Saturday, July 7, 2012

No Dreams in Digital

People speak in romantic tones about dreaming. Losing the ability to have dreams while sleeping is one of the trade offs of brain augmentation. The best time to back up the day’s data is at night when you’re asleep. Your subconscious is suppressed so synchronization can occur efficiently. So you could dream or learn something once and keep it forever.
Nowadays, if you want to dream after you’ve had the surgery, you have to go off-line when you sleep and that’s illegal. Besides being fined, you could lose some of the data you collected during the day. Depending on the job you have, that could a disciplinary offense.
I’m still paying off my cyberization loans, so I’m glad I got a descent I.T. gig. My parents got me augmented after high school, so of course college easier. Teach me once and I got it. I remember the ‘stock’ (un-augmented) students struggling in class, looking at me with envy. Some families abstain from augmenting their children for religious reasons.
The Anti-Facebookists or Christians look at me like Frankenstein. I’m not even a cyborg yet. The surgery just installed a stimulator for the brain to enhance its performance and recall. Other implant provides constant connection to EchoNet for data back up. If I get sick or damaged, my memories can be retrieved.
The stock kids used to tease me about the dreams they had the night before. They said I had to “turn myself off” a night. I would’ve resented it more, but I had so many benefits they didn’t. No exit exams, all A’s and guaranteed employment after graduation. I see why my parents got into so much debt to get me super-sized, so fuck the normals.
Five years after graduation, I was picked up by a data storage and recovery company. After some intense training, I was given a bank of whispers to support. Apparently I’m doing a pretty good job.
My apartment was near a budding arts district, which is to say close to the ‘hood. A place where artists and young entrepreneurs were rehabbing buildings once boarded up. When I wasn’t on-call, I’d hang out, read and slip overpriced coffee.
There was a buzzing in the base of my skull in these places, which meant folks has ad-hoc networks near by. One of the side effects of being connected to EchoNet all the time is sensitivity to data moving around at different frequencies. I can’t “see the data”, but I can feel it’s motion.
For fifty years it’s been illegal to be disconnected from EchoNet. Once you turn 18, you either have an selective service beacon, a EchoNet capable smartphone or have your brain augmented like me. Hanging around these underground nets might be a problem, but the Homeland Security doesn’t come down here much. Don’t see working CCTV cameras around here either, so I’ll risk it. There’s also rumors that folks go offline on a regular basis down here. I ask the brewista why folks risk a DHS visit for going dark illegally? 
“So we can dream.” One of the cafĂ© regulars told me. He’s wearing shades sipping tea. “We can be free here. In that back room there is shielding from radio waves, so no EchoNet. Theres a few cots too. You can catch one or two dreams in the space of an hour. You should try it.”
He turned went into the dark room, still with shades on. I could see through doorway what looked like an opium den, but instead of smoking they were sleeping. I see now, all of these people had been augmented, but went offline to nap. Hmm, if you go dark (offline) for less than an hour, it gets reported as possible system failure. As long as you don’t do it every day, no flags get raised. These guys are having their cake and eating it too.
I turn my head as not to record (remember) any faces. It’s a pretty good life I have, but what’s this business of dreaming? I was taught it was a relic of the past like eating raw meat. But these people would risk jail time and possible data lost for something arbitrary as dreams...

Photo Caption: My New Balance 475's taken with my iPhone 4S w/Hipstamatic app (Loftus lens, Blanko Noir film)

copyright 2012 Johnathan Clifton Harding