Scenes from a Changing World 1

author note: I think it’s become abundantly clear that I can’t continue to do this regularly. I really want to continue but it seems was though every week there extenuating circumstances. Expect very infrequent updates. I have a few short vignettes queued up, though, to remind folks that this is still on the burner. 


Carl stood in front of the row of whiteboards that had been commandeered for the secure conference room full of some of the brightest minds in computer security (who, she noticed to her disappointment, were almost exclusively men). She had decided to wear a labcoat today– not out of any actual need, but because it got her in the right mindset for the task before them. Plus, she preferred the idea of lab-coated individuals discussing the topic at hand over suit-wearing individuals any day. 

Once the bureaucrats who had arranged the meeting finally agreed to leave, with the security team that would be stationed outside, she spoke. 

“Thank you all for coming here, I know you’re all very valuable, and your time is busy.”

This got a few chuckles. She smiled. 

“I believe the invitation said that a new technology that has the potential to disrupt society on a global scale has been invented, and we’re creating a panel of experts to ensure that it’s safe for widespread use, yes?”

She got a few nods, and the feeling of intense curiosity from the audience sharpened to a razor’s edge. 

“Given the news out of Japan, I suppose some of you can guess what this technology is, but for those who don’t follow the news, here it is.” She steeled herself to say the words that she’d been waiting to say all her life. “We’ve created immortality.”

She paused and let it sink in, but before anyone could respond, she continued,

“This technology is not secret. It will leak. We need to get ahead of it and make sure what happened in japan never happens again.”

A few cheers went up, but the rest sat in sober silence. 

“Ground rules for the discussion: I am moderating the discussion. In the interest of fairness, I will allow anyone to speak, so if I tell you to let someone else talk, do. Second, no social implications. I repeat, no social implications. That is for the other committee. All I can say is that no country wants to be the last to give their citizens immortality. And finally: everyone who dies while we’re discussing this is on our hands, but so is everyone who dies because we make a mistake. I need your best efforts here today.”

She proceeded to give an overview of how the technology worked, along with the requisite quantum leaps in storage density and brain-computer interfacing. 

“And remember, this is a preliminary discussion, so we don’t need specifics right out of the gate. We have tinkers on call to make the design changes and provide insight into possibilities we may have overlooked.”

She paused, not sure how to signal that she was done, then settled on, “Begin.”

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2 Responses to Scenes from a Changing World 1

  1. Club says:

    shame. You’ve said you don’t like what you see as a weak start, but this can stand with some of the better efforts on the web, and towers above some of the dross that gets made into dead tree format.

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