Kissing George Clooney for just £99!
16 January 2003
I've heard it all before: How this sort of thing can't be good for your health, your head, your 'spirit'. How we were better off before it was invented, how mankind has suffered as a result. We'd all heard it all before. There are always naysayers at every Great Leap Forward, pointing out how mobile phones give you brain tumours, are irritating, cause stress, crime and numerous car accidents. How the internet breeds terrorists, paedophiles 'grooming' kids in chat rooms and involving aging rock-stars in child porn rings, credit card fraud, intrusive spam email, children surfing hardcore cum-swapping horny lesbian Asian teen beauties in the living room. How cars pollute, coffee exploits the poor, making omelettes require the breaking of eggs and, apparently, nuclear weapons can kill people. Nowadays, you just can't help feeling that you've heard it all before.
I for one, and I am by no means the only one, am a great fan of Progress. Which is why I, like the vast majority of normal people, was, and indeed still am, very excited about the developments throughout my lifetime of bio-mechanic memory. It started off as a sort of Napster of the Mind, an AudioGalaxy of Memories. Everyone's favourite moments available for download, shared, and enjoyed by the rest of humanity. PersonTech had evolved into PeopleTech, encouraging the shared experience of community, rather than simply enhancing an individual's experience for themselves.
Perhaps I should take a step back and explain from the beginning.
The beginning was experiments into the possible medicinal benefits of bio-feedback. In other words, an awareness of what your body is doing gives you a greater power to control it. We all know that those guys were a bunch of wackos quacking up the wrong tree, but nevertheless one genius among them developed the first method of recording and, more importantly, transferring and replaying human memory of experience. His idea was that it was a means to an end, a method of ensuring that all the subjects in the study had the same mental experience of disease. But fortunately, I say for everybody, he had a more entrepreneurial brother-in-law who saw the potential of the whole thing.
With patents pending and the media going wild, PersonTech recording equipment and mind implants were the next mobile phone. 'Forget faded memories' they said. The second Christmas was the killer, with markets getting saturated - every kid at school had to have one. With the hardware market saturated, the clever ones turned to content, and the whole world seemed to follow suit. The ultimate homework club soon became the nature of education itself. Bright kids had recorded themselves learning the periodic table, calculus, and whether or not Hamlet fucked his mother, and sold these for a good premium over the net. Eventually schools and teachers had to sigh and give up the ghost - what was the point of going to school, if you could download an entire education in a matter of weeks?
Next up was the holiday industry. Less time off work, and you could have a nice long holiday. Or even, download the memory of the first three weeks, and then go for real, already having knowledge of the lie of the land, basic idea of what's going on, and even some local friends. Rock concerts, movies, plays, even nights out on the piss with mates could be downloaded and remembered fondly, from the comfort of your own home. This had some interesting economic effects. The good seats became even more expensive, as they realised that you could sell on the experience afterwards, to at least make some of the money back.
The language of experience evolved quickly too. As you and your friends could all have the same first-person memory, it became possible to truly empathise with other people's thoughts. Their 'I' was the same as your 'I', providing that you had both purchased the same version of the memory, be it skiing in the alps, winning a Formula 1 race, or being presented with a Knighthood. The completely shared experience gave people a deeper shared understanding - part of each other was the same, in a way.
Missed that important link in the plot of your favourite soap? Never fear, just look into this beam for two seconds before you watch the climax episode...
Then, naturally, came the darker, more exploitative side to technology. Advertising companies saw the benefit, after all, if you remembered that you liked Pepsi better than Coke, or that Nike trainers are worth killing for, then you're going to consume accordingly. A direct link into people's preferences, albeit slightly indirectly (while you remember liking Coke, new experience may yet override that memory). Governments soon cracked down and tried to make sure that people at least knew when an advert was being received. Still, sometimes, you can never be totally sure.
I've told you about these people, always seeing the negative side. Well, there is a cloud on the outside of every silver lining, you can't deny it, but in this case, there are so many benefits that the occasional confusion due to advert overflow can be put up with.
The caring services eventually embraced the technology when they saw just how much good it did some people, especially when deletion algorithms got less buggy. People who went through terrible traumas could simply check into a clinic to get (or even receive over a secure line) a quick bit of code, and the trauma never happened. They really did go back to the way it was before. True, sometimes they had to go back for top-ups, but came back smiling every time.
Mid-life crises also became a thing of the past. Regret not having led a slightly wilder youth? Don't worry, just take a couple days off work and download one. Then just sit back and remember, and decide to be a bit more settled now that you've grown up a bit.
And then there was porn. Now porn, as successful as it was online, never really made it in the memory game. Sure, you could download some pretty outrageous shit, but no matter how hard they tried, a simple memory of group sex with Scandinavian twins, while it might be nice and get you randy when you think about it, will not make you come. That is the final limitation of the technology. It can never quite get to the here and now.
Which can work to your advantage, if you're interested in the big questions, like me. I run a site where you can find out what it's like to die. The eternal question, answered. If you would like a sneak preview, please stare into the circle below.
Of course, the most popular snuff memory in my collection is death by blowjob at the lips of the newest Pop Idol. Some things on the internet will never change.