2120 Hindsight: Aneurmal Implants
Over a couple of beers last night, my friends and I decided that animal neural implants were the best invention of the 21st century. Especially for cats. We’ve all seen videos of what cats used to be like. Funny beasts, but a true pain in the butt.
I guess some people were dead-set against implants in the early years, but from what I know about it, their reasons were basically superstition. It’s pretty obvious, by now, that a cat can be both cute and useful. Plus, you know, they deserve some subjugation, as payback for all those centuries of manipulating humans. Once neuroscience reached the point of mapping and interpreting animal cognitive functions, there was no longer much doubt about cats’ mildly deranged scheming.
When aneurmal implants first appeared, they seemed artificial – but then, so was assisted childbirth, a couple thousand years ago. The opposition to them seems to have been another example of accepted behavior during the Hypocrisy Epoch: we like artificialities, except when we don’t – and then we complain about them bitterly. Fortunately, when the real possibilities of the technology emerged, it turned out that nobody really enjoyed bee stings or snakebites. You program in some permanent human-avoidance, and presto! no more mountain lions jumping on hikers. No more cockroaches indoors. Just another technology that seemed bizarre until it became normal, and then not having it seemed bizarre.
Ironically enough, we can thank early terrorists for the propagation of aneurmal implants in the wild. These implants were originally supposed to be for use on nonreproducing test insects, which were utilized for purposes of research and warfare – tracking microscale wind currents, for instance, and videoing enemy combatants. But the advent of genetic cellware meant that these sorts of capabilities could become permanent, inherited parts of insects’ neural wiring. After that, they were “implants” only in the sense that they had originally been introduced artificially – and that, when properly designed, they could be shut off or turned down remotely, without impairing natural neural function.
Actually, in the early years, some of them couldn’t really be shut down, after a few days or weeks of usage, because insects’ brains, eyes, or other assets became atrophied through overdependence on them. By now, with few exceptions, improved programming has taken care of that, and fortunately nobody misses most of the original insect assets that did become extinct before aneurmal programming reached its present level of sophistication.
But as I was saying, terrorists got hold of the technology, just as they got hold of most technologies sooner or later, and started playing around with it. The notorious Dogs of Cuba incident, during that island’s Liberty (Mutual) Celebration in 2021, made clear that Approved Nations scientists could no longer assume that terrorists lacked access to aneurmal technology. The only way to stay ahead of terrorists, from that point forward, was to out-program them. So aneurmal programming went Open Source; and for some years thereafter, it developed rapidly according to the Open Source community’s established anarchic procedures.
There was a price for this progress. For one thing, countless animals and insects endured untold moments (and sometimes years) of physical and mental agony. Particularly awful examples include the stories of civil wars among incompatibly programmed animal proxies. Eventually, though, cellware technology reached a point where scientists could propagate high-quality implant upgrades and countercellware (antivirus, antibacteria, etc.) updates throughout the wild kingdom wirelessly on a 24/7 basis. The goal of such efforts was usually to insure that wild creatures would just be left alone, safe from terrorist manipulation, except when law enforcement or other authorized personnel needed all creatures fitting a certain description to be on the lookout for a specified type of person or behavior.
It is funny to recall the story in which PETA Unwired programmed the world’s skunks to approach humans on April 1, 2023. But I’m sure it was distressing for many people at the time. These and other activist measures (along with the sorts of atrocities cited above) did enhance public awareness and support for restrictions on cellware use. Governments began to require ethical and technical training and licensing (and sometime court orders) for the use of cellware on living creatures who were not affiliated with the user’s home or his/her ordinary duties. Public attitudes toward aneurmal programming in general became significantly less permissive.
Like many other aspects of those chaotic decades, such semi-random measures and countermeasures generated, inevitably, an enormous amount of unanticipated confusion, pain, and destruction. Certainly much has changed since the commencement of the Great Calm. But we still do have, from those years, at least the freedom to program our cats.
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