This is part 2 of a series that so far is only called “Isaac’s Escape“. Isaac lives in the world of the early-2030’s. Computation is on a steep rise now, the world is transcending into a digitzed world of super-intelligences, but transcendence is not entirely equal. The majority of people are too enthralled by the magic of the age to look forward, few realize that they are stuck in an endless loop of consumerism designed to power an ever-hungry economy, even fewer realize that only the rich have access to the real magic. Go here to read part 1.
“What the fuck Isaac. Do you have many things we have to get in order?”
Isaac rolled his eyes, how ironic it was that his digital assistant had enough intelligence for sass, but not enough to spend his allotments for him?
Isaac was picking his way through a bustling street, everyone with something to do and somewhere to go. Mostly people were wearing the same fashionable clothes and running a fashionable amount of biofeedback to keep them fashionably smiling. Usually Isaac would be just as immersed in his own fashions, rushing off to another store or another appointment. But today was different, Isaac was trudging along with his furrowed brow and day old clothes. Today he was out of his element.
What to do next?
“You see? This is why I muted your feed, I knew you were going to be like this. We just won the fucking lottery Kari, how’s about a little cheer?” Isaac subvocalized.
Kari piped a cheesy midi tune through Isaac’s auditory nerve, “Hooray, hooray for Isaac” chanted Kari, her words dripping with sarcasm before she abruptly halted the tune “Are we happy now?”
“Ok, I get it” Isaac replied.
On one level Isaac found Kari’s constant sarcasm eternally agravating, but deeper down he must appreciate her counterpoint otherwise the self-correcting algorithms underpinning her personality would have muted her sarcasm somewhat. Kari’s personality mostly boiled down to a reflection of elements of his own personality. The assistant that knows you better than you know yourself, or so the company that sold Kari claimed.
While Kari might not be what some would consider strong artificial intelligence, she was certainly indispensible to Isaac. With her computational expansion capabilities, she was able to access digital resources to accomplish whatever kinds of computational tasks he might assign to her. Kari could offer advice, negotiate a contract for him, or digest his email and explain it to him.
“What exactly do we need to deal with?” asked Isaac narrowly missing a collision with a man dressed in furry one piece suit.
“Well first of all, we need to authorize dispersion of your funds into various entities for safekeeping. There is a hard time limit on the intelligence provided by the transfer insurance company. In the next few hours the funds will become dead information, and will will begin to diminish, they could also be open to attack.
“Attack?” exclaimed Isaac incredulously.
“You have a significant amount of wealth now Isaac, you could easily become the target of a malicious entity” Kari said dryly, “you need to think about purchasing a citizenship in one or more computational trusts. I have already solicited several offers from interested firms, and here they are.”
Isaac finds himself staring at a numbers and symbols scrolling along at the bottom of his vision and trying his best to remember what the hell a computational trust was.
“Remind me why I want to put my money into a computational trust” said Isaac, stepping thoughtlessly out into traffic.
It was a good thing that he was distracted by his conversation, he usually couldn’t help a slightly nauseous feeling whenever he stepped out into the busy traffic of automated cars. In his mind, he knew that it was perfectly safe to just go ahead and cross the street, but he had never been able to shake the programming of his youth. The speed and routes of automated vehicles would be subtly altered in an elegant computational dance to create a safe bubble around him as he crossed. Still he just couldn’t help always looking both ways – another useless artifact from a disorganized age.
“Computational trusts are technically corporations. They exist at the bleeding edge of accelerating technological change, developing advanced technologies and gathering energy and resources to maximize their digital capacity. They allow individuals to invest wealth in exchange for both access to computational resources and equity in the corporation. By buying a citizenship in a computational trusts you are assuring that your wealth is invested in the safest asset there is, computation.”
“So its like buying some stocks” said Isaac, referencing an archaic game that some history buffs still liked to play.
“In a way yes, but a computational citizenship is much, much more. It will give you access to computational resources that we have never been able to use before. It will certainly make me more capable.”
“Now I see why you want me to buy into it” scoffed Isaac.
“It doesn’t really matter anyways, there simply is no other option. Wealth of this magnitude needs to keep moving, the CT’s are the only entities capable of protecting and growing this kind of wealth today. If you do not buy in you will simply end up back in the same place you were yesterday. The data is conclusive, computational trusts are the only means to effectively invest in technological advancement today.”
The crowds had thinned out around Isaac as he entered a park which was mostly empty of people. The trees looked so calm as they swayed gently in the breeze. There were a few people relaxing in the grass, likely enveloped in some sort of virtual worlds. Isaac wanted so badly to just relax too.
“Ok, so what are our options then?” asked Isaac.
“I have put word out that we are looking for computational citizenship and after looking over your digital history we have received offers from 4 companies. There is Google, Applesoft, Wave and BioMark.”
“I don’t really want to sort through this right now. Can you just tell me which one I should choose Kari.”
“Basically, I would suggest that you go with BioMark. They have offered you a special rate as they feel that your story might be of some marketing value. And anyways, you can always sell your citizenship back.”
“I get the feeling there might be no going back on this Kari” said Isaac, breathing in deeply.
“You might be right,” replied Kari. “perhaps I should purchase some computational time on a public server to crunch the numbers on this a little longer”
“Yes, maybe we shouldn’t rush into things, let’s do that.”
And with that, Kari was gone, the majority of her off running simulations somewhere to try to determine what he should do. Isaac stared blankly out at the calm scene in front of him. Green grass covered hills, sloping gently against the backdrop of a bustling metropolis. He could feel his heart beating hard in his chest. He really had no clue what the implications of his decisions today would be, but he knew that the rest of his life would change because of them.
Isaac closed his eyes and tried to clear his mind.
“Ok, I’m back” Kari’s voice popping any calm he had managed to gather.
“That was way too quick”
“You would be surprised how quickly you can run simulations when you have access to the latest quantum enabled 3D-processor clusters, and anyways it was a waste of time.”
“Well, essentially I can’t access the resources necessary to predict what will become of us when we get access to the immense resources that are available to a citizen. It is a sort of personal singularity. We will be changed, that part is sure, but I cannot predict what is going to happen”
“So we still have no idea what to do, but we either join one of these trusts or in a few weeks we will end up back where we were yesterday?”
“Ok, let’s do it”