In a Space Habitat, Moses & Sophie introduce new health system to Imperial Administrators.
|On arriving at work, Moses moved quickly towards his desk and his computer, as he had much to do.
Sophie intercepted him at the office door, gave him a quick kiss, and whispered in his ear,
"I missed you last night. You were not in when I left this morning."
"I fell asleep in the cave, reading the book."
Sophie smiled and Moses noticed a hint of relief upon her face. She continued, "Thought it was something like that. We have to do that teaching session today. Did you remember? See you in about an hour."
She then moved off quickly, with that delightful swaying walk of hers, towards her own office. Glancing behind, before the end of the corridor, to see his eyes had followed the twitch of her skirt. She paused, clearly pleased about his attention, blew him a kiss, and disappeared around the corner.
About an hour later, Moses and Sophie were ready, with an assembled group of Imperial Health Department Administrators, from outside the Space Habitat, where they lived. Moses and Sophie's supervisor rose to introduce the meeting. Moses thought he looked a little nervous and this made him look again at the assembled guests. Maybe they were more important than previously discussed.
"Thank you for coming, today we will give you a brief high-level overview of what the Emperor himself designated Project Eve."
As the Supervisor continued Moses saw beads of sweat forming on his brow,
"Project Eve was started, some four centuries ago, by the Emperor, when he left earth, with a frozen sample of the 'perfect blood' and armed with the latest Earth research materials on the human genome and nanotechnology. It has taken this long, to achieve his original goal, of engineering a perfect genome."
The Supervisor pointed at Sophie and Moses and then began his introduction.
"The Emperor and his queen pioneered the use of nanotechnology, using it to repair their bodies, ravaged by radiation, and prolonged exposure to low gravity, and their poor diet, in those early days. Those days were extremely difficult for them, but they heroically developed their nanomachines to fix the damage on the cellular level. Incredibly flexible, the human genome is already able to adapt to most circumstances, but with gene-editing tools and the help of the nanomachines, our Emperor passed on to us, it has become possible to fix damaged DNA and to facilitate the regeneration of organs, limbs, and tissue broken by the harshness of space. Moses and Sophie here, are at the tail end of a long process of development started by our Emperor. We had a bit of luck with Moses, as he is in effect a genetic fluke and the culmination of 400 years of bioengineering. We grew him in an artificial womb, along with 1000 other fertilized eggs, conceived from inputs provided by the two most genetically flawless people in the Empire, but only his fetus was good enough to go all the way to birth. All the others were flawed and were incinerated."
Moses silently wondered, about all those lost brothers and sisters, and had an awful vision of 1000 babies screaming for rescue from the flames.
One of the Administrators asked,
"My understanding is that only minor alterations have been made to Test Subject B's genome, why is that?"
He waved a hand towards Sophie, who rolled her eyes at Moses, in response to the reference. Moses struggled to contain himself, from laughing out loud, as his Supervisor answered.
"Yes that is right, she arrived in a state of near perfection."
"Arrived from where?"
Now, this was a question that Moses and Sophie had debated for years, given Sophie's memory loss.
"That is classified, and beyond the scope of this project, but the test subjects, male and female, have now, together, fixed the remaining broken genes and have achieved the state of perfection and their presentation today, will give you a high-level overview of how they did this, and also link you in with their data so that your scientists can examine it."
There were murmurs of approval from around the table. The Supervisor continued,
"Moses will now present his findings to you."
Moses stepped forward to give his presentation giving a nod of respect to his Supervisor whom he noticed was now more relaxed looking.
"Gentlemen and Ladies," he looked smiling in Sophie's direction only. "The skills we have developed for Project Edens completion are in the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Bioengineering, and Nanotechnology. Since you, as a group, are not dedicated research scientists, this presentation will only be an overview. Your scientists will be able to check our findings, as we have shared the full research in the database."
He paused and was met with nods around the table. Though, as he surveyed the faces of the Administrators before him, he could see a degree of relief, in some of their faces, that this presentation would not be hard science, which they probably did not really understand anyway.
"The purpose of the project was to build the perfect human, with perfect regenerative capabilities. Over the last four centuries, this goal has been achieved, by a process of selective breeding and gene editing, and Sophie and I were the end result. In the last decade, however, my partner and I have vastly accelerated the rate of progress, by using nanotechnology controlled by genome-specific AIs, grafted into our bodies. This acceleration has allowed us to finish, and then guarantee a centuries-old project, in a matter of just 10 years and this presentation will give you an overview of how we did this."
"Wait a minute," said one of the Administrators, "you do not look much over 21. Are you telling me you started experimenting with these techniques when you were just 11? That would leave no time to acquire the expertise needed in these three fields."
"Looks can be deceptive and this is one of the benefits of this project," said Moses, "I myself am actually 45 years old and Sophie was at least 20 when we first met about 10 years ago. But since we do not know her history, and she has no memory of it, we do not know how old she is."
"How can you look so young when you are 45?"
"One of the benefits of this project is that it seems to stop, and indeed reverse the aging process. Our lifespans may be hundreds, if not thousands, of years."
"OK", said the Administrator impressed, "Please continue."
"The basic assumption we worked on, throughout this project, was that the original design, of the human form, as revealed in the perfect blood, was intended to function forever and was given the inherent capabilities to allow for that. We sought to recover that design, and restore its integrity, rather than improve on it, or aid its evolution to some uncertain mythical form. Death can be defined as a symptom of the malfunction and degradation of that original design."
"Who gave you that working premise?" asked a puzzled Administrator. "Does this not contradict the Emperors teaching on evolution?"
"The premise was supplied in the source documentation for the original project and authorized by the Emperor himself."
This was hard for the Administrators to grasp, as the official position of the science directorate affirmed evolution as the fundamental reality. So he pressed his question.
"Who does the Emperor think made the original design?"
"The Emperor knows what the Emperor knows." Moses quoted a well-worn cliche, often spoken in the Habitat, as an answer to all mysteries or forbidden knowledge.
Moses continued, "OK, there are five components to the project that need to be properly understood:
Firstly we have the perfect blood sample itself, giving a perfect pattern of what a perfect human genome might look like. The task here was to distinguish perfect patterns from custom patterns, as each human genome is different and makes its own unique adaptations, during its history. The perfect pattern gives us an idea of what perfection might look like, for another human genome, nonetheless it cannot simply be copied, it must also be interpreted.
Secondly, we have the in-body AI. We had to develop an energy source, memory storage, processing power that could be integrated with a unique human genome. We have, in essence, developed an AI, configured precisely to our own bodies, using our cells to store data and powered by the energy we ourselves generate. This had to be grafted into the body in a way that did not hinder any vital functions. Furthermore, it itself had to be editable by nanobots, so that hardware upgrades could be made, as our technological understanding improved, and to help the adaptation of the intelligence to our human bodies. Software upgrades and instructions for hardware upgrades, as well as feedback on possible environmental threats, are also provided. The interface for these is a highly encrypted connection using a rather distinctive chemical-biological communication mechanism detailed in your notes. We have encrypted it to the person's DNA and internal AI in a way that requires host consent to any changes, applied to his AI unit and his own biological DNA. Their consent has, in effect, become the private key of the encryption mechanism."
"Meaning what exactly?" asked an Administrator.
"Meaning you cannot change the work we have done, in each of us, without our consent."
"But if the Emperor orders change or if he wants control?"
"You are not the Emperor. When he orders me, to do something, I will respond to his orders there and then."
The Administrator turned to the Supervisor and asked, "You allowed the test subjects to control their own defense mechanisms?"
"Of course, they are motivated to get these defenses right, and also maybe as a result of their genetic perfection, there is no one more intelligent to do this job."
"What sort of IQ level are the test subjects measured at?"
"We have not devised a test that can adequately measure their intelligence, but by all the tests we have at the moment we know it is over 250 in each case."
Moses watched as the Administrators paused, looking at each other with worried glances, realizing that Moses and Sophie were in a different league to everyone else in the room and not people they would be easily able to control as they did their other scientists. But the lead Administrator had a job to do and so he asked Moses to continue, "Please proceed."
"Thirdly, we had to design nano-machinery, that could survive in the harsh conditions of the human body and even replicate there, on an enduring and resilient basis. The system needed to be self-contained and not need injections of new bots to achieve its purpose. Materials are recycled or extracted from the body, without harming the host. The machines need to interface with the AI, be fast enough to respond to threats, and flexible enough to respond to whatever type of challenges are thrown at them. It took a long time to settle on a stable and multipurpose design, that we could interface with and which achieved optimal results. One prime consideration was the ability of nanobots to create upgraded versions of themselves. We now have bots inside us which we will never need to replace and which the AI manages and upgrades periodically.
The fourth challenge was perfecting the gene-editing techniques and tools of the nanobots and coordinating the efforts of the bots to work across the body, different organs, and types of problems. Enabling a signaling mechanism, between the bots and AI, posed a considerable challenge. Once these techniques were perfected we were able to make precise localized changes and holistically test the impacts on the whole system. The AI now contains a large library of techniques and medical procedures and special skill processes which it can activate at the instruction of the human host, or independent of him or her when it deems their health or security is at risk, and no instructions are forthcoming or being approved. Again these are detailed in the notes for your scientists to review."
"Fifthly and lastly, the early versions of the AIs created carried a full load of problem responses. But we found that this resulted in a weakening of the body's immune system, and made it vulnerable to incursions and issues the AI was not prepared for. It became clear that a symbiotic relationship between AI and genome was necessary, and that sometimes the body should be allowed to handle the ravages of disease or small wounds, to strengthen its own immunity and responses. The AI fixed longer-term problems, cleaned clogged arteries, and provided the possibility of emergency care for instance. So the technology inside us lives in harmony with our biology, rather than undermining it. The AI will observe how the immune system responds to challenges and runs impact assessments on the strategy once properly understood. Normally it will then complement that strategy, allow it to run its course, or if it calculates that strategy absolutely will not work, then it initiates processes of its own. The immune system is required, for unique challenges not yet envisaged, and for the nuances of existing challenges, that have not been properly catered for. This relationship is being perfected all the time, but has now become so good, that we believe we have achieved a near-perfect harmony between the body and the AI."
"Any questions at this stage gentlemen."
The Administrators were still clearly upset by the conversation about control of the technology earlier.
"Yes, who told you to take control of the AI and nanobots in your system, and to isolate them from any outside dependencies, this seems to demonstrate a lack of trust in the Imperial hierarchies. Why is your AI not subordinate to and integrated with the Imperial AI?"
"As the most intelligent people we know, with decades of experience in our own specialized fields, we made that call so that people unfamiliar with the protocols and processes we have established, would not mess up our work."
"You mean us, or your supervisors, or indeed the Emperor himself!" said the Administrator indignantly.
"Yes and regarding the AI, we have found that an AI has limits and that they work best when they concentrate on definite tasks, within the parameters of a defined environment, with borders, like that of the human body. An internalized medical AI has sufficient unique responsibilities, for its processing power and intellectual structures. Indeed the integration of such artificial intelligence with an AI focused on more universal goals is more likely to contradict its regenerative goals than help them. The internal AIs only have the job of keeping us alive. Furthermore, we have found that the original human design is superior to any machine intelligence that we could envisage when taken as a whole, and so the AI inside us is programmed to take its cues from our immune system and body responses, contradicting them only when impact assessments reveal a clear error in these responses."
The Administrator still looked puzzled as he responded. "But, as a result, you have an AI that is completely outside Imperial control, at your personal command, and one which can aid your responses against any attempt at control by the Imperial AI. I am surprised the Emperor allowed this."
Moses shrugged and nodded, and was about to carry on when he was interrupted by Sophie, ever the diplomat of the pair,
"We have documented the steps we have taken extensively. That data is available to the Emperor, and to this team, in the database, we have linked you in on. The corporeal integrity, and inviolability of the person, was a principle which we operated on, from day one, as the nature of the work means that each solution is uniquely crafted to the unique genome of the person, holding this technology. No one is better able to look after that internalized technology than the person who hosts it. Also given the advances of AI technology, coupled with the nano-tech present in the body, the threat of a malicious hack of a bodies AI was a real danger, that required an automatic response in a time frame measured in milliseconds, rather than in the weeks that a hierarchical bureaucracy might take to deliberate such a decision. The host is the one most threatened by malicious hacks, or changes, and their relationship with their internal AI allows them to assess the risks of any particular change, before it is applied, and in extreme cases, the actual legitimacy of a change."
The meeting went on for several hours, with Moses and Sophie showing the Administrators how to access and use the data provided in the database where they had documented their work. But they knew that these guys, and indeed the teams of research scientists they would share this database with, could read their notes for a lifetime and still not fully understand them. The science required decades to master and intelligence of the order that had been engineered in themselves. Indeed they had even omitted some very small facts, that would make all the difference, as a matter of personal insurance. The final questions related to function.
"So, aside from reversing the aging process, providing immunity from disease and harsh environments, and allowing rapid healing what other benefits have you noted."
"Our intelligence is enhanced, by not having the damage and blockages, that exist in most brains, to deal with. We have found ways to boost the percentage of our brains used, from around 10% to 30% of capacity. We found that performance started to degrade, after that level of utilization, because we became too exhausted to function, too quickly, and the energy consumption became too high. Our connections and instincts are perfectly maintained, our senses enhanced, so that we can hear and see on a greater number of levels, for example. Also, the nanobots and superior physical conditioning give us speed and strength advantages."
"Have you measured any of these?"
"Yes for example I ran a 100 meter in 8.1 seconds, ran a marathon in under 90 minutes, and was able to lift 967 Kg overhead."
The Administrators mouths dropped open.
"Are the results of your work something that can be applied to enhance the lives of people other than yourselves?"
"Well, we are already using the principle of the AI guided, genome sensitive, Nanotechnology to heal people or to enhance specific functions. This technology was rolled out, about a year ago, to the Imperial navy, as you are probably all aware, providing emergency healing services. But this operates on a lower level than what we have since achieved, on a more personal and genome-specific basis. Even so the new techniques, we have developed, will not work on others as well as they work in us, as we are the only people, that we know of, who are genetically perfect. The system is a holistic whole. The AI requires a memory of a perfect pattern, at the very least, to guide its operations, and that pattern is unique to the human genome that hosts it. If you simply mass-produce and place these things inside everybody, they will not have the basic guidance system they need, and so are more likely to make harmful mistakes, that could actually on occasions endanger their hosts."
"Would that harm not also occur in the case of you being damaged by some event?"
"No, because the AI knows how to repair me, and we have sealed that memory in a container, inside our bodies, which is shielded against all known threats. We have even sealed emergency bots in that container, just in case, the external bots are also destroyed by catastrophe. Once the nanobots recover from the initial emergency, and it is deemed safe to deploy them, they would be able to download the appropriate instructions from the AI, to repair, or indeed even reconstruct the body."
"Well Moses your work is impressive, and I am sure the Emperor will be pleased with your progress, thank you for your time." said the lead Administrator, the rest of the Administrators joined him in applauding the presentation.