Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Visions of the Future?

Lazar stands on the edge of the cliff looking over the metropolis watching the distant computer-organised vehicles weaving impossibly around each other from a thousand possible directions, each conveying a single occupant a hundred miles in a matter of a few minutes.

He looks up at the star shining redly over the landscape. Soon, in the next hundred thousand years, the metropolis will be uprooted to the next solar system. Lazar himself has had to endure that five or six times now. Each time, he has been responsible for ensuring that the servile classes in his area obey the directives that involve the regulations for packing away. The serviles just don't have the intellect required to follow the complicated sequences of digits formed by high modulus values of polylogarithms encoding population distribution data. Lazar can manipulate these in sequences in his 30 second sleep period. This reminds him that next week he is having genetic modification in order to reduce his necessary sleep to 15 seconds.

As Lazar looks into the distance, his eyes firmly focussed on a winged creature preening itself with one of its three appendages a kilometre away. he tries to find one good reason why he shouldn't take that one more step forward off into oblivion. His genetically perfected eyesight scans the figures in the citadels of the metropolis, each one moving aimlessly at their work - making sure that the computers self-regulation systems are still self regulating. What else is there for them to do?

They've dreamed their dreams. They fly among the stars visiting new planets, but when you've see 5,000,000 new planets, you've seen them all. Alien species have they met, but since most of them don't really resemble the life that human beings can really converse with (like the gas vortices living in the surface of the star above them) there is not much more mystery left in meeting them. Indeed alien life doesn't seem to recognise human beings as being living things.

Lazar realises that it has been 50,000 years since he last looked into a mirror. His enhanced memory remembers it well. However, since Lazar hasn't changed in 50,000 years, he hasn't needed to check his appearance. Nothing changes about him. his life goes on. His pleasures have been fulfilled a thousand thousand times over. He has had sex a myriad times with a myriad people of several genetically enhanced genders, and has fulfilled his quota of 3 children per planet that he has visited. He remembers his 5,000,000th educational stage that he reached last month with top marks. What pleasure does education have for him now? He remembers every word that he has ever read in his life, plus there is all the information that he has downloaded directly into his brain via the computer interface.

What else is there for Lazar to accomplish? So he shrugs and takes the final step off of the cliff into the lava flow below. Bessed oblivion?

The central computer of the metropolis recognises that Lazar has ceased to function. It then sends a signal to the biological reproduction centre which authorises a clone to be generated from Lazar's DNA. The clone is prepared in seconds. The computer interface is inserted into its neck and all of Lazar's memories are downloaded into it.

On the table, for the 4,000th time, Lazar awakes. Looking up at the ceiling above him he reads the words: "Science: mastery of the universe."

No comments: