The Cognitive Life

Almost every person living in the Atlantic Federation, Pacific Rim Coalition, and the western/Russian provinces of the Eurasian Alliance (commonly known as the First World) has a Personal Accessory Network. In the EuroZone and Eurasian Alliance, these are less prominent and as dominant as those of the AmeroZone or Nippon. The PAN is the cognitive fingerprint of an individual, and a major factor in the day to day experience of their life.

1. The Heart

The Cathex is the heart of the PAN, and it's central control system. All of the gadgets, devices, and non-critical cyberware an individual has is routed through the Cathex, which itself, is hosted in the MUSE handheld that almost every citizen owns. The cathex functions as the overseer of the network, and the liaison between the cognitive machine network and the human/sentient that has use of it.

In the general vein of science fiction, the Cathex is the 'ship's computer' that everyone talks to, and almost never interact with through an actual computer terminal. In the Cosmic Era, most people talk their their smart devices rather than peck at them with their fingers. As mentioned in the Cathex submission, the synthetic intelligences behind the system are capable of learning, and through their data gathering abilities, are able to anticipate their owners needs, wants, and desires.

2. The SmartHome

The personal quarters of the Cosmic Era (first world) are much different from those of the Petroleum Era. With the transition into arcologies and megacities, people occupy apartments rather than homes, and these quarters are optimized for utility and elimination of redundancy. These homes have easily a dozen smart devices in them, ranging from the entertainment center, to the SmartBed. These devices all mesh together to support the lifestyle of the user, and many of these systems run on 'SubCon' programming. The user themselves never actually input any settings on them, but rather they respond to the biometrics and preferences of the user as determined by observation.

There are aspects of the Petrol era lifestyle that are seen as bizarre, wasteful, or barbaric to the average CE resident. There are no grocery stores, no sundry stores, and no department stores. Some durable goods have show rooms, but items are made to order, and the majority of consumables are handled via a local production and delivery system. The shopping list is compiled by a machine, the order is fulfilled by another machine, and delivered by a third. This generally follows with most any essential and consumable purchase, and slightly less so with discretionary purchases.

3. The Hands of the Machine

The majority of homes in the Petrol era own a vehicle, or have ready access to one. In the Cosmic Era, this has shifted from a vehicle to ownership of a domestic automaton. This can be an affordable expy or auton, or it can be a much more expensive, much more comprehensive function droid. This droid handles the cleaning, general maintenance and upkeep, food preparation, and emergency notifications in each household. Some household cathexes are proxied through the domestic droid, so that the heart of the PAN has a face, hands, and physical mannerisms, while others have their own distinct personality. This largely depends on the preference of the user. It is not uncommon for larger domestic quarters (such as large or extended family) to have more than one domestic droid.

Variations of the domestic droid exist, with the companion droid being the most common. Other types include specialized healthcare droids, child care droids, and guest/entertainment droids.

4. The Entertainment Center

Largely considered the center of any home, the Entertainment Center holds command of the living quarters of a home. The EC makes use of a number of screens through the home to function in the same manner as screenery in the greater arcology space. In passive mode it will function like a series of windows in a unit to create the appearance of room and depth. In an active mode it functions like a typical touchscreen system, just much larger and at almost impossible to tell from life level clarity and image quality. The EC can stream news feeds, play the non-immersive content of news, programs and entertainment feeds, carry emergency information, and function as a facetime communication system. The screens are scattered through each unit, with the main viewing area (and general location of the S3 headgear station) the screens will occupy an entire wall.

5. The Social Media Zone

Born in the 21st Century, Social Media and social news changed the way people interacted with new agencies and outlets. Prior to the SocMed, the news was filtered through large news agencies, then distributed through news anchors from behind desks, and through newspapers and magazines. These concepts fell away as the Blog took precedence over the new report, and rather than covering many broad topics, the blog based social media news outlets became very focused in the news they reported. Thus, a person could cultivate the news network they wanted, one that answered their interests and conformed to their personal bias. This quickly bled out into the rest of the life of the Cosmic Era resident.

Through the use of SocMed profiling and data tracking, people have advertising targeted with laser like precision, often to the point that the goods or services being offered can basically access their credit line and go ahead and authorize the purchase of their particular offerings with little consequence. With the military precision of the algorithms, the chance of people being unhappy with the offerings is typically microscopic. The same goes with entertainment, most entertainment centers are profiled to their users to give 3-5 selections based off the user's preferences and biometrics at the moment, rather than opening the entire menu of tens of thousands of choices. Dating sites function in the same manner, and it is fairly common for 'the system' to start pairing individuals up when they enter the biometric readings of wanting a significant other/others and or children.

There is a point where some people begin to wonder if the machines, if the algorithms and computers serve the population or control it. This is considered an early symptom of Emotional Disruption Syndrome.

6. The Biometric Implant

The gesund auf is typically implanted shortly after birth, through the fontanel, the soft spot in the skull before the bones affix themselves. It is a tiny device, not much more than a few microsensors and detectors and an energy capture system that allows the device to be powered by bloodflow. It measures the minute to minute vitals of the host, and for the most part is used to alert emergency services of the person being in distress or facing a lethal medical event like a stroke or a heart attack. It has other functions such as integrating with the MUSE system and communicating data to the core program of the device. This creates a biometric fingerprint keeping others from using the network of an individual without actually being them. It also functions as a tracking system, a health monitoring system, and a behavior system.

There are rumors and conspiracies about just what a biometric sensor can do. Most of the theories are just crackpots and conspiracists, and patently not true. A gesund auf cannot change memories, cannot implant suggests, affect mind control, alter behavior, influence sexuality, enforce subservience to authority, and the rest of the charges against it. It's intrusion into normal life is much more insidious and perverse because it monitors what you do. It knows when the body chemistry changes because of drug use, because of eating too much, it knows when you are having sex, when you are stressed, and when you are happy. It is a human black box of biometric information. The real crime? That data is often sold to other people for their own interests. A person with an addictive behavior pattern is likely to be a good mark for gambling, or drug addiction. An impulsive person is more valuable to advertizers, and so forth.

Are your readings becoming frustrated and aroused, the auf will tell the MUSE, the muse with run data through the dating system, and then you have a date lined up. Relationship not working, too emotional but lack the guts to break it off, too many stress events and the Cathex will activate and do it for you. It will probably even use your likeness and voice to do it.

7. The Central Data Center

The Central Data Center is the collective hub where data from millions of Cathexes is collected, compiled, and analyzed. The moods, interests, and general composure of the population is extrapolated from the data, trends are noted, negative patterns are marked, and the Daily Discourse is modified to follow this. In instances where the general consent is shifting away from the desired direction, steps are taken to adjust cultural course, so that the population remains content with the status quo, distracted by celebrity scandals, and in a general condition to not be a strain on the infrastructure, and not asking too many questions of those in power, and about those who are in power.

The thing about the governments and the megacorps in power is that through their ability to compile and examine tons of raw data, emotional information, and to generate projections from them, they know the will of the people before the people even know what their will is. Humanity is a river, and attempting to stop it is doomed to fail, but like a river, it's flow can easily be directed, it's inertia put to productive use, and it runs very predictably. Individuals might be hard to handle, but millions are easy to control.

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