The Idea Mill #37

I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit lately. Some of this is because I’ve been writing tour posts for Viral Blues. I’m trying to trickle these things out a bit this time, rather than crunch over a ten day period.

Fall is finally here, and October is my favorite month of the year. I’m looking forward to it. I’m already surrounded by pumpkin beer and a few other Fall favorites. My Asian pear tree is loaded and I’ve been eating those like crazy.

Viral Blues has already been a topic here, and there will be some reblogs from the sites I visit, but I also need some new content at Entertaining Stories. This brings me back to the Idea Mill.

I write speculative fiction, and require a source of inspiration for my stories. You guys might, too. That’s why I share these articles on occasion. They also tend to give a bit of legitimacy when you decide to push the envelope from here on.

Our first article involves brain reading technology from our old friends Facebook. (Scary enough) Currently this involves implanting sensors on the surface of the brain, but Facebook wants to move beyond that. The technology started off trying to improve the lives of the handicapped.

It seems to involve a kind of predictive text, and the article makes an interesting conclusion that eventually the technology will outpace the human. Could it be that some kind of AI will pay our bills before they arrive? Maybe it will write our next novel, because it can predict what we’re going to come to eventually?

The real loss is invasion of privacy. Our most intimate thoughts could go into a database somewhere. In the hands of Facebook, this is already a nightmare.

Imagine a future world where people start tossing around words like sedition, or treason based upon minor thoughts that flashed through your brain. The article goes on and makes the frog in a pot of water comparison, that we could lose our freedoms slowly and not understand the ramifications until it’s too late.

Elon Musk is involves in a competing project, but his goal is to merge artificial intelligence with humanity. His project wouldn’t just predict our thoughts, the technology would also be able to write to the human brain. Imagine a planet of worker drones with no thought the AI didn’t give them.

There have to be a million novels that could be written about this. Read the article here.

Next, how about some stowaway creatures on the moon. It seems Israel crashed something into the moon. There was an experiment onboard involving microscopic creatures called water bears.

These little guys can survive nearly anywhere, but are unlikely to colonize the moon. The article indicates the experiment was snuck onto the capsule at the last minute. There are no laws or protocols for shipping organisms into space.

That’s where the real beauty of this article lies for a fictioner. Imagine someone like… Elon Musk, operating without regulations and contaminating space vessels or celestial bodies. I seem to remember experiments with bees on Skylab or something. It wouldn’t be too hard to seed a Mars colony with killer bees.

We all know to keep away from large predators. You don’t hug a grizzly in Yellowstone. What about microscopic predators we never give a second though? Put them in space, add some tonnage based upon a different environment with no natural predators, and you could have a crew facing giant blood sucking mites.

Take a space station, like Skylab which actually crashed back to Earth, and you can write a story similar to The Blob, only use gigantic amoeba that were originally an experiment. This is the article.

The final article blew my mind. It isn’t the subject itself, it’s the implications of the story. First the story. There is a piece of music that seems to be some kind of pop tune from the eighties. Nobody knows where it came from, who performed it, or who wrote it.

Thousands of people have spent thousands of hours trying to solve this mystery. If you think about recording studios, artists, agents, contracts, and the idea that someone would normally claim it, this lack of records is baffling.

This is how it went crazy for me. Humans have always saved things. In ancient times, there was the library of Alexandria. Post Gutenberg, we came up with different libraries, including the Library of Congress. We have patent offices, copyright registries, and more.

Today, everything is electronic. There isn’t a paper copy of any story I’ve written. They’re created on a word processor, and the entire process is electronic. ICloud and huge databases are our archives today. And yet, something has gone missing in the background of this song.

Think about deeds, marriage certificates, Supreme Court decisions, all in the future of course, and corruption could be a real problem. One missing line in a contract could change the entire meaning of the contract.

I also remember a bit from Jurassic Park about referring to DNA as lines of code. This is where they revealed using frog DNA to repair the lines. Electronic documents are just lines of code. We view them by feeding those codes to a program that reveals them as documents.

My mind goes to any of those archaeological adventures we’ve all seen. We need to recover the pieces of X before the bad guy does. I feel like I’m on the verge of a whole new genre here, only my hero could be searching the cloud for missing lines of code that change the way a court decision is interpreted. This would have to be futuristic, but in modern comparison, imagine a few lines missing from the Rowe vs. Wade decision. The entire thing could be interpreted differently.

Maybe the bad guys are hackers who intentionally delete lines of code to change the world to their image of what it should be. Maybe they replace them with words of their choosing… It blows my mind to think about. I hate to give credit to anything in the blockchain world, but the idea that multiple people have a copy makes it nearly impossible to tamper with those records.

Here is the simple article that sent me down this path. Yes, you can listen to the song on one of the links. Whoever it is.

Part of these posts is me hashing out a corny story using all of the posts. Away we go…

Mars is overrun by giant man-eating poodles. The evidence seems to suggest NASA approved a program where all of the colonists were allowed a service animal, but nobody told the colonists. They didn’t bring them to their new home.

Our hero has spent a year trying to find the original mission orders, but suspects they were corrupted somehow. He meets up with someone who has the brain reading technology that allows her to dive deeper into the internet and search for the missing lines of code that will reveal the true orders. The only problem is the poodle-master is writing code into her brain faster than they can repair the changes.

Corny enough for you? Can you see stories centered around any of these articles? What would you do with one of them?


Filed under The Idea Mill

36 responses to “The Idea Mill #37

  1. My brain doesn’t click like yours. I’d struggle with all of these, but I can tell they excited you. Probably why you write speculative fiction and I write mysteries:) A fun post.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brain reading technology sounds like a no brainer if you trust Facebook. Love those Asian pears, I wish I had a tree.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Tough combo. Brain scanning technology that utilizes altered water bears that are inserted into the brain. One day, most of humanity begins remembering things that they aren’t sure ever existed. The answer is on the moon?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love this so much. Although the Facebook/Elon Musk ventures of literally trying to get into our brain is terrifying. But there are so many options here for good stories. Thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on Where Genres Collide Traci Kenworth YA Author & Book Blogger and commented:
    Another round of the Idea Mill! Some good ones here!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think I’d go to poodles. 🙂 Honestly, the crashing back with organisms makes me think too much of The Andromeda Strain.

    By all means, though, write your interesting ideas!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I was thinking along these lines only yesterday, only for me, it signals a kind of defeat. I have always had trouble with technology, as my brain isn’t wired that way, but now I’m getting really old, I am losing traction all over the place. I can (sort of) keep up with the things I have mastered, but learning anything new is getting real hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow. Now I know how your stories germinate. Those what-if questions are a writer’s best friends, and reality is the perfect foundation for fiction. 🙂 Happy Writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love all of these! (But hate them at the same time.) If I was writing this, the AIs would have dominated the future by over-writing human brains. However, they would have to give their instructions priority, while leaving some function intact. Otherwise, people would not eat, sleep, etc and they would die. Since the AIs have not yet perfected a completely robotic entity, this would be a problem.

    Suddenly, a song appears. No one knows where it came from. Hidden within the song is a virus that loosens the AI’s control long enough for humans to pass along the song, thus spreading the virus further.

    My POV character would be an investigator trying to stop the spread of the song, but gradually realizing that they were on the wrong side and contributing to the enslavement of humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. D.L. Finn, Author

    My mind took off in many directions. I hope you do write about some of this:)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Those are some fascinating articles, Craig. My mind latched on to the FB one where our thoughts are transmitted to FB and stored. I can see all sorts of stories that could form around that idea. Think the divorce rate is high now? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m more of a spec fic fantasy girl than spec fic sci-fi, so I doubt I could do much with these. I do love how you went with poodles on Mars though!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I always enjoy these posts, Craig. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. An interesting peak into your mind, Craig. I have quite a few of my own ideas running around which also niggle at AI, computerised doctors, nanotechnology and the like. The way of the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Finally! You’ve GOT to keep me abreast with idea mill posts! They’re my FAVORITE! I’ve long thought about those digital only files in a Luddite paranoid kinda way. What if everyone bought the same e-book, but all the books read differently? Imagine the discussion, in book clubs, online, with people in your own house!
    And consider the edits of PDFs. Oh the security risks. Hold on to your space poodles!
    Great post! Love Idea Mills! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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