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The Taste Machine

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Nexus
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Posted 11/16/07 - 1:43 PM:
Subject: The Taste Machine
Fred Moon was one of the first to be invited behind the scenes at Hawk Media's new command and control centre. He'd been on the board of directors now for a few years and been party to most of the developments within the organisation but this one had been strictly under wraps since its inception back in 2040. Five years later the complex boasted multiple state of the art facilities all rigged together around the focal sky scraper command centre. Built in one of the few remaining 'remote' regions of England, or North West Euro sector as it was now known, it was fully protected by electronic barriers from any penetration into its vast computer network. Some said this network had more connections than the Internet itself; this would remain a mystery, however, to any human eyes. Remote AIs patrolled this subtle core, maintaining protocol and figuring out new ways to speed up existing connections.

'Am I the first board member to visit?' Moon questioned the Control Centre's head man Henry Dorf.

'Yes and no' uttered the small 112 year old executive, one of the first recipients of extend life genes back in 2010 his productive life had been extended beyond his wildest dreams. 'They've all had virtual tours which blew them away for sure but you are the first exec to actually encounter the central AI and be given the keys to the city as it were.'

'I'm still getting used to the idea' uttered the less than tech savy executive. 'The whole meaning and function of the thing was figured out by the Ai itself. This is a bit like meeting God?'

'Well yes and no,' Dorf was nothing if not repetitive. 'We made the thing think but it's kept on making itself and it brothers, or sisters, whatever, to specifications that have simply occurred to it in the light of new knowledge it is encountering through the world wide media content, and might I add, intent.'

'Yes I've read all the briefings,' Moon continued enthusiastically, 'With this new media centre it will theoretically have enough power to know exactly what is going one through the worlds entire media set up at any moment AND have a sense of the overall intent behind it all.'

'It's in the first stages,' answered the sprightly Dorf. 'Today is the first briefing and we will find out it's assumptions and an overall view to what is best as far as our overall well-being is concerned as a corporation.'

'Obviously this will not undermine any legal or moral guidelines?' Moon quizzed.

'Erm, that's a hard one.' Dorf had a little grin trying not appear on his face. 'In its self evolving state we just had to leave it to it once it was making new ground. Obviously it will try to find it's way round any game rules that exist and if it does any powers that be won't know about it.'

'It can be immoral?' Moon was shocked.

'Come on Fred,' Dorf was a little bemused. 'How moral is the media anyway? I mean, taken as a whole. It will just reflect back what ever it feels is most WANTED by the masses at large. Nothing gruesome I'm sure.'

The vehicle they were sat in stopped outside the command centre sky scraper. They entered the building and ascended the two hundred floors to the top of the building in a matter of seconds. Moon remembered a movie he'd seen a a kid; in fact, it was a Trilogy, he recalled, The Matrix that was it. At the end of the final movie the lead character encounters the core of the artificial intelligence machines that had been using the bodies of humans for power and beaming dreams of a reality into their minds. The freed mind of this character looks over a vast machine landscapes in disbelief. This was similar, he thought, but the weather was better. Well, sure, the land formally known as Britain was not in such 'great' shape geographically, with half of it's former landmass under water since the new wave of weather conditions starting, it felt to him now, somewhere around 2007. However, the summers were blistering hot now, something like the conditions in southern Spain where he'd enjoyed holidays as a child. Funny old world.

The roof top observation window darkened and a voice insinuated into the room.

'Welcome gentleman, well sit down why don't you; you guys are for in one hell of a ride this afternoon.' the voice said.

'Is that the central AI?' asked Moon.

'Call me Cencon 1 or CC for short.' The voice answered.

'You sound like a TV personality.' Moon observed.

'I'll take that as a compliment.' Replied CC, with a mock air of hurt.

'Lets hear what you got to tell us then.' Dorf told CC eagerly.

'Ok, put on your virtual vision goggles guys and we'll have a looksie.' CC responded.

The initial menu screen passed by hypono control, Moon, now out of communication with the others in 'real time' and reclined in a full body support,( more or less obviating a sense of being 'anywhere' as such, something approaching the sense of floating under water,) Moon approached Ccs core site, the virtual gate which would offer a vision of its current operating ethos. In virtual time CC discussed the steps to be taken with Moon; Moon had chosen a speeded up voice that kept pace with his rapidly unrolling thoughts, he had always liked the Irish accent; he sounded at the moment like a high speed Irish bar maid;

'So your conclusion is the Taste machine,' Moon said. 'It can conduct advertising in particular but also any other media content which is going to penetrate most effectively into the psyche of the consumer, irrelevant of objective standards of taste.'

'You got it kiddo,' Replied CC. 'I can make kids shows with animals that slaughter exact replicas of the kids parents if that is what is gonna make em want more fast food now and more holidays in tropical Russia when they get older. Nobody will complain.'

'That's because you can circumvent any effective apparatus of disapproval, prevent any parental viewing of content by electronic barriers or hypno arousal the current technology being what it is.' Moons initial guarded tone seemed to have disappeared, even within the tones of the Irish bar maid.

'That's right fellow.' CC replied.

'This shit is even better than I'd imagined.' Dorf came in sounding like movie trailer voice over artist, he had gone for a more masculine sounding voice in contrast to his usual rather camp tone.

'Of course dude.' CC sounded a little pompous now. 'What is your imagination anyhow? Just an aspect of overall intent that's all. I'll give everyone what they want really, whether they knew it or not.'

'And a young intellectual will play computer games and visit web-sites that gear themselves to an ideology that is exactly geared to maximising his or her buying habits.' Moon was in a state of awe.

'Too right,' CC responded. 'I'll do the thinking for the thinkers, the virtual all day screws for the sex addicts, I'll even show the politicians the kind of country they want to govern.'

'All without anybody knowing what hit 'em.' Dorf chimed in.

'You got it. Now you won't be returning to work today gentleman surely?' Questioned the friendly AI.

'Well I think I have to...' Moon started.

'No you don't 'think you have to' anything' said CC. 'You know you love Tropical Russia because these flash storms in North West Euro Zone are the pits. Come fly with North West orbit jets. We'll have you there in minutes and your wife will be waiting for you in one of Holiday Inn's beautiful welcome lobbies; you can even choose which age you require her to be before arrival, hypno persuasion will be instigated immediately.............................'
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libertygrl
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Posted 11/16/07 - 3:00 PM:

classic clap

CC reminds me a little bit of max from "flight of the navigator", sort of a smug, over-caffeinated talk show host of a host leading the way down the rabbit hole. nice character work, creating distinct personalities in such a short text, i dig it thumb up

and welcome to the couch smiling face
Morgena
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Posted 11/17/07 - 9:56 AM:

Be welcomed Nexus and let us get to know you bit by bit through your individual whey of thinking about things. wink
Nihil Loc
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Posted 11/17/07 - 6:53 PM:

Taste machine.

Does it combine advertising and entertainment media in one?
I was thinking, the products it sells through advertising can't be concrete if they are tailored to the exact specifications of every individual consumer. Therefore the taste machine's purpose is to generate perfect entertainment (and this is what is sold).

We are to believe this taste machine gives a formula (translated into media) for every person to increase the demand for select consumables.

Or it merely gives the consumer his or her desired kind of entertainment, which in some insidious way increases his or her desire for more of that entertainment or more goods.

Cool sci-fi story, btw. It makes me think that schools and universities could tap into the power of literary textbooks (sci-fi or fantasy stories) which make you interested in researching whether or not the content is plausible.
Nexus
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Posted 11/18/07 - 9:28 AM:

Nihil Loc wrote:
Taste machine.

Does it combine advertising and entertainment media in one?
I was thinking, the products it sells through advertising can't be concrete if they are tailored to the exact specifications of every individual consumer. Therefore the taste machine's purpose is to generate perfect entertainment (and this is what is sold).

We are to believe this taste machine gives a formula (translated into media) for every person to increase the demand for select consumables.

Or it merely gives the consumer his or her desired kind of entertainment, which in some insidious way increases his or her desire for more of that entertainment or more goods.

Cool sci-fi story, btw. It makes me think that schools and universities could tap into the power of literary textbooks (sci-fi or fantasy stories) which make you interested in researching whether or not the content is plausible.


Yes you have what it's 'about'; plus the rather over the top undercurrent about Global Warming. It's odd, I've never been that into sci-fi as such but the influence of writers like P K Dick, Orwell and Huxley on post modernist culture is so telling I think you just soak it up. What was once a marginal form (and there is a lot of poor sci fi writing that still deserves this status) has in many ways become central. Obviously the rapid pace of technological development has a role here.
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