Beyond the Coming Age Of Networked Matter  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

Boing Boing has a new (and totally off topic) short story from Bruce Sterling - patron saint of Peak Energy - BEYOND THE COMING AGE OF NETWORKED MATTER.

Bee brains lacked much processing power. Just enough hardware in there to run a high-level bee-dance language where the bees could clue each other in about tasty matter resources. Adrienne had mocked this system up on a whiteboard with boxes and arrows. Julio had coded it with open-source modules.

Then they’d created these 3Dprinted plastic “bee puppets.” Their fake plastic Maker bees were, like, awesomely effective at bee dancing. Their robot bees, set dancing by Arduino, were basically Trojan Bees. They had gotten root in the hive. They had powned the hive colony superorganism. Those bees would do whatever the hackers wanted.

“Their bee-swarm pitch is out of this world!” I told Crawferd. “I can’t believe I haven’t seen this idea before!”

The Maker kids ramped up to their triumphant climax. Being new to California, they’d noticed all the window-box marijuana plants. They’d hacked their bees to go out to forage for dope pollen.

They showed the camera their existence proof: a double fistful of honey-drenched Silicon Valley hashish.

Then little Adrienne and Julio modestly asked the public for twenty grand to go 3Dprint some beehives, so they could issue some royal-jelly marijuana prescriptions. A business-model screwup that was total facepalm. Of course their Kickstarter had exploded. Just gone ballistic. It had blown past twelve million USD in capital and was heading north at high speed.

“You have created a monster,” I told Crawferd. “I can see why you’re so upset now. This is not even funny. Where are those crazy kids? They’re gonna need to lawyer up.”

“They’re no longer with me,” muttered Crawferd. “That’s the bad part. That’s why I’m hiding in here.”

“So where’d they run off to?”

Crawferd toyed guiltily with the hopelessly tangled power cord of his phablet. “It’s worse than that.”

“It’s worse than drugs? They’re busted?”

“Sort of. Worse!”

“They’re kidnapped? Mexican marijuana mob? Paramilitary? Body bags, they’re hanging from an overpass?”

“Lots worse. Totally worse than that. That’s kid stuff compared to what happened.”

“Knock it off with the eldritch, nebulous hints, Crawferd! Put it in words of one syllable!”

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