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Surrogates and Avatars (Terra Futura)

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Surrogates and Avatars were ideas in which people took control of robots or alien bodies as if they were inside them. This allowed people who were totally paralyzed to have an experience like a normal person or to communicate with aliens on a planet that was uninhabitable to human life.

(Note: The background section of this page uses most of the words from the telekinesis page of Terra Futura to save time.)

Background

Research into mind reading, a.k.a. telepathy, had been going on since 1882 when the Society for Psychical Research was founded. This society became known for exposing frauds. The founder of the Rhine Institute, Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine, also tried to find evidence of this phenomenon. None was found. In 1972, the CIA started Star Gate, a project on psychic warfare. Needless to say, it produced little information, and, by 1995, it was shut down. However, there was evidence that extra-sensory perception in some ways was real. Identical twins seemed to feel what was happening to each other. The most famous were the Psychic Twins, Linda and Terry Jamison, who were known to have predicted the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks three years in advance. This evidence was controversial. As a matter of fact, technology could do it better.

By the end of the Cold War, technology that could read a person's mind was becoming commonplace in science labs. These included electroencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging. By 2012, electroencephalography (EEG) was making its way into brain-computer interfaces that could do simple tasks. One notable application was in security. EEGs could detect an echo of a person's thoughts allowing the police to know whether someone is plotting a terrorist attack or not. There was one problem. EEGs could get confused by thought pattern similar but not quite like terrorist attack.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was different. MRI machines were different from EEGs in that they tapped directly into the brain. MRIs could detect the amount of oxygen in the blood in the brain. This MRIs more accurate. MRI machines were being used to help find out how the brain worked but not much else. MRI machines had bulky magnets which made them expensive. Overtime, however, MRIs would become more portable. This would revolutionize fighting crime.

Crime-fighting was never easy. It was hard to catch the criminal. Sometimes, it was hard for people to remember who committed the crime. A machine that read the person's mind would get down to details. The MRI was the best bet for this, but there was a problem. As said above, MRI machines were expensive because of the bulky superconducting magnets. There was a solution. The atomic magnetometer was a small chip that used lasers to detect the interaction between alkali metals and magnetic fields. This allowed MRIs to be miniaturized. This revolutionized crime-fighting. Criminals could not lie now. Crime-fighting was not the only application of Portable MRIs. Another application was photographing a dream.

When it came to deciphering an MRI pattern in the early 21st century, there was a problem. It could not reproduce the actual image of what a person was thinking about. In the early 21st century, scientists could show their test subjects a pinpoint of light and record where it was stored. Eventually, they had a map of pinpoints of light stored in the brain that were then projected on a 10 X 10 grid. As time went on, the number of pixels was increased. Add to that the miniaturization of MRI machines. As MRI machines became smaller, the pictures became better. By the late 21st century, it became clear that a dream could now be photographed. This was a good tool for finding out more about sleep. It also worked well in solving crimes as it could easily tell if someone was lying since sleep and memory are connected. But this work which had been started in 1998 would eventually allow people to have the power of the gods.

The power to move objects by sheer thought had long been associated with the gods of Greek and Roman mythology. Telekinesis was essentially the Force in Star Wars. By 2100, it was now possible to walk into a room and mentally control a computer that would in turn control things in the house. Implantable brain-computer interfaces were now being used to move heavy furniture, rearrange a desk, make repairs, etc. This allowed people to operate more machinery that required more than two hands. Just the way people interacted with the world changed. Everything could be done by just thinking about it. It took more than just implantable brain-computer interfaces to do it. People also did a little genetic manipulation augmenting the ethmoid bone, the pineal gland, and the body's own magnetic field. By now, everything had a chip containing room-temperature superconductors in it. This made telekinesis even more possible. Telekinesis would allow people to control robots that did not have artificial sentience as if they were them. This led to surrogates and avatars.

Description

Surrogates and Avatars were two ideas based on the same concept.

Surrogates

Tech Level: 12

In the movie Surrogates, scientists have found a way to control robots as if they were inside them. This leads to everyone preferring to live as robots rather than face reality. In the late 21st century, this idea would become a reality. In fact, in the early 21st century, there were humans controlling robots by way of remote sensing, the predecessor of the surrogate. A person in one place could control a robot in another place to do construction work or otherwise. This was still very crude. A surrogate in the late 21st century was controlled by way of telekinesis. That meant using brain-computer interfaces and room-temperature superconductors. The first application of surrogates was for the paralyzed. Someone who was paralyzed from a stroke, a spinal cord injury, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) could now have a normal experience. Real artificial synthetic lifeforms understood the reasons for this. Another application was asteroid mining. Asteroids were uninhabitable and had little gravity, so a robotic body would be useful. Would the whole human race prefer to be robotic? Absolutely not. The majority of people preferred to face reality only using surrogates when necessary. Overtime, advances in technology would take this concept one step further.

Avatars

Tech Level: 13

In the movie Avatar, the humans control alien bodies as if they were in them in order to communicate with the Na'vi of Pandora. As a matter of fact, that was what the whole concept of an avatar was. A person would use telekinesis to control an alien body in order to communicate with aliens, especially if the planet were like Pandora in the film, and humans could not survive in the atmosphere. As aliens were contacted, some planets were uninhabitable to human life. Therefore, avatars were deployed to help. Sometimes, like in the film, certain humans would prefer to live there lives as aliens. This led to mind uploading.

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