Knowing no one’s name

Adit is sleeping on my office cot. Freaking out must be exhausting.

I’m not sure what the diagnosis is – or if there is a term for what Adit has – or is; but he was lumped into the “autistic” bucket even when he was a baby. Because they didn’t know else to call him.

Adit is unable to make any connections, to parents, siblings, the family dog. I’m bad with names, but Adit doesn’t recognize names, faces, voices – nothing. His family signed him over to a hospital and just walked away from his life. Without the human connections his learning was stunted and slow. As a toddler he was no smarter than an infant. A Dulles human behaviorism psychologist noticed him in a tour of the hospital. Here was this toddler who seemed to be learning who everyone was every morning but still seemed to understand symbols and mathematical concepts way beyond his years.

Adit is like an isolated mesh network. Once you are on the network everything is connected and working seamlessly. But the network stands alone; it has no connections to the wider grid. Adit is an island.

By the time Adit was five he was living at Dulles full time. His childhood was split between working with the math and later computer science departments on new ways to solve problems and taking social interaction classes where the psychology students tried to help Adit function in society. In the end labeled photos that he kept in his pocket was the big break through for him back then. It was a natural jump from that to keeping Adit wired to a face recognition program and having his lens project biographical information for him for everyone he saw. It always would freak out strangers that Adit knew their names.

As a teen Adit met Jack and worked with him on skipping the lens projection and fire the information right into his brain. When Jack and Adit first zapped his brain with a face and a name they watched the scan live as his while brain lit up. A cascading effect had been triggered and hundreds/thousands of memories about that person surfaced.

They discovered that Adit was not only storing memories of people and the events that occurred with the people, he was (with zapping) able to recall all of the memories in minute detail.

Adit held on to and utilized those resurfaced memories all day, but when he woke the next day they were all gone. Just as it had been all his life. The resurfacing wasn’t permanent.

Jack and Adit worked on multiple methods to consistently recreate the memory cascade. Despite the occasional seizures induced by a zap too many they made quick progress. Adit refined the program and the hardware specs. In the end Jack had wired up Adit’s brain like a Christmas tree.

In real time the system records all of the electrical traffic in the brain created by all the new experiences being generated and stores the last 5 seconds or so of every interpersonal interaction. Simultaneously it triggers a replay of the last recorded interaction with a person when he meets that person again each day.

Today it didn’t work.

Adit woke up completely lost. After a huge freak-out in the main square as stranger after stranger who knew who he was approached him asking if they could help, Adit escaped back into his apartment. Luckily he found a “break in case of emergency” note that had a photo of me with contact information.

It took hours to calm him down enough to eat some food and come back to the lab.

I’m trying to reach Jack and am getting nowhere. Now I’m starting to freak-out.


It wasn’t until I was 17 that I finally had a girlfriend. And it was serious, it way going to be forever. But even a 17 year old deep down knows that isn’t true, and when coming home from a movie in my parent’s ancient hybrid I blurted out that I was going to leave town and go to Dulles Tech. I didn’t let Anna speak I kept going on about how this was best for me, and how we can still have a relationship even though I’m gone, and though I didn’t plan it I started babbling about my parents getting a divorce and before I knew it I was crying. Finally I was silent and Anna said “Oh.”

Adit’s story is mentioned in dozens of studies. His case is the case study on countless white papers and thesis papers and journal articles – etc. Luckily as soon as he came to Dulles as a child he was known only as Rasa. I always assumed that was in reference to Tabula rasa, that and it sounds Indian. Rasa is famous in many diciplines of study – taking brain-computer interface (BCI or wetware) technology to a whole new level. Rasa was a source of pride at Dulles. Only Jack, Ned and I knew that Adit and Rasa were one in the same, until I told Kaitlin.

As soon as I heard Kaitlin say “hello” I leaped into listing resources we might need, how I’ll get Ned’s permission to secure a lab, and that budget was not an issue. Finally I paused, “what’s this about?” Kaitlin finally was able to ask. I let her know that Adit was Rasa and he was broken. Whatever Adit and Jack had done wasn’t working. I paused again. Silence, and then Kaitlin said “Oh.”

Now Kaitlin and Adit are making my stockpile of Orexinal disappear as we’ve locked ourselves into a lab right above the Greystle guys. If they only knew the patent potentials happening in this room.

Kaitlin is like a kid in a candy store looking at Jack’s specs on Rasa that Ned had locked away and working with Adit on possible reasons for the malfunction and ways to improve the system. I have to say Adit has taken to Kaitlin. He never had before – when he had memories of her from before his last night of sleep. He is starting to look like he is secure. I think he finally feels safe. Good. I can’t imagine what it really is like when everyone is a stranger.

I’m trying to help out, but I am so out of my league. Honestly the only help I can give them is time and privacy. Oh, and I seem to be getting the drinks and food too.

I am the go to intern on this project. I’m fine with that.

Jack and the Analytical Engine

I finally was able to get a hold of Jack; it was weird hearing from him after so much has happened.

Kaitlin has basically taken Jack’s earlier work and quickly made it her own. In fact she’s updated Adit’s system so that all of the wiring can be external of the skull. Now all Adit really would need is a cap but for aesthetic reasons they’ve been grafting the inputs below the scalp. Not only can the sensors on top of the skull record the firing of each neuron to record the memories – senses, and emotions, but the sensors can record the unique frequency of each neuron’s firing so the “playback” doesn’t actually have to be from “shocking” the effected area as before but actually by shocking the skull at the neuron’s frequency. The brain then thinks that neuron fired. This makes Adit’s new system exponentially more precise than the one Adit and Jack came up with years back. Rasa is now Adit 2.0 (God he’d kill me if he heard me say that). Its good to have Adit back. Rasa is almost completely gone now. Adit even slept last night and woke up knowing who we were, and what we were doing; basically knowing who he is.

All of the old hardware in the brain is no longer needed which is why we needed to get a hold of Jack. Occasionally the “playback” hits a frequency close to what the old hardware was tuned to – and when that happens we get instant seizures. Adit’s got a big ass bruise on his head from when the first one hit. With the new method for “playback” seizures are no longer supposed to be an issue.

When Rasa first came to me I was trying everything to get a hold of Jack, but truth is once I found out Kaitlin was on top of things and Ned had most of the specs, it didn’t become as necessary for me to find Jack – and I was kind of relived. Now we needed him. We can’t remove the old hardware without at least doing an itty bit of damage so what we need to do is map out all of the frequencies of the old hardware so that when Adit is experiencing a memory “play back” we skip anything that would conflict with the old hardware. Sure there might be itty bits of memory gaps here and there, but at most we’re talking about a blink. I forget more in ten minutes then Adit probably will over his lifetime.

Ned didn’t have that kind of detail on the hardware Jack used, so we hoped Jack did. And he did. Jack had the details in a secure area of one of his grid corners – we got the info instantly. But Jack really wanted from me was help with his new idea.

Jack wants to make and market desktop versions of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Yes you too can have an analog computer the size of a small room and made of iron and brass miniaturized to the size of a knick-knack for your desk. While I agree not many people have a fully functional metal analog computer of gears, rods, and levers as a paperweight, I’m not sure many would want one. Jack went on to explain that at first he was going to make Babbage’s Difference Engine because there were complete plans, but he thought everyone would just think of it as a cool Victorian calculator, but with the Analytical Engine each purchase would come with a stack of punch cards with programs ready to go. “Though no one would actually use it – it would be much more obvious to them and the friends they are showing it off to that it is indeed a computer.”

Jack needs to get out of state. He made a grid contact that can work on mass-producing the prototype Jack made after he finalized Babbage’s specs. But there are some design issues his “contact” has encountered and Jack needs to get into New Jersey to help with it. I really don’t want to get into this and I pushed him off to Ned – politely of course.

He’s not even allowed into Jersey now. Damn, I don’t think he realized how much of his freedom Maple Sap was going to cost him. Who would?

Catching up 2 – POV

When I got back to the office I thought the first thing I’d hear about was the status of Alpha, but instead it was about the subject I dread: Politics

There is some kind of court case against President Prescott going on and that seems to be the new excuse for an increase in crime in town and even in the green zone. The thing Adit and Kaitlin wanted me to know was that there was a curfew now in the green zone. They figured I wasn’t aware of that and I wasn’t.

The campus security is also especially twitchy now.

More importantly though Adit and Kaitlin let me in on their little secret: Using the tech that keeps Adit… umm… Adit (and not Rasa), they are able to share experiences.

They started working on this right after Adit got his upgrade.

If you want any proof that Orexinal was affecting my performance I think you need go no further than the fact that my two main technical resources had basically been working part time on the alpha project and full time on their own experiment, and I had no idea.

Much like how Kaitlin and Adit upgraded Adit so that all electrical activity is recorded and “played back” to trigger his memory, they now can record the specific frequencies of each brain reaction to stimuli and compare that to how another brain reacts to the same stimuli. They can then create a mapping table between the two.

The program would learn how I see blue, and it would learn how Adit sees blue. Then I could look at blue, and record my brain looking at blue and then upload that recording to Adit. He’d then see the blue. It isn’t a recording of the blue or even my brain’s reaction to the blue. It is my brain’s reaction to the blue mapped to Adit’s brain’s reaction to blue. It would be what I saw as if he saw it.

Adit and Kaitlin mapped different sensory experiences. Their reactions to colors, shapes, smells, sounds, lights, all were mapped. Then touch. And as they are intimate now… all touch. They can really “share the experience.”

So besides transsexuals it looks like if Hera and Zeus ever get into an argument about sex again they can ask Adit or Kaitlin rather than just relying on the answer Tiresias gave. And no, I did not ask either Kaitlin or Adit which sex enjoys sex the most. And given the difference in anatomy and thus the difference in neuron wiring to respond to feedback from said anatomy the shared experience can really only ever be an approximation.

Actually all sensations through this tech will just be approximations, but according to Adit even just watching TV from the point of view of the person sitting next to you blows away any sense of “self.” And coming from a man whose every memory is triggered by a computer program that is saying something.

Over some beers we discussed what to call this and though I personally thought Perceptitron was cool and retro, in the end we decided to call the tech POV (Point of View) and we decided not to tell Greystle… or anyone else.