Mods and Apps – Science Fiction Concepts for SciFi writers

Science Fiction Concepts for SciFi writers.
Set 30-50yrs in the future.

Mods and Apps

* bioMods are for specific biological enhancements. These are usually a little bit more advanced than cosmetic surgery in 2017. The standard is the spinalTap mod, an enhanced spine and skeletal upgrade (usually including knees) that dramatically reduces skeletal issues. No more easily popped discs or dislocated knees or shoulders. Basically humans haven’t finished evolving to deal with walking upright and this helps complete that. It usually has a gMod (genetic engineering) component.

* geneMods are genetic engineering changes. Usually an injected retrovirus that rewrites your DNA. Think of it like CRISPR but working on all the cells of your body. Examples of this are the ability to change your skin pigmentation between normal shades over the course of a few days. e.g From 0 – Albino white to 5 – very black. Some changes are easy, like re-enabling a number of regrowth options already in our DNA. So you can cut your arm off and over the course of a few months it’ll grow back. Want to have your skin be pigmented to look like a purple dragon 🐉 and you are beyond normal gMods. But then, most people would just have an eInk tatto for that instead of changing those specific skin cells pigmentation.

* bodyMods are mainly physical implants of technology. Things like an LED light in your fingertip to having geiger counters or EM detectors built into your body as new senses. Want to read someone’s DNA by shaking their hand, or remove your stomach and just have print cartridge like nurtient containers that you replace? Sure. You can have the standard dental armour upgrade so you only have to brush your teeth once a year, or eInk skin that turns your body into basically a digital screen. You could become a chest breather, replacing your lungs with two holes just above your collarbone. Air goes in one hole and out the other, thus you no longer have a normal breathing motion. There’s also the usual assortment of faster legs and arms. Maybe your full cybernetic arm could have a nanofactory in it and you could leave a trail of smart dust.

* nanoBlood – Nanobot blood.
All versions come with automated spider, snake and other venom antidotes. Also helps power most of the other bodyMods and a form of nanobots in the blood is how the neuroMod slowly gets assembled in the brain over the months.
v1 : Probes which provide vast amount of info on your body. E.g 2 year warning of a heart attack, instant detection and treatment of cancer, radiation therapy (which is why Eli needs it), etc.
v2 : Red blood replacement which provides far better oxygenation ability and CO2 absorption so you can hold your breath for nearly an hour or can exercise much better. Also has amazing toxin scrubbing and processing.
v3 : The immune system is augmented. Nanobots acting as advanced White cells, T cells etc. Allows for not just a super immune system, but wirelessly transferred anti-viruses. Very quick detection of new infections, diseases and viruses and the ability to transmit an internal scan to be remotely processed and and anti-virus quickly developed and downloaded. Some neural implants can do a basic AV processing but it takes longer and takes up almost all of the processing power. Note: The nanobots are created in nanobot factories, usually embedded in the bone marrow and a couple of other points around the body, nanites (self-replicating nanobots) are NOT used due to their possible ability to go rouge.
V4 : There’s usually more than 30% of the blood as nanoblood. It also has DNA scanning facilities which, with the help of a machine that’s a bit like an MRI, allows all the cells in your body to have their DNA read.

* neuroMod – The nerual implant. See also the 10 levels of neuroMod integration. Most of the apps are aimed at level 6 or 7 levels of integration.

* bodyApps (as opposed to bodyMods) are those which use the neuroMod to alter how you move, think or interact with implants and body/bioMods the vast majority need a neuroMod and need special permissions. Kinda like when you authorise an app in Google Play, but with a lot more info about what it will actually do and not do. Especially when an app is initiating activities for the first time, like LieToMe changing the way your eyes scan someones face or the complex, stocastic movements of SpeakEazy changing how your facial muscles work to make it harder for people to detect your lies. bodyApps are more about movement and control. The Posture Pedic bodyApp is installed by default (for those with the Trev special set of mods), and goes well with the spinalTap bioMod. It makes you sit up straight, keep your head back (not in the forward head posture) etc.. Works to reduce most muscle fatigue and skeletal tension. There’s versions for running better, meditation, various martial arts. This is different to the “I know Kung-fu” part of The Matrix. It’s a neuroMod running to alter your motion control. It changes how you’d try to move.

* visionApps – As with other apps, this uses the neuroMod. You can get Public, Private and shared (group) augmented overlays. But advanced vision mods can tap into how your visual processing neurons work. You’ve got to be careful when you start changing how you perceive straight lines or other core things. It’s very easy to go into dangerous trips with reality distortions few drugs can even get close to. Whilst these days they are automatically detected and the changes reset, similar to going into a ‘preview’ mode of new monitor settings and it auto-reverting, it can be possible to get yourself stuck in a mode where you simply can’t navigate to cancel such a mode and can cause long term pshycosis. Note: You can get eyeMods which are specific eye replacements. This is what the Death Squad have. Their eyes glow red because it’s creating infrared light to help them see at night.

Some Cool Apps

NeuroTelepathy or usually just known as Telepathy is the app which lets you talk with other neruoModded humans but also with AI and modded Animals.

There’s various levels of communication. From the equivalent to IRC chat or normal speech. Very carefully controlled to pre-recorded and edited thoughts with concepts, visuals, feelings and the like to a full stream of consciousness. As you feel it or think it with only basic filtering, e.g remove most background body sensory info, anything sexual or socially inappropriate.

You can also send concepthesis concepts and more.
The Mind Meld app is the NeuroTelepathy app with a 2 (or sometimes more) way merge and no filters. Obviously named after a Vulcan mind meld.

Penfield – Emotional control
Psychology and personal mental control beyond any advanced meditator. Like the Penfield Organ in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.
Gives you the ability to control your emotional state and even your thoughts with great precision. If you want.
Most people who use Dataism as their new religion give this control over to AI algorithms which can optimise their life for being the most rewarding and fullfilling, with lots of time in the state of flow. Thus providing great satisfaction beyond just being stuck in the ‘Happiness’ setting.

BabelFish – Universal translator
A core app.
Can work on both audio and visual inputs, acting like a super better version of Google Translate’s camera mode, or the conversation equivalent. Often the main way you know it’s even working is because the audio/video signal has a ‘translated’ tag added and you can toggle the translation layer and see the underlying signal before translation.

It also lets you speak or write nearly any language, if your vocal cords or hand is capable of the output. Often computer to computer digital speech and text isn’t really replicable by humans without speakerbox bodyMods (speakers instead of voice boxes) or text printing capabilities… Or usually just a digital display like eInk skin.

Lie To Me – Lie Detector
This works through all the usual input systems with some degree of accuracy against those not actively blocking it.
It hooks into the brains existing system 1 Fast triggers, but is also able to analyse with a lot more skill and accuracy than most people’s innate lie detection. It usually help focus the fovea on the person of interests likely telltale signs, mostly on their face, from their eye movements to minor muscle twitches. Because it’ll urge the user to look at certain points (they’ll want to do so), it can often be detected by others, so more stealthy modes are available, or usually people use an alternative visual input, like a nearby drone.
It uses the latest in nerualnet and other AI analysis to make you instantly a better lie detector than any unmodded person on the planet.

SpeakEasy – Lie to people / Pokerface
Usually the SpeakEazy counter app is also installed by people. It started by detecting the other persons obvious signs of using the LieToMe mod.
It then tried to intercept your tells and stop those micro-expressions. This dampening of your tells works well against muggles (unmodded people, but the weird times of dead movements then became a tell themselves.

Because such dampening is detectable the normal mode when talking to someone else that is also modded / with a Wizard Hat does the equivalent of creating white noise but with your face muscles, eyes and nearly everything else. You’ll have a sea of random micro-twitches, erratic heart rate and seem jittery to the system in a way that masks your emotions and signals by looking like you are changing emotions and sending lies and truth signals in such rapid succession it becomes meaningless.
Think of the big face of The Matrix core that Neo talks to at the end of the 3rd Matrix film, or other such particle, water or electrical based characters. There’s general form there but it’s annoying to view for a long time. Negotiators refuse to talk to people with this mode on, but those doing the last remaining bits of capitalist politics (in the non-RBE cities that aren’t New Eden) have this mode on by default.

People using the noise version often refer to it as PolkaFace, a play on poker face.

Look to the Stars – Where Am I ( Night Sky )
Look into the night sky and based on the stars know your position in the solar system (not just lat/long on Earth or Mars but anywhere out to the Oort cloud and within a +-300yr time range). The full version attempts to work out your position in the Galaxy over a +-5,000yr range and within the Galaxy. Although the full version needs a larger download and is much faster processing if you have a smart watch or even a space ship to help with the processing.

See that Key
Look at a key or any object and once you’ve seen it from enough sides you can have a 3D model generated and be able to 3D print it.
Works great when you’ve got a large drone nearby that can 3D print it for you, or are simply near a city which has fast 3D printers.

Morse code reader
Once installed this runs in the background looking for morse code signals, especially audio beeps and light flashes and will detect and convert. This allows for conversion of QS and other morse codes into their general understanding.
It will also detect binary, and other basic protocols by default.
This is often hooked up to people’s flash light fingers and it can be fun to see two kids running around talking via their fingers flashing, although there’s more advanced transmission protocols used for tapping and vibrations, so someone just tapping on a table or tapping on their friends hand whilst holding hands, or leg when cuddling can be a form of talking behind other people’s backs.
As with many of these things, there’s an ever evolving war of encryption and decryption, kids using a greater variety of ciphers, although the generic decryption tools and AI decryptions make basic changes to the ciphers easier and easier to break. Although the normal child / teacher empowerment dynamic is a lot more like that of a respected mentor so is rather different to normal school setups.

The voiceBox bioMod, allowing for a built in speaker, whilst not nearly as popular as light fingers is often used to transmit on high frequencies most humans can’t speak at and usually can’t hear without hearing bioMods but is often used by cohesive groups that are modded. But nearly all people with such bioMods also have the neuralMod implant so just communicate via standard encrypted wireless telepathy.

The development of the morse code app is often used as a standard example of app development of its kind. The first developer thought it would be cool to read morse code like they do in all the movies, without actually having to learn morse code so worked out how to hook into the various pattern recognition systems of the brain and neuroMod. It’s usually a combination of system 0 (basic visual neural detection of lines, shapes and time repeating patterns) plus the first order, system 1 (fast) processes which usually detects the flashes. By buffering a few seconds of input on a background thread that’s analysing the signals it can try and find anything that looks like morse code. Once detected it can analyse the input with greater focus (be it visual, audio, kinesetic or even smell) do more specific optimisations around the particular signals ‘hand’ (timing patterns, be they miliseconds in duration or minutes) and do more noise reduction, context analysis (does QSR mean a general morse code short hand, or just the 3 letters) etc…
Special patterns, like SOS are extra highlighted.

It started as more of a gimmic than anything, but others took the code and made it easily extensible so new filters could be added, new algorithms detected. More hooks into different areas, like concepthesis messaging (concepts and learnings) available as sound or touch for those who don’t have normal wireless internet to the brain enabled, usually enabled at museums or art galleries as a form of disabled / fallback support.
It can even detect messaging shown via agumented reality or as simulated external sensory input (sound, touch, vibration, smell, test) during immersive VR sessions, etc..

Then there’s a whole host of different detection algorithms, hooks into apps like the more powerful generic decryption systems. These can offload processing amongst a neruoMesh (group of other people with neruoMods), allow for joint detection of inputs (e.g thousands of people worldwide getting small pieces of the puzzle) and of course the ability to scan over very long time periods, like years not seconds, but most of those are all rarely used addons mostly done for fun, although some cool detection of earthquakes by peope who were meditating was possible on a neuroMesh. On the direction vibration sense some people will augment their heart beats to act as a morse code, detectable by their partner just by holding their hands when fairly quiet. Although heart rate detection of others is fairly easy at a greater distance with some of the infrared eye bioMods or tuned electricial EM field detectors, be they internal to the person (thus requiring a lot of work to cancel out the detection of their own nervous system’s EM activity) or external, like built into the walls and ceilings, usually trying to focus on bioelectric signals not normal wireless transmissions.

4 Versions of the Olympics
#1 – The existing normal Olympics. Healthy and unaltered. No drugs, nothing. With #1D being the disabled Olympics, although that’s a LOT rarer given most people opt for replacement grown limbs or even end up in the #3 tech enhanced version with bionic limbs that were better than what they used to have. Actually it was because of dealing with disabilities we developed such good bionics.
#2 – Drug enhanced – Humans using drugs and other general enhancements, but nothing we’d consider active or passive technology.
#3 – Tech enhanced / Cybernetic – People with nanoblood, implants, bionic limbs and many of those beyond the Kubler cascade
#4 – An android only version – Mostly for robots only. Although there’s occasionally matches between humans and Androids, e.g the Robocup Challenge style Soccer against humans and Robots. Although usually only full cybernetic enhanced people have any hope against even reasonably well optimised robots. Often the Androids will zoom on their equivalent of roller skates instead of pumping their legs, or will have very different forms of locomotion and there’s some surprising ways that the genetic algorithms for say long distance Javelin or high jump can create amazing robots. Few people even consider it the same sport, but then, the androids didn’t really see much to sport. The more interesting robots are the ones that attempt to be able to beat the best enhanced human in each area but without replacing parts. So being better than the best human at not just throwing and jumping but shooting and running and playing sports and swimming. To be good at all means some very interesting trade-offs and engineering feats.

Kubler Cascade

The Kubler Cascade is when there is some sort of driving force in a persons life which makes them want to be more augmented, e.g wanting to be the best athlete or fastest tech head they can be and in doing so quickly jump from the generally acceptable 40% range to the 80-90% level of augmentation. (I’m assuming that) It’s harder to go beyond that level due to technological difficulties and it’s usually easier to jump from that level to being digitised and having your consciousness running completely inside a computer. However, usually it’s a different force or pressure to make someone want to be digitised.

The other point to highlight is the fact that most people are fine with the up to 40% augmentation. This usually involves neural implants, basic genetic corrections, enough nanobots to ensure they are healthy and have an abundance of sensors to know if there’s anything wrong with them.
But when you apply a competitive force and you start replacing your legs with fully technical ones which allow you to run over 100km/h to do that with anything more than a quick burst you need to feed them with enough energy, so you need to up your nanoblood levels, replace your heart, become a chest breather and replace your stomach.

Obviously people augmented people in the tech enhanced version of the Olympics are the most susceptible to this.

Often the Kubler cascade is also defined as the point before passing you are still considered a normal homo-sapiens, but after which you are now classified as something else. Some people use the popularised term homo-deus or God like human. Others use De novo sapiens or just novo-sapiens meaning anew humans. Or the more pretentious French version Nouveau-Sapiens.

10 Levels of neuroMod Integration
There’s actually 7 main levels of neuroMod integration.
Once you go past around level 8.4 of integration there’s issues with being able to reverse the process and remove the neuroMod. Too much of your brain has been replaced. Hence most people are between level 7 and level 8.2 integration.

Level 0 – Nothing. You are an unmodded. A muggle.
Level 1 – The seed has been injected and there’s a nanofactory running but it hasn’t connected with anything.
Symptoms: Some light tingling at the site of the injection and maybe a tiny bit of discomfort where the neuroMod factory implant has an injection site poking through the blood/brain barrier.

Level 2 – The neuroMod is just beginning to integrate with some nearby neurons. It’s ensuring compatibility, ensuring the body doesn’t reject it.
Symptoms: During this time there might be small, barely noticeable glitches. Things like unexpected memories. But it can sometimes also trigger an out of body experience.

Level 3 – The neuroMod now has communication with the Internet via the wireless chips in your collarbone. It’s also creating main pathways to the important parts of your brain, the motor cortex, amygdala, frontal cortex all along between your optical nerves and visual cortex and it is generating more of the main highway infrastructure. The main tree branches.
Symptoms: There’s the motor cortex and sensory cortex. You could have issues where the sensation is there but you can’t move or vice versa. This would cause some weird lack of Proprioception, the feedback loop of going to move something and then feeling the texture, weight and other senses that let you know about that object.
The weirdest is when it mutes the channel about reliability / probability of sensory input, everything feels uncertain. You don’t know the certainty of what you are perceiving, it can get very weird.

Level 4 – Initial visual integration. You’ve got visual overlays as the neuroMod is now interrupting the optical nerve.
Symptoms: At first you get vision that seems empty (no signal) and the brain fills it up with imagined creatures or shapes ( like the visual aura I get before having a migraine or Oliver Sack’s talk about Charles Bonnet syndrome ), or distorted and weird. Although by the end you have Augmented Reality and basic close your eyes Virtual Reality. You interact with the overlay using basic eye tracking gestures (seeing as that’s controlled by the lower level lizard brain not your motor cortex… which is cool).
Also, the midbrain controls your voluntary eye movements. What happens when it feels like the neuromod forces your eyes to view something? I’m guessing there has to be a thought like request or recommendation before taking on an eye movement without it feels weird, but it’d be simple and subtle. Could be a weird sensation to make use of esp during AR gaming.

Level 5 – Full Motor cortex, and emotional integration. It can now change the way you move and how you feel.
Initial sensory based Life Stream recording happens here as all the main sensory input is being recorded and the global workspace (conscious thought) has been decoded to enough of an extent.
Symptoms: Sometimes you’ll have weird twitches as it triggers some muscle groups and sudden emotional outbursts or numbness. You’ll also likely get some brief out of body experiences.

Level 6 – Thought manipulation. No longer just reading your thoughts, able to change and manipulate them. Able to start mapping your memories.
Symptoms: <Insert>

Level 7 – FULL Integration. You can have Full Virtual Reality (FVR), Matrix style. An immersion so strong that without certain restraints and your memories you might not know you are in a simulation.
By now you can start to think about 3x faster than normal and sleep only 2.5hrs a night. Your a Wizard Harry!
Symptoms: <Insert>

Advanced neuroMod Levels
Level 8 – Technomancy. This is for the speed freaks and involves using the neuroMod along with a whole bunch of enhancements to increase the speed of your thought by another 5x, so 15x faster than normal (or 23ms instead of 350ms response times). With certain very special capabilities, like bullet time, being done as ASIC like dedicated hardware in order to get something decent out of 350ms of bullet flight time you’d want 5ms time slices for 70 frames of action and reaction, so it’d feel like about 3s.
This is the level that the technotopians are required to be at, but also the negotiators as they have the Bullet Time mod.
Symptoms: Your able to process things so fast that conversations with people of a lower speed level aren’t possible in realtime thought. You have to buffer the input and output. You also find that Internet latencies become noticeable so huddling near data centers or physically being near the groups of people you are telepathically talking with becomes important. Also, the amount you sleep will have been drastically reduced to about 30mins a day due to advanced neurochemical cleansing.

Level 9 – ? Are you human, cyborg or what?

Level 10 – You’ve not longer got a biological brain, it’s completely replaced. This hasn’t been achieved… Yet. But people are working on level 9 and 10.

Level 10+ would be a fully digitised consciousness.

Initially complied by Michael Kubler on the 19th of October 2018 from a variety of his ideas for the Book of New Eden novel. Inspired to post this by Geoff Kwitko’s Live Stream talking about his interest in SciFi.

By Michael Kubler

Photographer, cinematographer, web master/coder.

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