Explorer 237

The Explorer 237 spacecraft is well known to historians. It was the ship that went to a previously unexplored planet in the Trappist-1 star and returned with all the crew onboard dead and mutilated. The planet concerned, previously known simply as ‘11596’ had been renamed, by the crew of the Explorer to ‘Plasmolidium’.

Unbeknown to the crew at that the time of landing, Plasmolidium was inhabited by the Mud Lizards. After months of peaceful work on the planet, that included establishing a permanent physical base on the surface, the Mud Lizard’s made their presence known. Very quickly they butchered all of the Explorer’s crew who had mistakenly interpreted their initial contact as peaceful.

Not only that, the fairly advanced Mud Lizard civilisation (technologically anyway) returned the dead bodies of the crew to Earth on Explorer 237 with a declaration of war carved into their collective foreheads. This led to the first Interstellar War.

The response from Earth’s President at the time was strong and unequivocal. His rallying cry to Earth that this atrocity would not go unpunished was what people needed to hear, though he did confuse everyone a bit by subsequently issuing thoughts on ThinQueue that seemed to associate Mud Lizards with some sort of Sino-Soviet plot. He was a distant relative of a 21st Century President, so confusion possibly ran in his genes.

Government closes Hera

Government securities forces have completed the evacuation of the independent aircity Hera, as Earth’s commission for the safe use of AIs struggles to bring the city’s core AI under control.

Hawkins, the artificial intelligence that has managed all of the city’s services and amenities for nearly a decade, suddenly decided to ignore instructions just over one week ago. In a series of bizarre decisions, Hawkins closed shops early, stopped traffic and started to deliver goods and services no one had ordered or wanted.

In order to mitigate risks to public safety Earth’s government has taken charge of the city, insisting on the evacuation in order that Cortex can investigate and determine what has gone wrong. Cortex manufactures the global AI control and failsafe system on behalf of Earth’s government. The independent city Hera uses a small start-up company’s control system and did so in efforts to break from strict government control.

ThinkFree, the creators of Hawkins, are claiming there is a government conspiracy aimed at putting them out of business and restore the government’s monopoly on enterprise level AI systems. A government spokesperson for the AI Minister dismissed talk of a conspiracy as utter nonsense. T

he spokesperson went on to say that the arrest of ThinkFree’s board of organisers was for their own protection.

The Sequestrans

Humans landed and walked on the moon 6 times between 1968 and 1972. They didn’t return there until 2044 when Virgin Galaxy landed a ship with over 50 settlers who built a permanent base there. Over the next decade Virgin Galaxy raised the first space hotel – Lunar Delight – and from 2054 the moon became a meaningful and attractive holiday location.

During this period the number of semi-permanent settlers on the Moon rose to well over 5000. Until 2056 everything seemed fine. Over 10,000 inhabitants of Earth spent a minimum of one week traveling to and then exploring sites of interest on the moon.

Then in late 2056, a group of tourists disappeared without trace whilst out on a half day excursion to the Sea of Tranquility. Investigations by the local police and then the Space Patrol found no trace of the settlers or their lunar carrier. Tours were suspended for several months but eventually re-opened. In July of 2057 a distress call to Earth from the main base on the moon, Armstrong Centre, led to a battalion of space cadets heading to the moon at breakneck speed. The distress call described large sections of the Armstrong Centre disappearing into the surface of the moon.

An advance guard of the space cadets got there in under 4 hours and found no trace of the Armstrong Centre. It took over a year for Earth’s military forces to uncover an underground alien stronghold that had been built on the Moon, sometime between the late 20th Century and the time when humankind had returned to the Moon, by the ultimately named ‘Sequestrans’.

After a fairly short battle, the Seuqestrans on the moon were all destroyed. There were not many of them. As a species, they appeared to have the capability to adsorb matter into their bodies. Individually they could do this on a small scale but when they worked collectively they could adsorb large structures. This was discovered during the early skirmishes between them and the space cadets.

To this day Earth is not sure where the Sequestrans actually came from. There was no sign of any spaceship that they may have been used to land on the Moon and no records, that could be identified, of their history.

 

Hoversocks

Who would have thought that there was more to come in the development of wearables that help us move from A to B? From hoverboots, to hoverbackpacks and hoverhelmets, we can now add the Hoversock.

Obviously normally sold in pairs, hoversocks are the ultimate for the aircast addicted couch potatoe. Float from couch to refreshment source at the drop of a thought.

Sales of hoversocks have been healthy since launch, though a few customer horror stories have recently rocked share prices in the parent company AirTech. Only last month an elderly couple who fell asleep watching old aircast re-runs off ‘Buddies’, woke up hanging from the ceiling of their apartment upside down. They might still be there had it not been for the swift action of their CareDroid and the prudent use of an antique so-called ‘ladder’ belonging to a neighbour’s artefact collection.

AitTech is still to comment officially.

Droids

By the mid 22nd Century, artificial intelligence had advanced so much that there was a ‘droid’ for pretty much everything. Whether one needed medical attention (MediDroid), cleaning up (SaniDroid), help with shopping (KardashaDroid), needed to eat (StarDroid) or desired some companionship (ComfortDroid) there was a two-legged human-like robot of varying shapes, sizes and sexes that you could easily summon to help you.

Most droids would either help you on the spot (depending of course on how private or personal the help required was…) or very quickly take you somewhere to get more in-depth, specialist support. A MediDroid, for example, had a built-in person carrier which if necessary could be deployed to take an individual quickly to an appropriate facility or to connect to a specialist virtual clinic.

Droids had come to be a trusted form of artificial intelligence though they had recently gone through a bad patch with the so-called ‘Life4Real’ hack. This group, made up of a group of former university professors and dedicated to the restoration of antiquated systems and processes, launched a virus attack on G-Soft that almost brought down that tech giant’s AI network.

Of course, G-Soft managed to restore full service quite quickly but not before a few people who just wanted a suit cleaned got mistakenly whisked off for major surgery!

Ice Caps

Amongst a range of measures to keep the Earth’s climate bearable in the 23rd Century has been the technology pioneered by PolarIce. This small non-profit concern patented the IceCapture Drone in 2255.

Their first 5 pilot drones demonstrated the concept of polar ice cap renewal in 2262 through repairing a 22,000 square mile hole at the South Pole. Resultant drops in air temperature in the Western hemisphere were shown to be significant. Unfortunately, PolarIce has run out of operational funds and Earth’s Supreme Government Association has failed to agree continued public funding for them. Accordingly, PolarIce and their patent is now the subject of a bidding war between G-Soft, SinoCom and SoviSecure.

At this stage, it is unclear which of these three conglomerates will win out. What is certain though is that the era of free ice cover for the people’s of the Earth will soon be over.

Education in the 23rd Century

Since the early 22nd Century, there have been hardly any schools or universities on Earth. The need for them slowly died out as virtual learning became ever more sophisticated and the ‘school’ or ‘university’ came to wherever you were whenever you wanted it to, as did your classmates.

Children learn now from the age of 6 months at virtual School and carry on in that way as they grow, occasionally visiting key physical facilities when they need to, either because the facility is of key historical interest or because they need to attend one of the few remaining specialist learning and research centres.

The old progression from junior school to senior school and then college or university has disappeared, and people just learn continuously through forms of virtual reality. The old formal qualifications that people used to collect including university degrees became redundant and were replaced ultimately by digital markers encoded in their DNA. A simple thumbprint can be used to authenticate and showcase one’s skills and knowledge to any prospective employer.

Of course, as mentioned, there are still a few physical places of learning or higher academies as they are called, where dusty old President Professors pretend to do worthwhile research and find out things that the Artificial Intelligences can’t…….