As I look out into the electronically generated sunset, I think back to my childhood years. How simple things were with just a tiny little World Wide Web. A personal computer that one could turn on and off at will. The days when computers were tools and people did all the thinking. I think back and wonder why nobody saw what was happening.
It all started to happen so quickly. Personal computers became household items. Then there was internet and E-mail breakthroughs. It became commonplace to work from home over your PC and a phone line. Information was shared world-wide over the Internet, which allowed rapid movement of new technological information. Breakthrough after breakthrough resulted from the mind-sharing that began to occur.
Then the big hardware breakthroughs happened. The liquid chips allowed faster processing speeds than had ever before been possible. Scientists were on the verge of Artificial Intelligence. The new experiments simulated the thought processes of an ameba, but it was a start. These experimental prototypes could actually make independent decisions based on external stimuli. They didnt make great choices, but they were able to learn to a certain extent. They were by no means useful, but made interesting conversation pieces among the field leaders.
About this same time, genetic engineering was at its peak. Although scientists had previously failed to successfully clone primates (at least not without a few side affects), they continued their "gene-cooking" experiments aided by super computers hooked to electron microscopes. These computer had the power to splice and dice DNA with a few keystrokes. Through this amazing new technology, man would soon be able to detect and sometimes avoid genetically caused birth defects.
At first the clones that resulted from this experimentation were just mindless drones. They did as they were told and never questioned even the most detrimental orders that they were given. The Middle East took advantage of this by building armies of clones to fight their wars for them, while the "Nats" sat in the War Rooms and spewed out orders. Millions of clones littered the deserts and yet there was an endless source. Battles were waged for years, until people forgot what had caused them in the first place. After all, the only repercussion was that they had to create more "Tubers".
Although in places like the Middle East people were happy with their mindless drones and pointless squabbling, people in the rest of the world had higher expectations for this new technology, as well as the advancement of mankind in general.
Naturally computer technology continued to expand. Verbal interface not only became possible, it totally replaced everything else except the Virtual Reality interface. No longer were a keyboard and mouse used to give commands to the computer. One merely gave simple commands in whatever language the computer was set up to understand. Multi lingual computers were still a little off, but they soon became the standard for most public terminals. Using retinal scanning technology, one was able to access personal information and purchasing accounts. Although the debit/credit card had long since replaced physical currency, it too was now obsolete. When making a purchase, the register would ask the client for a retinal scan and ask which account would be used. Voice matching backed up the retinal scan, and the account was checked via the new World Net.
The World Net was amazing. Instead of telephone lines transferring data, the requests and answers were sent to a central hub, where it was broadcasted to satellites and information was returned the same way. People had become impatient with the old ways. Co-ax cables were tried, but never really caught on, as everyone had access to telephones throughout the world, but cable was not quite as common outside of North America. Due to Industry and Government backing, the World Net became a huge success, and wound up being much cheaper than the old Internet ways. Plus with broadcasting technology, Vid-Phones were finally usable. The common jumping between images was alleviated. The World had just reached a new peak in communication technology.
Meanwhile the DNA "Chefs" were getting involved with the computer industry. They decided to create a living chip. Although this was widely bashed by religious groups, the experimentation continued until the first prototype came out. It processed using low pulses of electricity, and used chemical reactions to do its decision making. It really didnt make any sense to anyone except the DNA guys, but it worked. Eventually they caught up to and passed the standard hardware producers.
Artificial Intelligence had been missing something key that was present in the new Bio-Chips. Suddenly self reliant machines were created. The were sub-atomically influenced to obey the Laws of Robots, not to hurt people and all of that stuff. They worked harder and better than human controlled machines ever had. They could actually notice flaws in whatever they were doing, and invent more efficient ways of acheiving their goals. Industry was the most obvious beneficiary of this newly found miracle. Production lines were made more efficient than ever. Flaws were caught well in advance of any detrimental affects. The BioBots could even detect errors in their own functionality, and they would get themselves fixed by stand-by BB Doctors, which gradually became an automated job. It seems the BioBots didnt care for the inefficient biologicals working on their precision elements. Fortunately they were never able to bypass or remove the MicroInfluencing that kept them from taking things over.
The BioBots started helping with research, too. As each new generation was produced, they became more insightful and imaginative than their creators. It was a BioBot Thinkhouse that perfected DNA manipulation. They started modifying their own designs, too. Now they were entirely independent entities. For many years they requested rights and equality to mankind. It was very controversial, and it probably wouldnt have hurt to just go ahead and give them what they requested. After all, They would never have done anything to harm another entity.
Eventually people would come around, but not before the BBs were able to cause major problems for humanity. Seeing as how they were now the masters of genetic DNA dicing and splicing, they could create anything their little bio-circuits desired. Due to World Congressional laws, they were not able to create anything that could pose a threat, either physically or biologically, they were able to do anything they could rationally justify. They started toying with human DNA and trying to bring out useful traits. Some were merely cosmetic and could be done to everyday people. Thus came the Cosmetic Genealogists. A person could go into a BioOrg Doctors Office and come out with different colored eyes or hair. Or perhaps they want a physical enhancement such as retractable claws for climbing, or a forked tongue for.., well they could get almost anything they wanted.
Soon the world was caught up in this great new fad. It was harmless enough at the time. But a generation later, those who succumbed to the fad realized the error of their ways. The DNA manipulation not only changed their appearance, it mutated them. Traits they had thought were "neat" when they were 21 years old, werent so neat when their children were stuck with it too. Kind of made a mother happy to have their child come home with just a tattoo or some body piercings.
They BBs hadnt stopped there though. Places needed to be explored, like the deepest coldest oceans and the far reaches of outer space. They manipulated DNA to create entirely new species of man. The first breed was appropriately named The Atlantians, after the legendary continent that sank into the sea. These new peoples could breathe underwater and withstand great pressures. They also were endowed with the ability to withstand extreme cold. There were even different breeds of Atlantians, which were categorized by the environment in which they were most comfortable. There were the Arctic-Atlantians who were able to withstand the Northernmost depths, and the Equatorials who were even quite comfortable in volcanic cracks as long as they could breath well. There were also various moderate breeds which preferred to be called Anglo-Atlantians after the human DNA they were created from and still resembled quit a bit.
This new race was inbred with an unreal curiosity. They explored and documented so much that had before been un-findable, entire libraries and research centers were made especially for them. Hundred of new animal breeds and plant life were discovered. Lost artifacts, thousands of years lost, were resurfaced and put into museums. It was a time of great history piecing. And the BBs were right there with the Atlantians, researching and documenting.
The BBs also created a race of humanoids especially for space exploration. This breed had no feet, but four hands instead. This made them quite adept at doing various tasks in outer space. They could keep from floating of with one or two of their hand, leaving the rest to accomplish whatever task they needed. Due to their DNA being developed especially for weightlessness, they also did not suffer from the typical problems that afflicted earlier space travelers. Unfortunately they were only able to live in near weightless conditions. This was probably better for them though, as they didnt deal with the day to day problem which afflicted the Atlantians and BBs.
A strong bond between the now almost human BBs (even in appearance) and the Atlantians. They treated each other like brothers, which was not they way they were treated by most humans. Humans began to fear both kinds, unless they actually knew some of them. Those who could avoid contact with them would, and this caused a rift in the species. Religious groups were the most prominent of these groups, shunning the BBs and Atlantians as "unholy demon spawn" and made claims that those who associated with them would surely be judged by the creator.
All the BBs wanted was to be seen as equals, as did the Atlantians. They werent segregated as the men of color were before the mid-1900s, but they were not welcome in most places. It was more a social issue than a legal issue, but it was still an issue. Neither breed could run for office, or own property on land. Even sea colonies were not really owned by the BBs or Atlantians. They were owned by corporations. The "sub"-species would find areas and build themselves dwellings, but they couldnt claim it as their own. A corporation could simply walk in with a deed and push them off.
There arose many groups who sided with the two Subs but it took decades of dispute to merge the groups. Eventually, even the Astronoids were granted Earthen Citizenship, although they could never enjoy it. Clone armies became banned years before, but the clones now enjoyed the same rights as Natural Humans.
Now as I sit here recalling this from my home on the far side of Pluto, I cant help wonder what the future holds. Technology has given me artificial light, genetically created companions and food, and a job overseeing the Astros Plutonian mining project. The first evidence of Life from beyond our galaxy has become apparent, but will we ever have the technology to talk to them, or visit them? Only the future will tell.