Dr. Big Brother
I ordered steak. The menu item blinked in red twice in my digital lens but I didn’t care. I was very hungry and I love meat. Since it became possible to merge our genomic data with health records in the cloud synchronized with each and every digital device, choosing food has turned into a stressful activity. They wanted to tell me what and when to eat and it has made me crazy. They knew better what me and especially my body needed.
My grandfather told me that back in the day nobody knew what the hell you were eating. You just went to a restaurant, ordered and finished your meal. Simple as that. I know they died from a lot of diseases without any foreseeable signs but still. That freedom of choice is special.
I don’t even understand why we bother to eat at all today. Just choose whatever is tailored to me and bring it in a powder or something. It’s not worth the effort when it’s so expensive to eat less healthy foods or choose what is out of my metabolic bounds.
Sometimes I wish I were in the old ages with infections, sudden deaths, and short lifespans. But man, going out to eat whatever you want must have been a hell of an experience. I get back to my steak, which is obviously artificial but might taste like those dishes my grandfather used to tell me until he passed away in my 90s.
I’m sitting in my favorite spot. Fluffy, green grass below me on the top of the hill that looks down on Japanese monasteries. Trees are all around and the wind is softly blowing. Just the right temperature at just the best time of the day in the early morning hours. I’m not cold or hot yet the Sun is shining gorgeously. I love spending time here. That’s the only place where I feel calm and my mind is still energized. I come here whenever I can, which doesn’t happen often nowadays. This place has a special meaning to me as I never made it to Japan. Well, I never will…
My mask just became transparent and electrodes were released from my skin. I guess my time is over. There is no calm sound of the gentle wind but the constant buzzing of ventilators. I don’t even hear them anymore unless I get back from my virtual sessions. It’s room temperature, there is artificial light and there is no grass just the metal floor below me. Exactly what you would expect from the interiors of a spaceship. Long corridors, narrow spaces, and small rooms. It makes me feel I don’t belong here.
When everyone and everything you know is years away from you, it’s hard to keep it together. These virtual sessions I use for meditation are the only things that keep me sane during the long flight. You have your chores but it takes more to satisfy a curious human being like me. I have been bonding with the robots on board and I can have sessions with my loved ones at home. I can wait 20 minutes for a response. We signed up for the greatest mission of humanity thus we mustn’t be weak. Yet, I hope we don’t lose what makes us human on the way. I hope we create green hills, clouds, and trees on the Red Planet.
If we cannot make it happen, if Mars remains a pile of stones without a soul, we will pretend it has one so we will belong there. Just like at home. History shows we are good at pretending.
The Diagnosis Game
As soon as I saw the charts on my digital lens, I knew that would be a complicated case. The symptoms were rare and it just didn’t add up. Before the patient arrived at our ward, we had already discussed every potential diagnosis that popped up in our minds. We knew we needed help.
While the patient was admitted to the OR, I uploaded the case to the cloud, which was a quick process because of the new control with new hand gestures. My lens recorded everything blurring out the patient’s face for privacy, and the digital network of colleagues around the world jumped right on it.
By the time we determined the patient’s status, the first ideas came in and one of them seemed particularly matching. That Japanese physician had the same case a while ago. I projected his holographic image into the OR so we could discuss it live. During the short discussion, he dropped a few guidelines his artificial intelligence assistant found and we could feed our system with it.
The treatment was on the way but my lens started projecting data into my vision. A new patient just got admitted. It seemed to be a tricky case too.