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The Tinkered Mind

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May 21st, 2023

As technological escape velocity neared, and the precipice of self-improving machines grew imminent, there was an enormous anxiety around what would happen to humanity in this new phase of development. Many were calling for a moratorium on technological development out of fear that the results might be existential. Better to pause than to rush into something dangerous, was the logic touted by the anxious criers.


Lucilius could understand both sides of the debate. Rushing into something potentially existential without much caution did seem foolish, but withholding the benefits that might come from future technology right around the corner also seemed terrible - the technology held the promise to cure disease, alleviate poverty, drudgery and give near infinite expanse to human imagination and creativity. The paradox bothered Lucilius, and it kept him from his work as a game developer. He simply couldn’t concentrate. 


A notification chimed. He looked to see a package had been delivered. He got up, went to the front door and picked up the box. It was from a close friend he hadn’t spoken to in many months, a doctor working on nerualsync technology.


Lucilius walked back to his desk with the parcel and called up the friend.


“Hey, I got your package, what is this?”


“Prototype, I want you to play around with it.”


“Do I have to drill a hole in my head to use this thing?”


A short laugh filled the phone. “No, not for this one. It’s a little slower because of it, but it should still be usable. See if you can hook it up to one of your simulations and play a game.”


Lucilius was intrigued.


“Integration should be pretty easy, but hardwire it for a faster connection.”


“Okie dokie,” Lucilius said.


It was eerie to play the game with his mind. It was definitely fun, despite being so strange, and there was definitely commercial potential, and Lucilius figured they’d partner with the neuralsync company - joint revenue would supercharge the research and development. It all seemed like a no-brainer, very straight forward: fully immersive video gaming experience. Who wouldn’t want to give it a try?


But as Lucilius was falling asleep that evening, an idea wove into his thoughts. He sat up in bed, then went back to his desk and checked the game times that he had trialed and the length of games. They weren’t the same. He had played the game for several hours but only one hour had passed by.


For development purposes only, Lucilius had all actions and reactions sped up by threefold in his simulated worlds for games. This simply allowed him to iterate his game quicker and get his work done faster. But when he’d played the game with the neuralsync, it had seemed to exist at a normal speed. 


He rubbed his face and wondered.  Then he increased the action speed by one hundred fold, put the neuralsync on and started the game: he played the game for 10 minutes and then exited it. He looked at the times. Only six seconds had passed.


Within a month Lucilius had a nerulsync implanted into his brain and hooked it up to a simulation that he could activate at anytime he needed, but he’d ramped up the simulation speed by over a million times it’s normal reaction rate. Lucilius could, in effect, pause his life by speeding up his experience of time by a million fold. In the course of normal conversations he could pause to quite literally write a beautiful and well researched essay as a casual response, and within a mere few weeks, Lucilius had added a few years to his own lived experience.


It was the answer to the technological acceleration, he knew. It shouldn’t be paused, because now Lucilius had the power to fit more consideration into the remaining time. If everyone had the ability to pause, Lucilius figured, then time could expand and we’d have enough time to align ourselves ahead of the coming singularity.

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