The Future is Non-Existent – Post 006.

At the moment, I study natural sciences: fundamental physics and chemistry and maths and biology; stuff like formulas for gravitation, how hydrogen and oxygen gas can create water, the PQ-formula enabling you to solve second grade equations, and how photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen gas, etc. And, apparently, large scale artificial photosynthesis is on the way. Soon, we’ll be completely independent of all green bug-attracting plant-life. What an age we live in.

Anyway, this is what my ever-smiling father and my never-smiling mother want me to do. And what do I want? Shut up with your stupid questions.

Some people believe schooling is still free here in Sweden. If only. At the moment, I work as a janitor in the local library to pay for school. The other day, I found a homeless man sleeping on the library’s toilet’s floor, strangely peaceful, slowly breathing, his coat as a blanket and a backpack as a pillow. I didn’t want to wake him up, but I had to, because it was closing time. I told him I wouldn’t mention it to management, and he could come there to sleep whenever he wished, and I’d look the other way. However, right now it was closing time, and if he didn’t go, he’d have to stay in there the entire night to not set the alarm off. He thanked me, and shook my hand, and left.

Marie, my mother, often points at the homeless people sleeping under billboards, and she says, “Those specimens are better commercials for establishing your independence than anything else. They show us the importance of standing on our own hind legs.” She always looks at me as she says so.

My parents don’t pay for my schooling. Not because they don’t support it, but because they want me to stand on my own hind legs. You’d think that’s partly liberating: not having them hover above me, funneling me into the most respected schools, making sure I get good grades, and so on, but you’re wrong. They hover in another way: by praising independence, the individual, self-governance, the self. My mother has an oil painting of herself in the living room, huge, something you’d expect to find in the mansion of the villain in the latest superhero movie. Dad’s less hardcore about it, but he always picks Maries side. If he didn’t, I’d probably find him in the food waste disposal.

One evening a couple of years ago, my parents had some kind of fight, about me. I escaped the house and sat down on the porch outside, facing the Igloo. After a while, dad sat down beside me. The moon hung low, surrounded by horror-movie mistm, illuminated in a fuzzy circle.

“We want what’s best for you, Max”, Simba said.

I sat silent. He kept going.

“You see, the world is rough. It’s ruled by no one, by everyone. The market is everything, and if we don’t follow its rules, we die, okay? We just think it’s important for you to listen to the market. It will guide you to your future, understand?”

I didn’t look over my shoulder, but I knew Marie stood in the window, her hands on her hips, staring hard at my dad’s neck. Marie always wins their fights. Every single time.

Occasionally, when Marie’s had a glass of wine, she gets friendly all of a sudden, and sits down beside me. She says, “You know we love you, right? We do. We’ve given you this home, food on the table, everything you need. All we want is for you to succeed, you know. But dad, he’s afraid you’ll fail. He thinks your writing and video editing and all your whimsical interests are destructive. He’s afraid what happened to him might happen to you. And that would make him so, so sad. You don’t want that, do you?”

It’s not uncommon for her to threaten me with my father’s sadness.

I hate this.

All of it.

My mother is the manipulative mastermind of the family. Guilt, self-doubt, expectations of their definition of autonomy and success, they inflict this on me. Whenever I make a decision I always wonder, am I keeping my parents’ opinions in the back of my mind? I often feel like a remote controlled car.

And what I hate the most about it, is that sometimes, I’m glad they do it. I’m glad they manipulate me, that they try to make sure I go where I’m supposed to go. I hate that I feel this way. But, I’m young, and confused, and have no fucking idea where to go. Anywhere I look just looks like a dead end.

Everything that entrances me, be it music or writing or reading or some other “whimsical” interest, it’s never anything there’s a future in. The future lies in software engineering, industrial engineering, in bioengineering, anything with engineering in the name. The closest I’ve got to this, is playing around with coding, but only because it’s easy to use infinite loops to create evolving, chaotic patterns of symbols.

And, well, not only are my interests a bit esoteric and generally stupid,  but I don’t even know myself what I’d like to do, if I got to choose. Would a write, or make art-code, or what? I have no idea. I wish I could get obsessed with something, because at least then I’d know what I wanted to do, but obsession is nowhere to be found.

I have no idea what I’m doing. Part of me want to go rampage and run away from home, and maybe burn the house down while I’m at it, and another part of me want to listen to my parents, do what they says, and soil my hands by working with the bioputer technology, the Oh so great evidence of the power of the free market.

God.

Sorry for writing all this.

Another thing: tomorrow The Man with the Pig’s Heart will be here, with his twins, and Kris, one of the twins, is to sleep in my room, and have no fucking idea what I will do about it.

Advertisements

A Short Essay on Bioputers

(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.”