Human Operating System

“He who makes a machine of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” – TWM

Suppose you had an Operating System in your head. Walk with me for a second.

Just imagine, an artificial means of compartmentalizing your mind, augmenting your mental abilities and boosting your memory tenfold. (More expansion would of course mean greater abilities but at the eventual risk of sacrificing your sense of your identity, and maybe even your sanity.) Rigorous mental testing would be required of a candidate before even the most basic OS could be installed, and obviously this type of procedure wouldn’t be for just anyone.

I know the idea was ‘touched upon’ in Johnny Mnemonic, and sort of ‘danced around’ in The Matrix, and a few other movies as well, but I want to look more in depth at those ideas. Pick apart the details, and see where they lead.

Imagine: never forgetting another birthday, anniversary or phone number. Imagine having perfect recall.

Possible outcome: your mother loves you, and your Special Lady Friend thinks you’re the cat’s nightwear because you remembered her favorite wine when you stopped by to cook her a four course meal from memory. Also, you kick ass at Jeopardy.


Imagine: you can store lots and lots of hard date in your head, the kind of data that makes enemies of powerful people. You can store it on your very own encrypted cloud, and decide who to piss off first.

Possible outcome: your mega-memory makes you persona non gratis in Las Vegas. Predictably, you receive the full attention of the ‘black bag alphabet’. Seems like they want to turn everything into a weapon, don’t they? Think about when Stargate first came out on the big screen. A few months later, the toys came out. Now, think back to the movie again. Did James Spader’s nice guy character have a Death Ray? No. No, he did not.

Imagine: while shopping for groceries, you reach for the half pint of Ben & Jerry’s Butter Pecan. The OS literally would halt your hand, reminding you in a voice that you customized yourself of the voluntary constraint you placed on yourself to avoid dairy while training for your first marathon. It would guide you with as firm or as gentle a hand as you desired; you could manually override the ‘No Ice Cream’ order, but you’d only be cheating yourself. And cheaters never prosper.

Possible outcome: you boost the physical fitness controls to ‘psychotic’, obey your every order to the letter, eat like a ferret, workout like a fiend and live your life as though balanced on the edge of a razor, because you know how to do things right!

Imagine: you’re having dinner at a restaurant with friends and an attractive stranger catches your eye, one who just happens to be using the same OS. Because you’re both on the same grid, your respective Operating Systems confer, exchange stats and preferences, and determine that a romantic relationship would have a 69.5 percent chance of failure. You smile at the stranger once again before turning your attention back to the conversation.

Possible outcome: congratulations, you just saved yourself six weeks of needless heartache and a few hundred bucks worth of therapy. (Wait, was I talking out loud again?) Meanwhile, your OS will continue to search on and off the grid for potential partners according to the standards you ordered, and discretely point them out to you. No more guess work.

Imagine: you fill your memory with valuable protocol information and become an administrative sidearm to the global and business elite, a high-powered ‘Jeeves’ whose precise attention to detail is much sought after. Languages become child’s play. Poetry recital, doubly so. A protocol master such as yourself knows the best possible response for every conceivable situation, whether it’s choosing the right wine, or dining with the Queen.

Possible outcome: versed in business etiquette to the nth degree, your manners would be beyond reproach.

Important delusional scenario: an extremely intense negotiation is taking place in a matter of hours in the middle of downtown Tokyo, and the CEO of SuperDuperCorp thinks maybe his team isn’t up to the task. Your phone rings in the middle of the night. You are flown in a private to jet Japan, whisked by helicopter to the rooftop of the building, and escorted straight to the boardroom in time for the negotiations. You reviewed the respective offers on your ride over in the helicopter, and you can see the problem. You speak the languages, you see the big picture, and you’ve got serious church bells.

Imagine: your brain now functions on a level above 97 percent of the world’s population, capable of organizing vast amounts of complex data in ways your gray old thing never could – gone are the days of writing things down or taking notes. Your OS gives you all-the-time mental agility of Jackie Chan after drinking a two-liter of Red Bull. There is no ‘up’ or ‘down’. Your brain is ‘on’ until you decide to turn it ‘off’.

Possible Outcome: (Somewhere in my enthusiasm of planning and writing my way through this idea, I neglected to consider that this OS might just give you one hell of an aneurysm. I feel certain this will come back and bite me in the ass.)

Downside: can you get locked out of your own technology? I mean, think about the last time you were at a bar having some drinks, and you took your friend’s cell phone and set his language preference to Arabic. Amusing! Now suppose that while you were making changes to the ‘feel’ and ‘accessibility’ of your OS, you accidentally locked your ‘self’ out. Would you simply be stuck offline in Meatland, or dumped into some kind of ‘demo loop’ within the OS until it recognized you were no longer at the wheel and rebooted to let you back in? Or would you have to raise your hand and ask the IT guy to help you?

And just think of the apps!



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