sure I want to know that origin story.
Anyway, Magnoliophyta have passed on the technology on their daughters abroad, who are now struggling to overcome the initial gross-out unaccustomed people feel when faced with a computer containing an actual beating heart, as in, with blood (sort of) and shit. But I’m sure the technology will take off eventually, and spread across the globe. People say these bioputers have huge potential. It’s something new. It’s some biopunk science fiction kind of shit. Everything new has huge potential.
Magnoliophyta is a bad name though. It means “Flowering plant”, which I guess could be a kind of neat company name, if it weren’t for all those syllables. No one has the time to pronounce them all. Surely there’s a story behind why they stuck with the name, but that story I haven’t heard. Anyway, people just calls them “Big-M” or “Magno.” Most people call them Magno. It’s even gone so far that Magnoliophyta themselves sign of their commercials with this shortened version of their name.
A living part of the home — Magno.
A beautiful shell and a beautiful heart, but nothing you should open up on your own. You shouldn’t need to. We guarantee that everything will just keep on pumpin’ — Magno.
A very advanced pet that does exactly what you want, all the time. It can’t walk though. Sorry about that — Magno.
(All quotes translated from swedish.)
I will henceforth follow their example and just write Magno, because I still can’t spell the full thing properly.
The commercialization of bioputers is a quite natural follow-up to the so called “provrörsdjur”, or “test tube pets”, that were hugely popular for a short while… What fur-texture do you like? Green eyes, maybe? How about a gene that spikes its intelligence? We have a sale on those at the moment… I too wanted a pet I could design myself.
By the way, have you ever seen a dog race with ten genetically identical greyhounds—all modeled on some ancient master? No? Well, It’s a shitshow, and boring, I’ll tell you that. The most interesting part is how the owners shave them, or spray paint them, or whatever, to make sure they know which dog is theirs.
After a while, more interesting test tube pets got commercialized, like those tiny bear like dog-ish beings called “toy grizzlies”, and also “Löpplar”: the first life form with a 100% unique genome, not related to any other creature on earth, looking like a creation by Patricia Piccinini (https://www.google.se/search?q=patricia+piccinini&biw=1536&bih=735&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-tJb8wsHRAhVFFSwKHV8mAmoQ_AUIBigB), and still extremely popular among certain people—mostly from the upper class—who found some pug-like cuteness in them.
It should have been the other way around, when you think about it. First bioputers, then weird Patricia-Piccinini-ish-pug-creatures. Especially since regular animals are scary now.
What makes bioputers so great are apparently their flexibility. They can literally morph their hardware into the desired shape. Some people call it “moistware”, which is disgusting. The entire thing repels me a bit. I don’t own one and have no plans on changing that. But I have friends who give informal lectures whenever there’s an update or some breakthrough or a cool new commercial. They say, “It won’t be long till the nutrient batteries are rechargeable. In the future, we’ll probably have nutrient solutions flowing in our walls, the same way we have water and electricity.” They also say, “Traditional electric circuits will not go obsolete, that’s a stupid remark. Imagine a biological computer screen. That would be ugly, and weird, and probably real messy. No, the key thing here is the cooperation.”
What I’m wondering is, why is this technology being promoted so heavily? The campaign is aggressive: you almost feel assaulted, going outside. Ads litter our streets. It’s also important to note that Microsoft owns Magno. Yes. And Microsoft have funneled obscene amounts of money into the development of the bioputer technology, which may be interpreted as suicidal, given that this technology may very well compete with Microsoft’s ordinary products in the future. Maybe Microsoft think they are ready to transition, maybe they see real prospects in this new industry, but one would think their entire infrastructure is all wrong for this kind of shit. Wouldn’t they make way more money by continuing with their traditional products.
One theory behind the aggressive campaign and money-funneling is that they—Magno, and Microsoft, and whatever unseen giants pull the strings in the background—believe they’re on the verge of discovering something truly world-changing, and they therefore need to establish a market for the technology, to fund secretive research.
What this world-changing thing is, I don’t know. There’s some batshit crazy conspiracy theories out there, theories that border on the supernatural, theories I refuse to go into.
Instead, let’s talk about the so called “gash in the neck.” In swedish: “Jacket i nacken.” It rhymes. This is what’s going on underground: people doing experiments in their basements, trying to connect their bioputers, or whatever haphazard system they’ve managed to grow on their own, directly to their brain through the brain stem. As you might expect, these attempts have all ended quite tragically. At the moment, here in Sweden, an epidemic of bold and vivid news articles make people puke all over their newspapers upon seeing pictures of those basements—dead biomass hanging from the roof, rotting nutrient solutions all over the floor, dying rodents crawling around, and in the center of the scene: a human being lying face down, with what looks like an umbilical cord coming out of their neck.
(Makes you wonder why the newspapers keep printing them.)
This is the dark side. And if this is happening in regular people’s basements, you know it’s happening in the grand basements of Magnoliophyta, too.
Let’s assume this is what the ad campaign is trying to create funding for. It probably isn’t, but let’s speculate. Now, imagine what this means. VR has been a thing for a long time, but what will happen when people are conditioned to want what’s even more real? Because, who wants a screen right in their face, right? Who wants headphones over their ears? Don’t we all want to see, for real, with the mind’s eye, and hear right there in our heads, and maybe even physically feel, whatever virtual reality we choose to visit?
Now imagine the future, where every Magno store offers the quick procedure necessary to use this technology, right there in the story, free of charge when purchasing for more than 1000 kr. Let’s just step aside to this bright room, for a quick “jack i din nacke”. It will not hurt at all.
Now that’s some freaky shit.
Also: imagine commercials, soft corporate voices, right there in your head. Imagine not being able to close your eyes to the big-M logo, or cover your ears to shut out that soft corporate voice, saying, “Thank you for choosing Magno.”