A Cyber Muse Story

Youth wasted on the young... Hah!

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright April 2015


Moving the human consciousness into cyber space is a modern equivalent of aspiring to soar through the air like a bird. As with flying, it is not going to be as simple or easy as humans have wished for, and there will be surprises. One of the big ones is that humans are unlikely to control much while they are cyber entities -- their thinking will be too slow and clumsy.

So humans will not be able to control much while their consciousness is in cyber space. But when we develop the technology to move a human consciousness back into an organic being -- an android of some sort -- then the thinking can get fast again. And when we have this ability to go both ways the transfer of consciousness between human and cyber space will make a difference in how people live in 2050.

This story is an example of how.


Cast and facts

Jimmy-863 (first consciousness in the young body)

Andy-098 (the instructor muse for Jimmy-863)

Oscar Wilson (old man in young body)

Aaron -- new android base commander on Europa

Dave-879 -- the cyber commander who has been here a year

Dianne, Franco and Patsy -- three other newly arrived old mind humans

Europa -- orbiting Jupiter, 5 AU away from earth, 8 AU is a light hour


The awakening

I'm Jimmy-863... well, I am for now. But I'm growing up. And as I do I'm learning lots of new stuff... and some of it in a strange way. Well, according to my teacher, Andy-098, it is strange.

I play and learn each day, then I sleep. What is strange is that while I sleep I learn things, too. I'm learning about things I haven't experienced. It's kind of like having a vision, but I have them every day now. And unlike regular dreams, I remember these! I remember them real well.

In school I started learning arithmetic last week. Then I started dreaming about it. This week I know how to multiply up to 100. Andy-098 says I'm learning real fast, so I will need a new lesson plan next week.

And today when I came in for breakfast the first thing he said to me was, "Who are you, today?"

It was a strange question. "I'm Jimmy-863, just like yesterday." I replied and started eating. I thought about it, then I asked, "Why did you ask me that?"

"Because one of these days you'll wake up and be someone new. I just want to know when it happens."

"That sounds strange." I said, and kept eating.

"It would be for most people. But for you, it is your destiny. You are growing up to be the receptacle for a consciousness."

"A consciousness... you mean what I'm thinking?"

"Very much so! My goodness you're such a bright child already. This is going to be so fun. It's just like when you get older you will be taller and stronger. But this change will happen sooner. It should happen any day now."

"Yeah. If you say so." I said, and I left it at that. There was a full day ahead of me and much to be learned.


That night it happened. When I woke up there was another "me" in me. He was Oscar Wilson, I just knew that. He didn't have to talk to me or anything. I also knew he was raised in Shaker Heights, and his dog was Harvey, but there was a whole lot I didn't know.

"Who are you today?" asked Andy-098 at breakfast.

"I'm Oscar Wilson." I answered proudly.

"Ah good. The change has started." he replied.

"...But why am I floating in a tank? Why am I wearing a breathing apparatus? Why does my body look and feel so strange?" asked Oscar.

"Because your body is designed to live in low G. When you grow a little more, and finish transferring your consciousness, you will be sent to a space colony being established on Europa, orbiting Jupiter."

"...Wow! This is big bunch of surprises for an old man. But, then again, actually completing a consciousness transfer is a big surprise. This was just a wild-eyed experiment when I moved out of my near-death human body... how long ago?"

"Ten years ago. Things have been changing quickly, Oscar. This colony on Europa is transitioning from totally creation run to creation plus android. And it is going to get a lot bigger. We have discovered how to make Pencrock there, and that's going to make a bunch of billionaires.

"There will be lots of surprises in making this transition happen. This is why we are sending you, a wise old man, to be a pioneer in getting it established. You're a wise old man, in a young body.

"In your case, youth is not going to be wasted on the young."

"In fact, you're not going to be in this body long. It is another experimental one, there have been several already. If this one works out well, we will grow one like it, but a little better, on Europa, and have you inhabit that."

"Wow! This moving consciousness can happen a lot."

"That's the virtue of cyber storage."

Oscar spends about two months in this body. It does work out well. It is recycled and this version of his consciousness is lost.


On Europa

Two years later its replacement is started in a small-but-growing base on Europa, and seven years after that Oscar now inhabits that one. Now when he wakes he is in his element, and, barring accidents and other deadly surprises, he is likely to be in this version of his body for a year to five years -- the radiation on Europa's surface is ferocious compared to Earth's, and that sharply limits how long Earth-style life chemistry can survive. When this one fails he will get a new one, but unlike with the experimental bodies he inhabited on Earth, he will remember what has happened in this one.

Europa Colony Alpha is still a small place, but it is bustling. Oscar is one of ten old consciousnesses in new bodies now moving around the colony. In addition to them are a hundred mechanical robots inhabited by cyber intelligences and ten androids also inhabited with cyber intelligence.

Europa is about a half light hour from Earth, so sending a question and getting an answer from Earth's vast store of information is an hour-long process. Neither the cyber nor the humans on Europa like that -- it is strange and unnatural for any Earth-acclimated intelligence -- but it is something they soon learn to live with.

The colony is here, now, and being expanded because the usefulness of Pencrock -- a trace compound found in Europa's seas -- has been discovered. Getting it to Earth can now be a profit-making activity, but doing so is something that simple automated machinery can't accomplish -- cleverness, human and cyber, is needed on-site to make this project happen.

Oscar is now attending his first progress report meeting in one of the base meeting rooms. He is joined by Aaron, the new android base commander; Dave-879, the cyber commander who has been here a year; and Dianne, Franco and Patsy, three other of the newly arrived old mind humans.

Aaron says, "You have all been briefed, but we have been learning lots quickly. It looks like the Pencrock is coming from one of the organisms that is growing in the Europa seas.

"This means we may be in for some farming adventures."

Oscar asks, "Do we know which organism yet?"

"Not yet. But we are narrowing it down quickly. Pencrock only comes out of one sea, so that's narrowing the choices."

"Is it free-floating? Is it uniformly dispersed? If so it's likely to be excreted from the organism in some fashion."

"Good point. We can modify our search parameters with that in mind. Thanks."

Aaron looks at Dave-879, Dave says, "I'm on it."

Dianne goes zombie as she looks over the proposal, then says, "You are getting to the sea through a tunnel, right?"

Aaron says, "That is right."

Dianne says, "If this originating organism is bacterial, which is most likely, you may want to research building vats up top. This may make harvesting a lot easier."

Aaron says, "Good point. We'll keep that in mind."

Dianne continues, "Plus you'll be able to control nutrient flow and parasites a lot more easily, as well. If this is an ecosystem under the ice, there will be parasites."

Franco now takes his turn, "This tunnel design... it is essentially single wall tube, right?"

Aaron says, "Yes."

Franco says, "This is a place with active plate tectonics. I'd recommend putting in a lot more redundancy. There is likely to be quakes and ice shifting over the years. You may want to double wall, and add some melting capability as well."

Aaron is getting impressed. These "old graybeards" seemed to have assessed what's going on here very quickly.

Patsy raises her hand. Aaron looks at her.

She says, "I gotta go. And it's time for recess."

He grins and says, "Everyone, this has been good advice. Keep up your research and lets definitely meet again tomorrow. You could be saving this project millions!"

The meeting breaks up, and the kids run out to play.



--The End--