If you are a Gartner Business Intelligence Member, you likely received an email for their research contest where the winner draws a free pass to the conference. I wanted to share with you my entry. I rest assured I have broken some of the rules or done something that will disqualify me, but I wanted to share it for fun, maybe 30 minutes of brain dump which may be worth nothing but the creativity applied to writing it…this is entirely my own work. It is totally fiction. While nearly real places and entities are used, they are for reference points, make no implication of any endorsement or criticism.
It figures. It took until 2017 for society to go cashless. It took until 2018 for governments to admit we really didn’t have much privacy, which heralded the route for Digiamedico to fully bioprint us by 2020 – for our safety. Then, the world’s largest data theft occurs. Research has taken us to the point where we ourselves have become engineered – and it wasn’t just bank accounts, this theft was the essence of 10 mm individuals.
It’s 2025; Ali and some of his colleagues were in what is now referred to as “The Breach.” It doesn’t need a year, everyone knows it, no matter what language you speak. While hackers were continuously assaulting the financial systems, the digitization of money, communications and medicine was what led to an unprecedented “identity” theft.
The thieves didn’t make demands. They had no intention of having a bidding war on the DNA and full lives of people. They were going to “engineer out illness, program for smart and healthy, prevent obesity, diabetes and cancer.” They were going to “create a race of super-smart people – reconstructing at the cellular level – the identities of the smartest people on the planet.” Then, slowly, they would release them back into society. They would be part cyborg, sure, but then who wasn’t these days? We’d added intelligence to knees, hips, shoulders, hearts, ears, and finally the pancreas, once the guys at Doka Med started 3D printing body parts for real. And at one time we tried to outlaw performance enhancing steroids in sports. It seems quaint now when any player could be rehabbed and put back out with exo- or endo-skeletal jewelry in the space of weeks not months. Once we had the means to enhance our bodies, were our minds to take long to follow?
So it was that right outside of Cambridge (Mass), Oxford, Rotterdam, Taipei, San Jose and other meccas of intellect that the Borg (it was funny in a trite sort of way, and played well in the infinite news stories) set up shop. Their real base of operations was a satellite which was seemingly taken offline from a solar storm, and directed from Romania. After combing through over a zetabyte of records and samples, and hacking every major government, they started stealing people’s complete identities, down to the healthiest, smartest individuals. They stole Stephen Hawkings, but he was the exception, not the rule. He took it with more good humor than most.
Being able to assemble a human being from its component parts isn’t all that hard anymore. The data needed to be reassembled after decrypting it from ecdh-84 and a host of other new standards. Then they wormholed into Council Bluffs and started stealing capacity in wee increments. When Bryan, the CEO of the world’s largest data center, declared it was impossible, he misspoke. Yet, a culture and a set of governments so intent on spying on their citizenry absolutely made it easy. Some hacker was bound to want to say “screw you.”
Now, Ali faced the bigger problem. Finding himself in the new world – literally. The thieves weren’t shy about letting you know when they released the new you, but they wouldn’t tell you where. (Pride is still the biggest sin.) He kissed his wife goodbye, activated the black market trackers in the roof of his mouth and between two of his toes and left. Not knowing if he would come back.
He met with Aya and Martin at their own hub, they were among the fifty-two affected MAT students and alum who set up their own secret center. With resources from DARPA, a few data savvy governments and Anonymous (who had fractured as parts of the group were also parts of the Borg) they began. Using the patterns he had established all his life – what kind of company he’d work for and what role he’d take. How far he was willing to live from work, what he bought at the market, what he looked for in a vehicle, how he picked a place to live…the team started to reconstruct Ali’s life through digital records. His entire health history (including his carpal tunnel disorder – did they fix that in the new him?)
The MAT doctors introduced a slight new mutation into his DNA. It wouldn’t affect his 150 year lifespan but at 77, he wasn’t sure how much he should care, he was in his prime and undetectable, as much as anyone can be these days. He was banking on the fact that hopefully, they could not still see him as well as they could in the days before they stole his life. He’d spent weeks going back through everything to re-engineer and rework himself; witness protection plus… Within 63 days, the team had located 15 potential versions of him, including the algorithm’s most likely candidate eating curry 3 miles away.
He walked out – ran out – really. There, near in the shadow buildings reflecting their green status on skinned meters on their surface and guided electric bikes displaying calories burned, he searched for the location using his Google glasses, synched to his own original DNA. The onslaught of other noisy data was tuned out by focus. “He” was dialing a call on his hand when Ali walked up. Ali gripped the 3D printed gun in his pocket. He released it, sat down, and asked why. Only in humanity can we continue to find answers.
Again guys, totally fiction. I have the utmost respect for science and technology, which is like stating the obvious since that’s kind of how I spend my life and livelihood. Science and tech and the companies who pursue them are truly advancing the world. Any fault or mischaracterization is all mine, but please forgive it for the sake a little exploratory thought. Also, please note that for the most part I think hacking is not used for ill, but to solve big problems. It is simply used here to make a point. -c-
Here was the ask (and the link) if you’re interested. Also, you can contact @FrankBuytendijk