We are on a path towards an interconnected world. Self-driving cars are already here, the tech for smarthouses exists but there are no standards yet, and people are finding creative ways to use smartphone apps in their daily lives.
The following is a direct quote from a Mr. Robot episode:
There’s a saying — ‘The devil is at his strongest while we’re looking the other way.’ Like a program running in the background silently. While we’re busy doing other shit. ‘Daemons,’ they call them. They perform action without user interaction. Monitoring, logging, notifications, primal urges, repressed memories, unconscious habits. They’re always there, always active. You can try to be right, you can try to be good, you can try to make a difference. But it’s all bullshit. ‘Cause intentions are irrelevant. They don’t drive us, daemons do. And me? I’ve got more than most.
Though he is using daemons as an allegory to our primal urges, the fact remains that they are similar things. As computer daemons become more and more complex, as we surrender more and more power over the real world to them, they will start having behaviors. Personalities even. How often do you have a computer that seems to have a mind of its own? This is due to our tendency to find patterns where there are none, to be honest, but some day, it will actually be true. Through complexity we will find intelligence. Emergent behaviors.
In the story Nanodaemons, I have tried to imagine the tasks of a group of daemons, that form a PAN (Personal Area Network). We already have PANs, even though we don’t really know it. A fitness tracker that connects to our cellphone and a bluetooth headset, is exactly that. A personal short range network of interconnected devices, that communicate between them to fit our needs. If you add some more to the mix, like smartclothing and a Hololens or Google Glass, you can see how that freaky cyberpunk story I made up is not really that far ahead.
To my joy, I stumbled on the TV series Limitless, the Arm-ageddon episode, where their villain of the week has hacked a bunch of prosthetic cyberarms and ended up in many crimes and one murder. The episode’s weight was more on the man behind it, but it was great seeing how a silly sci-fi crime like that actually makes it into an otherwise realistic show. It only goes to show that people at large are beginning to accept that there are serious security issues with those things, and that we need to get some smart people together in a room to figure it out. People need these prosthetics, and we need them to be secure and high-tech, but also comfortable and discreet.
Meet the Daemons
In Nanodaemons, the arm is only part of the problem. And part of the solution, as you’ll see. Not to spoil anything, but there is a guy, being framed for murder. The story is about him trying to figure out what happened, and the unusual case of eudaemonia that afflicts him.
The Internet Of Things
So, is it actually going to make our lives better? A Googler says it will create more profound means of expression. Maybe it will. Maybe we will evolve new ways to feel stuff, additional nuances to our communication between people. The internet is already changing the way we remember stuff. I see it myself all the time. If I can google it, then I don’t really need to remember it. We seem to like how things are going, it doesn’t scare us. How long till we actually plug a handy Brain-Computer-Interface that plugs some memories to a cloud?
Not long. But it doesn’t mean that we should.