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.

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