“Hello Isaac” said the stranger who was now casting a shadow over him.
“Hello…” said Isaac as he looked up from the park bench where he was sitting. He squinted, trying to recognize the oddly familiar face of the person in front of him.
“My name is Frederick, I am a contractual avatar sent to help you through the process of joining the Biomark computational trust.”
He extended his hand to Isaac. Isaac reservedly extended his hand in return. Of course, there was no hand really there to shake, but the act of connecting with the avatar triggered a familiar flash of informational exchange. Isaac watched a complex holographic rendering of the Biomark logo appear and then fade slowly from his vision.
“He seems to be legit” whispered Kari with what sounded a little bit like awe after she ran the holographic cryptographical key the avatar had transferred.
“Do you mind if I sit down?” asked the avatar
“You seem familiar” said Isaac, gesturing for Frederick to sit down next to him.
“My face has been customized to maximize your comfort and confidence, I can change it if you wish”
“As creepy as it is, I think it would make me more uncomfortable if you were to change it” replied Isaac.
“Very well,” said the avatar plainly “I am here to deliver our offer for citizenship in our computational trust. Biomark is very interested in bringing you into our fold. As the front facing avatar to your contract for citizenship, I am equipped to discuss with you all of the aspects of your offer. If you are to accept our offer I will also become your primary point of contact with Biomark.”
The avatar opened his briefcase and took out a single sheet of paper, which he handed to Isaac. The paper had a single sentence written on it.
Do you accept the terms of the attached contract to become a citizen of the Biomark Computational Trust? A slowly flashing cursor followed the question mark on the page.
Isaac turned the page over, looking for the rest of the contract.
“And where is this attached contract?”
“I am the contract Mr. Enwick”
“So I am just going to need to trust you then?”
“You have already have seen my credentials, so you know that I am an authentic representative of Biomark, beyond that I serve only at the pleasure of the contract. My actions are entirely determined by the contract, and I lack any ability to circumvent or exceed those mandates of said contract.”
“The contract is an exceptionally complex program, even with the help of your digital assistant it would take years to scratch the surface. You might imagine the contract to look something like this”
Suddenly, Isaac and the avatar were surrounded by filing cabinets and tall stacks of bound paper.
“How am I supposed to understand all of this in order to make an informed decision then?”
“Now you understand why I am here then. Please come with me and I will show you what you need to see”
Isaac and the avatar began walking through the park, which was sort of taking on the look of a busy office. People were rushing around carrying stacks of paper from one place to another. Under a tree, a group of people were gathered around a desk having what seemed to be a heated discussion. On the other side of the park, another group of people was dressed in suspenders and pin striped shirts were waving pieces of paper in the air and trying to shout over eachother.
“Who are all of these people?”
“These projections are meant to represent the agents and elements which make up the structure of your contract. You see, your contract is not a single program but an evolving group of intelligent programs, all governed by the central contract of your citizenship agreement.”
“Over there is the research section,” said Frederick as he pointed at a group of people wearing lab coats and holding clipboards, “this element of your contract collects, analyzes and reports on information gathered from various sources. The computational resources leveraged by your contract will give you the capacity to refocus information gathering and analysis based on your individual interests and needs.”
“And over here is the business side of your contract. These programs will use information provided by the research section to best find new investment opportunities for your financial and computational resources.
Isaac’s mouth was agape at the scene surrounding him.
“Over there is your legal department, and there is your psychology and public relations sections.”
The avatar pointed at rows and rows of desks with bodies hunched over and working at what seemed to be a furious pace.
“Here is one of the most important elements of your contract, contractual diplomacy. These agents take up a significant proportion of the computational resources allotted to your citizenship. They handle the interaction with other contractual entities, both inside and outside of the Biomark corporation.”
“Generally relations with other contracts are productive, but an increasing amount of resources are being needed to bolster contractual defences.”
Isaac was looking at a group of men dressed in military uniforms. Unlike the other projections which had more or less ignored their presence, the defence agents looked back at Isaac and the avatar with focus, and a glint of intelligence in their eyes. Isaac stared back for a moment before moving along.
“All of these elements are in turn governed by the central contract, one relatively simple document which sets the fundamental boundaries within which your contract must operate.”
Isaac found himself standing over a pedestal on which sat a plain looking book about the size of a ledger. Isaac Enwick was written on the cover of the book in gold letters.
Isaac opened the book tentatively, and read the first line.
We the agents and elements of this contract, in order to form a more perfect citizen, establish Justice, insure Tranquility, provide for defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, do ordain and establish this constitution of Isaac Enwick.
“By becoming a citizen of Biomark, we seek to offer you freedom. This is what it takes to be free today.”
The avatar paused to let that thought sink into Isaac.
“There are forces in the world today that would seek to control every aspect of your life. They are in the news you watch, the books you read, whatever entertainment you enjoy, and everything that you buy. Naturally we cannot offer the immense computational resources of a Biomark citizen to an unprotected mind. You would be immediately targeted by other entities, and whatever resources you have access to would be forfeit.”
“By becoming a citizen of Biomark, everything that you see, hear and feel will be filtered through your contract. This contract, along with the agents and elements that make up this contract will become the exoskeleton through which you interact with a world much larger than you can yet imagine.“
“And in exchange for all of this?” asked Isaac, still completely unable to grasp the immensity of what he was looking at.
“We offer you freedom, and in exchange we demand that you are free. The Biomark computational trust relies on conflict between our citizens to maintain our progress. The corporate ethos of Biomark is balance through imbalance. We need you to think for yourself, that is all.”
“What does it even mean to think for myself in a world where every input would be filtered through this thing?” asked Isaac.
“That is going to be up to you to figure that out. Your contract can be as transparent as your digital contact lenses, or as convoluted as an entire government. It will be up to you to decide.” said Frederick as the entire scene around them disappeared and they were again standing on a grassy hilltop in a quiet park.
In his hand, Isaac held the piece of paper with the single question on it.
Do you accept the terms of the attached contract to become a citizen of the Biomark Computational Trust?
Y-E-S he thought and, as the letters appeared on the page.