Archive | singularity

The Cybernetic Thought Projection Hat

from the 2037 Hammacher Schlemmer Glaven catalog

The Cybernetic Thought Projection HatThis hat recalls the iconic headgear worn by the Cognition Brigade during the Second Robotic War. First developed for long distance thought projection, hats of this design were worn by countless Though Soldiers during the war, as it was preferred for its ability to combat the medulla-inhibiting freeze rays of the Robotic Army of Dread.

True to the originals, its buttery-soft, plasskin dendrite injectors are durable yet supple, and its genuine high-impact titanium exterior and classic sound-sealing ear covers provide comfort and the ability to mute the screams of the Thought Soldiers dying around you, or more likely, inane chatter in the office.

This hat will allow you to send your thoughts up to one parsec away, assuming the person you’re sending your thoughts to is also wearing a similar hat. It automatically shuts off when removed from the head, or when the head is removed from the neck. Sizes S, M, L and XL.

Give some thought to buying a bit of satirical fiction …

Alltop likes earflaps.

The Laser Equipped Autonomous Robotic Vacuum

(from the 2037 Hammacher Schlemmer Glaven catalog)

The Laser Equipped Autonomous Robotic Vacuum<This is the robotic vacuum that navigates autonomously through your home up to seven times per week, where it can either clean your floors or patrol for intruders. The unit’s specially designed dual, counter-rotating agitator brushes spread carpet fibers and enable the vacuum to remove hair and other detritus from low- and high-pile carpets, while its dual Class VII lasers are capable of vaporizing any intruders (or more likely, unwanted refuse left on the floor).

Sensors redirect the unit when it encounters furniture, walls, or stairs, and its anti-tangle technology reverses the rotation of the brushes when it encounters rug fringe. Sensors will also allow your pets to survive The Laser Equipped Autonomous Robotic Vacuum. It cleans up to four rooms, and incinerates up to three large intruders per charge, and automatically returns to its drive-on charger when its battery runs low. (2′ 1/2″ H x 13″ Diam. 11 3/4 lbs.)

Vaporize your ennui with some satirical fiction …

Alltop pretends to be autonomous too.

The Thomas Kincaid Pop-Up Christmas Tree and Consumer Happiness Dispenser

(from the 2037 Hammacher Schlemmer Glaven catalog)

The Thomas Kincaid Pop-Up Christmas Tree and Consumer Happiness DispenserThis is a six-foot Christmas tree that pops up instantly and is pre-decorated with original artwork by renowned holiday artist Thomas Kinkaid, all of which can dispense Viritron’s patented Santa Virus.

The tree rises from a flat position in concentric circles to its full thirty-inch width and seventy-six-inch height, and simply hangs on the included stand, in which is embedded a Viritron Aerosol Dispensing Unit, capable of infecting anyone within a two-hundred foot radius of the tree with a virus that will guarantee you have a good Christmas.

Three hundred glistening clear lights are nestled among the branches and cast a warm glow on the seventy richly-painted globe ornaments, that will be sure to distract your customers from the brief intense psychic pain they will feel upon contact with the Santa Virus, as it coerces them to buy more gifts than they can afford. The tree has two additional gold and burgundy ribbons, 15 velvet-like poinsettias, and a golden bow, which has a rebreather and a two-minute oxygen supply embedded in it, if you are inadvertently caught in your store while the tree is circulating the Santa Virus. The tree collapses for easy storage for the off-season. (15lbs. Santa Virus sold separately.)

Make the season more merry with some satirical fiction …

 

Alltop is always a happy consumer. This story appears in my collection, Pirate Therapy and Other Cures.

Municipal Investment Strategies for the Technological Singularity

The Technological Singularity

An Open Letter to Town Council

Dear Councillors:

Your town may have an emergency plan, a development plan, a health plan — it may even have a plan for how to fix the potholes (though I doubt it).

But does it have a plan for how to respond to the technological singularity? Is it preparing for all the new economic opportunities? I suspect not.

Now, some have complained that that technological singularity is the “rapture for nerds”, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. It is the municipal investment opportunity of the ages! Forward-thinking municipal governments can start preparing now, and be ready to reap the rewards of the point in human history when human intelligence is not only exceeded by machine intelligence, but when human intelligence is merged with (or eradicated by) machine intelligence.

You’re thinking: “well, sure I’d love to help get ready for this, but realistically, how do we plan? We don’t even know if regular flesh-and-blood humans will be around to experience the singularity.”

Of course we will!

Ray Kurzweil believes that we’ll be able to model the human brain by 2029, and create algorithms based on those models to allow computers to gain human-like intelligence. But is anyone working on a way for computers to go to bars and get drunk and hook up with other drunken computers so that they can “make a mistake” and then squirt out new computers? I doubt it.

So there you go: invest in light manufacturing. There will definitely be a need for humans to help create our new overlords.

But there’s so many other possibilities! What if the technological singularity is based more on nanotechnology than it is on the gross, large-scale electronics of our current era? Here too, prescient town councils can make good investments for the future. It will certainly be easier for the new machine overlords to replicate themselves in mass quantities if our human immune systems do not fight them at every stage. This leads to so many possible avenues of fruitful research: immune-suppressing drugs, radiation, surgery, bio-engineering, even psychology might (finally) prove itself useful by producing a technique by which humans could allow supra-intelligent nanomachines to use their bodies to reproduce.

We’re only scratching the surface here, obviously.

Many municipalities invest much of their resources in policing and this is an area where they will find huge savings, but only if there is a good interface between humans and our new machine overlords. Apart from the aforementioned research opportunities, municipal governments should begin looking at some kind of cybertronic peace officer corps now, to acclimatize citizens early — after all, an easily controlled citizenry is a productive citizenry! This could be as simple as implanting some kind of control chip in police headgear (hats, caps, flak helmets) to something more radical, such as embedding a semi-live police officers in a mechanical exoskeleton armed with rapid-fire pistols and a loudspeaker-augmented voice.

Municipal leaders should prepare for the darker predictions of how a technological singularity plays out. What if the new machine overlords simply wish to rid themselves of the human population?

There is a simple solution for this problem, and it is summed up in two words: rotating knives.

We’re pretty sure that would never happen, but even if it does, what if you’re the first town to think of it, and sell the process?

Think of the revenue. You could cut taxes. Contact us for more details.

Yours Truly,

Genghis Toon,
President,
Oberdyne Industries, “The Helping Corporation”

Alltop has an investment strategy for funny. Originally appeared on Grasping for the Wind, Aug. 9, 2010. Photo by Planetart via Flickr.

This short piece is included in my collection, Pirate Therapy and Other Cures. You should really get a copy before those knives start a-whiring.