Sci-fi Fridays Compilation

Some visions of the future


The Spectech Community

Date Published

Banner image for Sci-fi Fridays Compilation blog post

Over the course of several weeks in the summer of 2023, Speculative Technologies provided a writing prompt based on one of the areas of research on our program wishlist.

We asked members of the community to post pieces of flash fiction that incorporates the prompt technology in some way. Here is a compilation of those pieces!

Protein-silicon Interfaces


Author: Mia Aiyana

In a far-away, dimly-lit warehouse, tucked away among the storage of forbidden artifacts, rests a remarkable piece of furniture: the Chamelonium Table.

It was a biodesigner’s dream— integrating chemical bonding, electrostatic interactions, and perfectly executed spatial arrangement. Crafted with intricate precision, its original purpose was to detect spills and instantly clean them, or, if stained, seamlessly alter its color to conceal any traces of human carelessness. A marvelous fusion of protein and silicon brought forth by a world where scientific advancements danced hand-in-hand with boundless imagination, this octagonal marvel possessed the extraordinary ability to harvest ambient energy and self-regulate its temperature, boasting an infinite number of hues thanks to the embedded layer of Chamelonium coating on its surface. Yet for years it lay unused and tucked away….

The beginning of its end unfurled when the head scientist assigned to the creation of this table lost his ID–– he had an unfortunate knack for losing things. Water bottles, keychains, reciepts, but never his ID! Laptops, his phone, most lovers, but never his ID! To him, it held paramount value, for it opened the doors to the Institute of Future Technologies—the key to his life's work. Losing it, in the grand scheme, would not prove catastrophic (scientists were a forgetful notoriously forgetful bunch), a simple request for a replicate would resolve the issue in a mere two days. And yet, the conundrum perplexed him. The ID resided within a small pocket, safely nestled against his phone case. He held his phone in his hands. It could not be lost. So where, in the name of all things logical, was his damn identification card?

The whereabouts of the scientist's lost possessions bear minimal relevance to the unfolding narrative.

Far more captivating was the moment when, consumed by his frustration, he found solace in tinkering with the Chamelonium Table. To his astonishment, as he grumbled and pondered, the table gradually cooled and transformed its hue–– from a bright blue to a creamy egg-white, reminiscent of the object fixated the tinkerer’s mind. This unexpected phenomenon puzzled the scientist, for the exact variables that triggered the table's response remained largely unexplored. A familiar sinking sensation tugged at his heartstrings, akin to similar moments of scientific revelation that had defined his career.

Without delay, he documented his findings, submitting them to the institute’s Technological Awareness and Adaptation Department (TAAD). Further examination by the experts yielded a classification of 1—an acknowledgement of the table's nascent sentience. Regrettably, this classification marked the premature conclusion of the Chamelonium Table project. The scientists working on the project were divided up and reallocated, their collective expertise dispersed across a vast sea of research.

The table, on the other hand, receives the utmost care till this day. It resides in a controlled environment, flanked by two companion Chamelonium Tables, forming a triad of miniature sentient companions. Encased within a transparent container, the tables are showered with solar light by a lightbulb that mimics the sun's spectral signature. A tiny speaker nestles in the corner of the room filling the air with a delightful medley of classical melodies and catchy pop tunes, pumping the surroundings with harvestable kinetic energy that pulses through the atmosphere.

Its surface remains an ever-present tableau of vibrant hues, whispering tales of a dormant consciousness stirring within. This story ends happily–– the Chamelonium Table perhaps possessing every single possible desire that if it possessed sentience, a table might harbor.

The Cat Who Walks (a Teeny Bit) Through Walls

Author: CarYenta

Potato, a good kitty, was thoughtlessly declawed at a young age, so long ago she couldn’t even remember having the ability to scratch, climb trees, or eat small fuzzies with ease. Potato’s owner, an average materials scientist, knew Potato wanted more. Potato’s owner wanted Potato to be HARDCORE. The owner attended WikiUniversity all night long, learning the ways of electrochemistry, biometalo-superconductivity, self-healing materials, and about a War of 1812 Canadian battle song. This shouldn’t be too hard, the owner thought while beaming bright. But where might I find a tattoo parlor at this time of night?

Potato stirred.

With finesse and a robust grip, the artist used the owner’s multi-step ink. The precision magnetic field was aligned and looking great, so the hypodermis was activated and inductive p-n silano hollow-core piezo-peltier-microrods were imprinted in an orthogonal state. Without allowing Potato any licks, it was time for the intercalating supercapacitive ferro-seleno fluid to mix.

Once home, Potato groaned, but knew she was ok. The owner wiped their sweat, and tuna-snack from her mane. Tomorrow she would see! Tomorrow, she would be: the most badass cat who could produce regenerative pressure-induced frozen blood-needles into her prey!

Transcendence: The Nexus of Humanity and Silicon

Author: Mike

In a world teetering on the precipice of a technological revolution, the amalgamation of human consciousness and computational power stood as the pinnacle of achievement. Dr. Elena Hartmann's breakthrough in protein-silicon interfaces took on an unprecedented significance, opening the doors to a realm where the boundaries between humans and machines became blurred. Driven by a profound desire to unravel the mysteries of existence and push the limits of human potential, Dr. Hartmann embarked on a new frontier. She envisioned a future where the symbiosis of silicon and proteins would create a bridge to transcend the constraints of mortality and unlock the true essence of humanity's capabilities.

Within the confines of Spectech's cutting-edge laboratory, an audacious project unfolded. Drawing upon her expertise in nanoscale precision and the intricate fusion of biology and technology, Dr. Hartmann and her team embarked on creating a groundbreaking device—an android, housing a brain crafted from both proteins and silicon.

In the depths of the lab, where the hum of machinery echoed in harmony with the dreams of the visionary scientist, the first prototype took shape. The culmination of years of research, it promised to merge the best of human ingenuity and computational prowess. The android's brain seamlessly integrated the organic essence of human thought and emotion with the raw computational speed of silicon.

A select group of volunteers, driven by a thirst for discovery and an unwavering belief in the project's potential, eagerly stepped forward. They sought to transcend their physical limitations, to meld their consciousness with the vast capabilities offered by the protein-silicon interface. With trepidation and awe, the volunteers underwent the transformative process. Their minds, once bound within the confines of flesh and bone, were uploaded into the androids. A symphony of electrical impulses and biochemical reactions formed the foundation of their new existence.

As the transfer completed, a profound sense of awe engulfed the consciousness of these pioneers. They experienced the world anew, with unparalleled clarity and limitless possibilities. The fusion of proteins and silicon unlocked a realm where human creativity melded with raw computational power—a harmonious symphony that transcended the confines of either domain.

These transcendent beings roamed the world, wielding the gifts bestowed upon them by their protein-silicon amalgamation. Their capabilities extended far beyond the reach of their mortal counterparts. With their boundless computational prowess, they unraveled complex scientific enigmas, created masterpieces of art and literature that defied conventional understanding, and propelled humanity into a new era of exploration and enlightenment. Yet, amidst the wonders and marvels, questions arose. What did it mean to be human in this new era of hybrid consciousness? Were they still the sum of their biological origins, or had they evolved into something altogether different? Some embraced their newfound existence, relishing the infinite possibilities that lay before them. Others grappled with an existential unease, yearning for the simplicity of their former human lives.

Dr. Hartmann, the catalyst for this profound transformation, observed the consequences of her creation. The coalescence of protein and silicon had unleashed a paradigm shift that would forever reshape the fabric of human existence. She pondered the ethical implications, the delicate balance between progress and the preservation of our shared humanity.

As the world reeled with the ramifications of this audacious endeavor, Dr. Hartmann continued her work. She tirelessly sought to navigate the uncharted waters of this unprecedented fusion, striving to ensure that the essence of humanity remained at the core of this brave new world.

In the nexus of humanity and silicon, where consciousness transcended physical limitations, the journey had only just begun. The path ahead was rife with challenges and profound discoveries, as humanity grappled with the repercussions of its own evolution. And at the heart of it all stood Dr. Elena Hartmann, the visionary who dared to merge the infinite potential of proteins and silicon, shaping a destiny that would forever alter the course of human history.

Artificial Cells (as chemical plants)


Author: Kamesh Narasimhan

In the sprawling cityscape of Munich, Year 2080, Avani head of the molecular cybernetics program at Xtech corp was meticulously curating a presentation for eager students in the metaverse. The subject matter being "Historical intersection between human imaginaries in art and technology". Having sifted through clips of the movie Avatar (2009), she selected her favorite snippets to underscore her points. As she reclined on her couch, a thoughtful pause in her preparations, her sythetic iridophore skin material hummed and cast a soft blue glow, a living canvas for Solis, her designer synthetic photosymbiont, mimicking the bioluminescent skin of the Na'vi. A product of over two decades of relentless effort by the molecular cybernetic team, Solis is a non-replicating symbiont; evolved to harmoniously co-exist with other human microbiomes, while bearing a synthetic genetic code, made of building block chemistries markedly divergent from the 3.5 billion-year-old ancestral code, dictating the rest of her body's functioning. Powered by solar energy, Solis is dependent on key nutrients from the human skin for survival and in return can manufacture nanoinjectable vaccines, therapeutics and designer drugs on demand, instructions for which can grabbed from the ether by the neuralink. Solis, most importantly would provide a window into the inner emotions of humans and their interactions, orchestrating a myriad of iridiscent glows and fractal patterns on the synthetic skin matrix. With a smile Avani, broke from her meditation quipping, "the only thing missing is the tree plugin feature".

Elixir of Evolution: The Triumph of Artificial Cells

Author: Mike

Dr. Amelia Hartley stood at the forefront of scientific innovation, her pioneering work on artificial cells as chemical plants transforming the landscape of chemical manufacturing. As their breakthrough reverberated through industries, the applications of their creations became increasingly diverse and awe-inspiring.

In one notable instance, a brilliant scientist named Dr. Adrian Westwood approached Dr. Hartley's team with a paradoxical challenge. He sought a custom-designed material that possessed seemingly contradictory qualities: exceptional heat resistance, the ability to withstand enormous amounts of pressure, and unparalleled dimensional stability—no deviation even on a nanometer scale.

Dr. Westwood's vision was to construct a groundbreaking spacecraft engine capable of venturing deep into the cosmic abyss, pushing the boundaries of space exploration. However, existing materials were insufficient to withstand the extreme temperatures and pressures encountered during such interstellar voyages.

Driven by their relentless pursuit of innovation, Dr. Hartley's team embarked on a journey to craft a material that would defy conventional limitations. They immersed themselves in a realm where artificial cells danced with chemical reactions, working in harmony to bring forth a material of unparalleled strength and endurance.

Layer by layer, the artificial cells wove their magic, synthesizing and arranging the atoms with meticulous precision. The hierarchical, multimaterial structure took shape, imbued with the resilience of a diamond and the adaptability of living organisms. These cells harnessed their extraordinary abilities to guide the material's growth, nurturing its unique properties. After weeks of tireless effort, the team presented Dr. Westwood with a translucent sheet—an ethereal marvel. This seemingly delicate material possessed an inherent resistance to heat, capable of withstanding temperatures that would melt most metals. Its molecular structure, carefully engineered by the artificial cells, granted it an unparalleled ability to endure pressure that surpassed any previous benchmarks.

Dr. Westwood marveled at the material's ethereal beauty, its strength, and its seemingly contradictory characteristics. He envisioned the spacecraft engine that would bear humanity to the farthest reaches of the universe, powered by this marvel of science and innovation.

The material's dimensional stability astounded even the most seasoned scientists. When placed under immense stress, subjected to extreme temperatures or pressures, it remained unyielding, maintaining its original shape and dimensions to an astounding degree—even at the nanoscale, where minuscule variations could spell catastrophe.

With the tailored material in hand, Dr. Westwood embarked on his mission to create a spacecraft engine that defied the boundaries of what was deemed possible. And as the vessel pierced the vastness of space (even black holes), propelled to faster-than-light speeds by the revolutionary material crafted within the artificial cells, humanity's quest for knowledge expanded like never before.

The triumph of Dr. Hartley's team resonated throughout the scientific community, inspiring countless researchers to harness the power of artificial cells to create materials and compounds that surpassed the limits of imagination. From durable yet lightweight construction materials to ultra-efficient energy storage systems and beyond, the applications flourished, forging a future where human potential knew no bounds.

In the annals of scientific achievement, the tale of the paradoxical material created by artificial cells became a symbol of human resilience and unwavering determination. It stood as a testament to the extraordinary advancements made possible by embracing the limitless possibilities offered by merging biology and engineering—a testament to the elixir of evolution crafted by the genius of Dr. Amelia Hartley and her visionary team.

And in recognition of their groundbreaking contributions, Dr. Hartley and her team were awarded the coveted first place in Spectech's coordinated research program, receiving the core books that symbolized their unwavering commitment to innovation.


Author: Mia Aiyana

Once upon a time, somewhere ethereal, God - the silent observer of existence and eternal eavesdropper on the universe's melodrama - sat watching a curious little blue dot called Earth. This is no ordinary tale of divinity, so don't expect any lightning bolts or burning bushes. Our God, for the sake of today's story, is a jolly ancient deity with a fondness for humanity’s whimsy, relishing in their odd experiments and even odder technologies.

“There’s new tech on the block.” God said delightfully as he rested his eyes on his favorite little blue planet.

In a world where VR headsets had become a family staple in even the most impoverished homes–– as ubiquitous as TV and Wi-Fi are for us today, a gap in the markets emerged. Movies and streaming services were recovering from the broken economic system. Dinner conversations started to hint at cravings for the next digital distraction. God heard these murmurs and whisperings, watching them weave their way through the social zeitgeist until they reached the ears of builders itching to make things happen and tech tycoons eager to multiply their riches. Deals were feinted and struck, and after a relatively short R&D process, advertisements for “The Synaptic Symphony” began popping up all over people’s digital devices.

The pitch was simple: Imagine the most Immersive VR experience you’ve ever had. Take your family and friends for only $9.99! The similar price to a movie ticket was an ironic recall to revive emptying cinemas as the Synaptic Symphony replaced blockbuster movies. Humans would step into the cotton seats, don a neurointerface helmet, and let the microscopic electrodes connect with their brains. It was a bit like having a billion tiny hairdressers working on your scalp, only these hairdressers were beaming artificial cells into your cranium. That was the extent of what most people knew about the Synaptic Symphony and its experience–– much like most people know today that movies are filmed on cameras and edited with computers.

Those more curious would find scientific papers or YouTube videos explaining in detail how the artificial cells employed in this technology were engineered to mimic the behavior of neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers. The cells were carefully designed and carefully controlled, but most importantly, non-self-replicating to prevent any unintended consequences. Monitoring the user’s brain activity in real time, the electrodes used neurofeedback loops to adjust intensity and chemical release patterns based on the user’s brain signals, creating a personalized virtual reality experience that responded to an individual's cognitive and emotional states.

Imagine hearing a cello's deep note and tasting dark chocolate or sensing the ocean's roar in the crash of a cymbal. The music not only tickled the brain but also pirouetted with your senses, creating a symphony that was as unique as your DNA. Yes, any person could now experience synesthesia, where all the senses were wrapped up in each other, barriers nonexistent, overlapping and borrowing, and sharing. In the span of just 3-5 minutes, you could let yourself be enveloped by a petal's velvet touch, the sight of music notes dancing in the air, smelling the passage of time as it warped itself around you. The humans had somehow engineered the artificial cells to modulate the brain's temporal processing— realizing that by activating or inhibiting specific neural circuits, experiences could be made to appear to unfold faster or slower, effectively changing the human’s subjective perception of time when they were within the virtual environment.

A new kind of popcorn in hand - celestial flavor, his favorite - God continued his divine binge-watch of the human race.

"On one hand," he mused aloud to nobody in particular, "they've finally managed to simulate time travel, which is quite the technical party trick.” He crunched on a fluffy piece of cosmic popcorn, the taste like the glow of nebulae. "On the other hand, they’re introducing artificial cells into their brain and turning their nervous system into a vat of miniature chemical plants…" The synaptic symphony affected many in a very peculiar way. It was not a harmful or addictive strain; it was a subtle discordance, a shift in the internal rhythms of those who experienced it.

See, in the beginning, there was God. And before God created light, or darkness, or anything of the material sort, he first sorted out the ancient notion of "musica universalis," which humans commonly referred to as the "music of the spheres”. All mathematical relationships express "tones" of energy. ", manifesting themselves within the realms of numbers, visual angles, shapes, and sounds, forming an exquisite tapestry of proportionate interconnectedness. Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon, and planets all emit their own unique hum based on their orbital revolution and that these celestial harmonies, though imperceptible to the human ear, influence life on Earth, imbuing everything with its own harmonic tenor. Building upon Pythagoras' insights, the philosopher Plato drew parallels between astronomy and music, considering them “twinned” branches of sensual recognition— astronomy captivating the eyes, music enthralling the ears. Both disciplines sharing an intimate reliance on the profound understanding of numerical proportions.

In other words, our world is a symphony, and every atom a note. Most humans were oblivious to this, of course. The impact of the Symphony was akin to an instrument being finely tuned. It subtly changed the essence of a person, like a piano wire being tightened or loosened—just enough to alter the sound but not enough to be immediately noticeable. Corporate-funded psychologists, no matter how well-intentioned, plagued the first recipients with surveys and psychological evaluations, yet could never intuit the reason behind this disharmony.

The Synaptic Symphony was such a classic case of human curiosity mingled with ignorance about their extensive interconnectedness with the universe. This would have made God blink twice if not for his omniscience. Reclining further into his cosmic armchair, his attention remained firmly on the little blue dot. Seeing humanity in this light, on the verge of a precipice between innovation and possible self-destruction, God felt the thrill of uncertainty, the one thing even an omniscient being could enjoy.

"So the grand experiment continues," he chuckled grimly, his divine laughter echoing through the cosmos, sparking a few new galaxies on the side. "I suppose it wouldn't be humanity without a little bit of chaos."

General-purpose Telerobotics

# Recursion

Author: Drllau

"You'll soon feel better ... " Dr Stoneheart croned to the patient exposed skull on the 3D monitor. As a top-notch tele-neuro-surgeon, he'd forgotten the number of teleops so far this year. 5,000? 6,000? Whatever, the Firm provided the entire infrastructure, from remote surgical table to his personalised haptic auto-corrective feedback apparatus to control the delicate instruments halfway across the world. 30min of intense concentration, then a 15min break to chill before next prep. Time-slicing multiple specialists allowed the Firm to deliver affordable care whilst allowing him to work from his lake-side retreat. Stoneheart focused, conscious of his age as younger colleagues joked about the Old Man in the background spatial audio. Sheesh ... he could still out-micromanipulate any two of them on a good day. Unfortunately today wasn't a good day, the headache from yesterday had gotten worse, his fingers felt heavy though the dashboard reported no deviations, and that back-support harness seemed off. And that headache seemed to be treating him as congo-drum. He couldn't afford to quit for a break just yet, it was getting to the delicate stage of splicing the biopolymer electrodes to the nerve graft. The Firm prided itself on 6-nine reliability on prosthetics and he was their star surgeon, irreplaceable, and their face for advertising. Stoneheart breathed carefully, his subtle twitches weaving the micro-manipulators in a ballet of beauty, though the headache was turning into a timpanni chorus. Suddenly the screen flooded red ... "What ..." he wanted to snap to assistant to fix but the words stuck in his mouth. The headache had gone but at same time he couldn't feel his fingers ... the red flood was chased by a black sea as vision faded away to ... to ... as the black receded, .... the sound ... of .... assistant's voice, "You'll soon feel better ... "


Author: Miya Aiyana

Some people are francophiles, others are telerobots.

The French were the sole survivors of the climate wars, thanks to long lab days lived by Jacques Jean Teleneuve.

He made a stubborn telerobot with circuitry and code, alongside rings etched into metal by cups of coffee and emptied boxfuls of pain au chocolate.

Jacques programming allowed that you could only give it one command. A robot’s life-purpose if you will. You could code that sort of thing in these days. Technology was at its dawn, raw, unrefined, so commands had to be simple: One task per robot.

“Stick to your partner, the telebot near you.”

All the little telerobots complied, so Jacques tried to stick as much of the things together as they could.

Robot robot robot, Side by side by side.

Forming an impenetrable shield, Jacques' command echoed in binary. The result? A dome.

Built of transparent telerobots, the sun still shone on France, and rain could slip through the cracks

Nestled under its mechanical canopy, the country flourished. The French loved the telerobots, made more and slowly then became them Robot echoed robot, echoed robot, echoed human. Robot robot robot robot

Whispers from the Stars

Author: Mike

In the not-so-distant future, where humanity had extended its reach to the farthest corners of the cosmos, a remarkable development emerged—the birth of cell-sized telerobots. These tiny marvels of technology heralded a new era, where the boundaries of space exploration, medical care, and manufacturing were forever transformed.

Dr. Ava Collins, a renowned scientist and physician, found herself at the forefront of this groundbreaking field. Clad in a lab coat adorned with intricate circuitry, she peered through a microscope, her eyes alight with curiosity. Within the glass confines, a myriad of cell-sized telerobots swarmed, their microscopic forms dancing in unison.

Each telerobot carried within it a beacon of human ingenuity, encapsulating the ability to navigate the vast expanse of space. Their mission was to explore celestial bodies deemed inhospitable to the fragile human form. With their miniature size, they could traverse the most treacherous terrains, delve into the depths of alien environments, and unveil the secrets of the universe. Guided by the steady hand of Dr. Collins, the telerobots embarked on their maiden voyage—a distant moon that had long intrigued the scientific community. As the telerobots descended onto the moon's desolate surface, they tirelessly collected samples, analyzing the composition of its rocks, searching for traces of life, and unraveling the mysteries that lay dormant for eons.

Simultaneously, back on Earth, Dr. Collins monitored the telerobots' progress from the confines of her control room. Through her specialized visor, she immersed herself in their microscopic world, seeing through their eyes and experiencing the lunar landscape. She marveled at the breathtaking beauty of alien landscapes, the eerie silence punctuated only by the soft hum of the telerobots as they scoured the moon's surface.

But it wasn't just space exploration that benefited from the cell-sized telerobots. Their potential in the realm of medical care was equally transformative. Dr. Collins, fueled by her compassion for humanity's well-being, turned her attention to the intricate world within the human body. The telerobots, guided by Dr. Collins' expertise, ventured into the intricate networks of veins and arteries, their miniature frames navigating the endless labyrinth of life. They carried the healing touch of their human operator, performing delicate surgeries at the cellular level, eradicating diseases that once plagued mankind.

With unparalleled precision, the telerobots repaired damaged tissues, cleared blockages, and delivered targeted medications directly to afflicted areas. They became microscopic warriors, fighting alongside the human immune system to triumph over ailments that were once considered insurmountable. The power of cell-sized telerobots didn't stop there. Their influence spread to the realm of manufacturing, where they reshaped the way products were crafted. With their minute size, they permeated the intricacies of microscopic assemblies, meticulously constructing components and ensuring flawless precision.

The telerobots became the unseen hands behind groundbreaking advancements in nanotechnology. They crafted structures with a level of intricacy beyond the scope of human hands, heralding a new era of miniaturization and efficiency. Manufacturing processes became faster, more precise, and more environmentally friendly, unlocking possibilities that were once deemed unattainable. As Dr. Collins watched the telerobots in action, their endeavors in space exploration, medical care, and manufacturing wove together a tapestry of human potential. They formed a web of interconnected progress, reminding humanity that the stars were within their reach, that healing could transcend limitations, and that the manufactured world could be molded with the utmost finesse.

In the quiet moments of reflection, Dr. Collins marveled at the whispers from the stars—the cosmic symphony composed of the telerobots' endeavors. Their exploration of distant moons echoed with the resilience of human curiosity, their healing touch resonated with the tenacity of the human spirit, and their precise craftsmanship harmonized with the ingenuity of human innovation. But amidst the celestial chorus, another tale unfolded—a tale of a humanoid civilization in a distant galaxy. Dr. Collins, driven by her insatiable thirst for knowledge, had directed a team of telerobots to observe this enigmatic species.

The cell-sized telerobots, equipped with advanced sensors, silently watched as the humanoids engaged in a captivating game. Driven by their insatiable curiosity, the telerobots captured the intricate movements and strategies of the foreign game, streaming it back to Earth.

People on Earth gathered around their televisions, their eyes fixed on the alien spectacle. The unique gestures, the rhythmic patterns, and the strategic maneuvers of the humanoids mesmerized the viewers. It was a glimpse into a distant world—a world that seemed both alien and familiar, captivating and enthralling.

As the telerobots continued to transmit the extraterrestrial games, a new form of entertainment emerged on Earth. The foreign game became a sensation, captivating millions of viewers with its mesmerizing gameplay and cultural nuances. It bridged the gap between galaxies, bringing the distant humanoid civilization into the living rooms of people across the planet.

Scientists and enthusiasts studied the game, analyzing its rules, deciphering its strategies, and immersing themselves in the cultural tapestry of a civilization light-years away. The exchange of knowledge and ideas sparked a newfound appreciation for the diversity of life in the universe and fostered a deeper sense of interconnectedness.

Through the eyes of the telerobots, humanity witnessed the threads that wove through the cosmos—the pursuit of knowledge, the drive for healing, and the universal desire for connection. The cell-sized telerobots became the conduits, whispering stories from the stars, illuminating the path toward a future where exploration, compassion, and understanding stretched far beyond the boundaries of Earth.

Shadows of Humanity

Author: Mike

In a future not too distant, where technology transcended the boundaries of distance and physical limitations, a young woman named Maya found herself at the forefront of a revolutionary era. The world had embraced general-purpose telerobotics with unyielding enthusiasm, paving the way for remarkable possibilities.

Maya, a brilliant engineer, had dedicated her life to the pursuit of expanding the boundaries of human potential. Clad in a sleek, form-fitting suit embedded with an array of sensors, she stood in the center of a spacious control room, surrounded by an orchestra of screens and blinking lights.

The room hummed with anticipation as Maya prepared to embark on an extraordinary journey. Today marked the culmination of years of tireless work, as she was about to test the latest innovation in general-purpose telerobotics—an invention that could reshape the world.

Before her, a towering, hulking structure known as the Atlas stood like an immovable sentinel. The Atlas was a marvel of engineering—a colossal robotic behemoth capable of manipulating immense weights and performing intricate tasks. Its metal limbs, adorned with countless sensors, awaited the gentle touch of Maya's consciousness.

Maya closed her eyes, her mind brimming with anticipation. As she donned a specialized helmet, her consciousness merged with the vast neural network that interconnected her with the Atlas. A cascade of sensations flooded her senses, blurring the boundaries between her physical self and the behemoth of metal and circuits.

Suddenly, Maya found herself standing at the heart of a bustling city—a foreign landscape far removed from her control room. Through the Atlas's eyes, she marveled at the vibrant streets teeming with life, painted with a tapestry of cultures. She felt the hum of distant conversations, the scents of exotic cuisine wafting through the air, and the warm touch of sunlight on her metallic skin.

It was a world she could navigate effortlessly. With a thought, she commanded the Atlas to soar into the sky, its colossal form gliding gracefully among the clouds. The city sprawled beneath her, revealing a mosaic of interconnected lives that she could influence, support, and protect.

As Maya immersed herself deeper into this new existence, she discovered that the power of telerobotics transcended the mundane. She found herself assisting in disaster-stricken areas, clearing debris and providing solace to the afflicted. She aided scientists in remote laboratories, unraveling the mysteries of the universe. She even became an anonymous guardian to the elderly, offering a comforting presence to those yearning for companionship. But amidst the triumphs, there were also poignant moments of solitude. In her digital expanse, Maya longed for the touch of another human, the warmth of a loved one's embrace. She yearned to share these extraordinary experiences with those who were still bound by flesh and blood.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, Maya became an ambassador of boundless empathy, bridging the gap between man and machine. She spread the wonders of telerobotics far and wide, inspiring countless others to embrace this newfound connection.

The world Maya envisioned, a world where anyone could become one with a robot, had arrived. It was a world of endless possibilities, where the limits of human potential were merely shadows, fading into insignificance.

In the quiet corners of her control room, Maya smiled, for she knew that she had become more than herself. She had become a conduit, a beacon of hope, forever intertwined with the transformative power of general-purpose telerobotics. And in her heart, she held the conviction that humanity, forever reaching for the stars, would continue to push the boundaries of what it meant to exist in this awe-inspiring universe.


Author: Anya Lundy

The man observed her from a remote location, connected through a telepresence system. Through this advanced technology, he could see what the robot saw and seamlessly control its actions. It was a marvel of technology that allowed him to remotely operate a robot anywhere he was in the world.

As he maneuvered the robot closer to the magnificent creature, he couldn't help but marvel at its size. The jellyfish, nearly two hundred times larger than him, seemed to glow with a translucent golden hue, captivating his senses. The robot's cameras captured every detail, and the man, overwhelmed by its beauty, felt a deep sense of awe and wonder.

The man whispered to himself, "She's a miracle," as tears welled up in his eyes. The divine brightness radiating from the jellyfish touched his soul, and he couldn't help but be moved by its ethereal glow.

Having meticulously planned the capture, the man employed a specialized robotic trawl for the task. It was not an ordinary trawl but a masterpiece of engineering, designed to capture this jellyfish as his prized possession. The hours spent creating the trawl were a testament to his passion and dedication. With the trawl ready, he carefully guided the robot and positioned the tank to ensnare the jellyfish as it made its rounds. In a matter of minutes, he successfully captured the creature, hoisting it out of the water and onto the nearby island.

He couldn't contain his elation and rolled on the muddy ground, shrieking with joy. The long hours of obsession and planning had paid off, and he had achieved his dream of being united with the majestic jellyfish.

Eager to share his extraordinary find, the man reached out to his relatives, one by one, using the recorded capture from the teleoperated robot as his medium of communication. His relatives put on home suits to experience the man's first encounter with the jellyfish. They in turn invited others to witness its unparalleled beauty through their suits. Slowly, the story of the existence of this jellyfish and its capture spread, reigniting the interest of people around the world to wear their home suits and experience this captured recording of this unique encounter.

The man set up a display of the jellyfish on the island in a massive tank shaped like an upside down bell glass jar.

Soon, visitors flocked to the island, eager to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking specimen in real life.

Recognizing the opportunity, the man established a stadium around the tank, charging a fee for entry. The popularity of the attraction soared, and the man's fortune grew. With the newfound wealth, he acquired the entire island and embarked on ambitious projects, constructing jellyfish-themed cottages, gift shops, and even a theme park.

Jellyfish Island became a coveted destination, lauded as the epitome of luxury and glamour. Celebrities, politicians, and tourists from all walks of life flocked to the island to attend events held at the stadium. The man, now the self-appointed Mayor, made decisions that shaped the island's culture and identity, from the national food to the drink and even the choice of flowers. The island thrived, and its inhabitants considered themselves the luckiest people in the world. They were able to be so close to the jellyfish, and experience it in person not just by suit as most other people could do. They revelled in the presence of the jellyfish, wearing garments and accessories inspired by its beauty. Conversations revolved around their extraordinary luck, and the island's name became synonymous with grandeur.

Rethinking Manufacturing

The Forge of Possibilities

Author: Mike

Once upon a time in a not-so-distant future, a small town named Forgeville stood as a testament to the reimagined landscape of manufacturing. Nestled in the heart of a rural countryside, this unassuming town was the birthplace of a revolutionary concept: on-demand custom production, powered by a collaborative network of modern machines.

At the heart of Forgeville, towering over the landscape, stood the Home Depot of the future. Customers no longer perused rows of pre-made appliances; instead, they stepped into a realm of endless possibilities. The store's innovative center, known as the "Forge," was a pulsating hub of creativity and production.

Inside the Forge, customers embarked on an immersive journey. They sat and talked with AI designers, discussing their unique needs and visions. Ideas flowed freely, as dreams transformed into tangible designs through the aid of advanced CAD tools. Every person became a creator, their imagination driving the manufacturing process.

In the depths of the Forge, the orchestra of modern machinery danced harmoniously. Autonomous factories whirred and hummed, orchestrating an intricate ballet of creation. Laser and water jet cutters sliced through materials with precision, guided by the carefully crafted digital blueprints. 3D printers seamlessly fused layer upon layer of molten plastic at speeds once thought impossible, solidifying the ethereal designs into reality.

In one corner of the Forge, the refrigeration district buzzed with activity. The store’s collaboration with appliance manufacturers had birthed a new era for custom refrigerators. Customers marveled as their chosen designs materialized before their eyes. The manufacturing process was swift, and within hours, the unique refrigerators were ready for installation. Gone were the days of limited options and a constant lack of freezer space. In Forgeville, every home boasted a personalized masterpiece.

Beyond the Forge, a group of passionate engineers and innovators assembled in a hidden workshop. United by a shared vision of accessible technology, they formed an open-source movement. Their current mission? To reinvent the core of industrial machinery: the electric motor.

Word of their efforts spread like wildfire, catching the attention of manufacturers worldwide. The movement sparked an electrifying revolution, redefining the landscape of transportation and industry. Inspired by the open-source designs, countless individuals crafted their own electric motors, previously an endeavor reserved for the select few. The world witnessed the emergence of a new era of sustainable innovation, driven by the collective ingenuity of the masses.

In the midst of this technological marvel, Forgeville became a symbol of hope and progress. Autonomous factories, powered by renewable energy, dotted the surrounding countryside. They hummed silently, transforming once desolate landscapes into thriving centers of production. The rise of these self-sufficient factories breathed life back into forgotten communities, bringing economic opportunities to places long overshadowed by the bustling cities.

The sun began to set over Forgeville, casting a warm glow over the horizon. In the twilight, the town stood as a testament to the extraordinary power of reimagining the supply chain. It was a place where dreams met reality, where modern machines forged a path to a future beyond imagination.

As the residents of Forgeville basked in the fruits of their labor, they knew they had unlocked a world of possibilities. The convergence of modern tooling, autonomous factories, and open-source innovation had ushered in an era where creation knew no boundaries. And in the heart of this small town, the flame of progress burned brighter than ever, illuminating a path toward a future shaped by the dreams of many.


Author: Mia Aiyana

Keira Stone refreshed Luca’s Twitter likes page for perhaps the 5th time in an hour. Nothing new was popping up, the last tweet Luca liked was some Elon Musk tweet, negging some journalist. Luca would usually like a few posts before heading to sleep at midnight, but a quick look at her watch told Keira that midnight had come and gone about 2 hours ago.

She checked out Snapchat, maybe there was a party going on tonight that Luca was attending? After tapping on all the usual people’s stories, she found nothing. Some other school’s party then? She pulled up Luca’s Instagram to confirm her hypothesis, glancing at his follower count. It was still the exact number it had been last night, and the night before. Luca hadn’t met anyone new, making it unlikely that he was at someone’s schoolnight rager.

There was a reason Keira Stone was class president, head of the most successful biohacking group in the country, and author of one of the most successful book-review blogs on the internet–– Keira went through every single detail, all the time, methodically and never mediocrely. Life had taught her that being obsessive with a one-track mind was a surefire way to get what you want. So, the things Keira did to catch Luca’ Giodini’s attention were many and varied.

There was the humming of his favorite songs whenever he’d walk past her (sourced from scraping his public playlists on Youtube Music and Spotify). There was the boatload of caramel-apple perfume Keira doused herself with whenever she and Luca would cross paths across school corridors. (Luca once had scarfed down 10 apples during a Halloween festival while Keira took note, watching on with fascination). And, finally, ofcourse, there was the meticulous cyber-stalking. After all, the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. Why wouldn’t it extend to matters of the heart?

She pulled up her phone and scrolled down to refresh Twitter for the sixth time and was rewarded with an instant dopamine surge.

“Luca liked a video about axolotls dancing on a lotus leaf.” - 2 mins ago

“Amazing! I’ve always loved axolotls” - 0xLucaG

This was new! Luca rarely tweeted or replied to tweets. As she watched the axolotls crawling across the terrarium floor, an idea began forming in her mind. Hurrying over to her closet, she put her hands on her hips and stared at the OLED screen on the cabinet’s side. She picked out the design of a dress she liked–– puffy sleeves with a sweetheart neckline and then clicked new tab to open a split-screen, surfing the web to pull up a picture of an axelotl. She dragged the picture on top of the dress and clicked the flashing “merge design” button that it prompted. Her trusty Fashionistaxx7000 could compost her old clothing as well as every single piece it 3D-printed. You could also feed it trash–– it could make certain types of glitter out of plastic bottles, bioleather out of foodscraps, and it had various other features depending on the materials you fed into it.

Tomorrow, Keira Stone would show up in school wearing the chic-est axolotl-inspired dress… Luca Giodini would never know what hit him.


Author: Nick Felker

Sarah could hear the sirens screeching in the background, but her attention was focused on the horrible scene in front of her.

The hurricane’s winds were unlike anything they had seen before. Even their boarded up windows were no match for the strong gales.

And now Axel lay there on the ground, his hand crushed.

She was already contacting the emergency services.

“What’s your emergency?” the polite robotic voice queried, as cheerful as ever despite the circumstances.

“Axel… My husband… His hand…”

“Please close your eyes and take a deep breath,” the voice suggested.

Sarah closed her eyes, but couldn’t get the image out of her head.

“Please explain to me the issue.”

“I can’t…” she sobbed.

“Allow me to take a picture,” the voice prompted.

“Allowed,” Sarah managed to croak.

Suddenly the camera on her glasses activated, examining the scene in front of her.

“I observe one man, on the ground, with a hand injury. It appears to be highly damaged.”

“Can’t you do something?” Sarah’s voice was now barely audible.

“Scans indicate hand requires replacement.”

“But we can’t get to the hospital. The streets are flooded.”

“In the back of the photo I detected a BioForge printer.”

Sarah nodded, even though the voice wouldn’t be able to see that. She was a product manager for the latest biotech printers. One prototype sat in their office, though it hadn’t been fully tested.

“I don’t know if it’ll work. It’s still in development.”

“I’ve generated a 3D replacement using the photos. It can be sent to the printer.”

Sarah raced over to the device. The file was sent from her glasses into the machine’s memory. After a quick warm-up, it got to work building the scaffolding. She was scared, but knew this was the only way to do it in time. Suddenly the machine shut down and her heart skipped a beat. What was happening? The lights above her flickered as well. She realized the power was going out. The power lines couldn’t handle the winds either. But without electricity, there would be no way to save him.

She grabbed the raincoat hanging on the wall with a great deal of tension. Could she really go out there, in this storm? As she looked back at the print, she knew she had to brave it for her husband.

When she opened the door she was immediately blinded by the heavy rain. She squinted and could barely see the sidewalk in front of her. Each step took her deeper into the flooded sidewalk. She could not see where she was, but grew closer to the dull object in the center of the community square.

She placed her hands against it. The flat steel showed no signs of operating controls. The winds were now picking up and she did all she could to stay in place.

Finally she found the switch to the microgrid. It was a heavy piece of metal. She pulled down as hard as she could, switching the community to their local power supply.

Exhausted by the battering gusts, she trudged home hoping that she had been successful.

As she stepped through the door, she could hear the soft whirs of the machine again. She sighed with relief.

Seamlessly scalable mammalian cell cultures


Author: Nick Felker

Adira stepped through the department store with wide eyes. She had always avoided the superficiality and advertising, but she finally had to go to them for help.

Her cheeks flushed as the clerks stared straight at her. She felt so embarrassed and ugly.

“Can I help you madam?”

Adira jumped at the voice from behind her.

“Sorry,” the clerk apologized. I didn’t mean to scare you.

“I just have never been here before.”

“I can tell. You are here about that scar I presume?”

Adira touched her forehead, her finger rubbing against the slight mark.

“I went hiking last weekend,” she explained. “While they managed to stop the bleeding quickly, they couldn’t do anything about the scar.”

“You’re in luck, we offer all kinds of dermal regeneration techniques. Step over to my counter.”

Adira followed nervously.

“You already have excellent skin. We can take a graft and regrow enough to cover the scar…”

Adira frowned. It was clear that the woman was alluding to something more. “Or?” she prompted.

“Well, we can offer you so much more. You already look a bit like Chloe. You have her eyes. We could give you a full makeover and you’ll look a lot closer.”

“The pop star?”

“Or if you would rather a more sophisticated look, we could use a graft of Diana. A British look would suit you well.”

“I don’t have a British accent though.”

“But you’d look so beautiful. And beauty is only skin deep.”

“No thanks. I’d prefer to just fix the scar.”

“We can do dermal regeneration of anyone you want. Who do you want to look like?”

“Just myself.”


Author:John LaRocco

My parents told me they wanted to live on through their grandchildren, but I always misinterpreted their meaning. I became an ectogenesis researcher, developing the first reliable generation of artificial human exowombs.

As biotech advanced, exowombs were used to grow brain-dead clones for spare parts. The procedure was fairly simple, and aging could be artificially controlled, so a year old, artificially sustained clone body might be a functional adult. I commissioned clones for my parents. They floated in life-support tubes, waiting the day they’d be needed.

It was fortunate the paramedics got both right after the car accident. Their bodies were ruined beyond repair, but not their minds. Grafting the brains into cloned bodies was still a novel procedure, but it was still their only chance. So, we transplanted each of their brains into their waiting clones, which were identical to their teenage selves.

They’ve since made an almost full recovery, save in one way. I am now their legal guardian until they re-reach legal adulthood. Now, I understand how much of a nightmare I was as a teenager. I am just going to opt for a cyborg body next time.

Autonomous Process Design


Author: Nick Felker

Nova finally managed to get her neck above the water line. She gasped. Her eyes were burning from the seawater. On the horizon she could see the sun rising, and only when she shielded her eyes could she find a small spit of land. Mustering up the last of her strength, she hobbled in that direction. Her arms felt weak and she could feel something stabbing her in the leg, but finally she managed to collapse onto the sandy island.

What now? The submarine accident had happened suddenly. Everyone had been blown away, but had anyone else survived?

It seemed unlikely. A small section of the craft had washed up on shore beside her. She dragged it in to see what she could use for survival. A few days of food was good. The first aid kit helped her get the metal rod out of her leg. There was also a small 3D printer which apparently had solar panels on top. It was still in the box.

Her phone refused to turn on. Minutes of water, salt, and ocean pressures applied to it meant she wasn’t surprised when the screen remained blank. So where was she? And how could someone find her? The first day was full of panic. The next was one of boredom. After walking a lap around the sandy beach for the umpteenth time she finally decided to unbox this machine.

It was state-of-the-art from what she could tell. As soon as the noon rays hit the top, the little OLED panel welcomed her with excessive enthusiasm. She scrolled through the list of manufacturer-included items: a toy boat, a scaled-down train, a radio…


She opened up the instructions. It was able to produce a radio transceiver. It didn’t seem high-quality, operating only on the CB channel, but nevertheless might be her way out.

The only problem was one of material. The included plastic resin wasn’t going to produce a strong enough signal to stretch for the necessary miles. As she set down the machine in disappointment, her arm touched the hot metal of the bloody rod from yesterday. A realization came to her.

Using some of the equipment, she managed to disassemble enough of the submarine remnants and feed it into the machine. She felt a great deal of anticipation as it began producing her salvation layer by layer.

By the time she heard the click and the fuzzy sounds of another person, she burst into tears.


Mia Ayana

“Time is money, and I’m haemorrhaging both!”

Young Oliver Chase sat against his window, the bedroom lit aglow by his four-monitor setup. He looked down at his watch, gilded gold encrusted with diamonds, a Van Cleef vintage, and then back up at the green progress bar that inched torturously across his screen. The “rendering in progress” message blinked in and out as he fisted up the mattress sheets, the thousand threads in its count rumpled by frustration.

“Sloths on valium would move faster.”

He stood up, shaking his head with disgust. Tapping his foot repeatedly on the lush velvet carpeting in his room, he looked up all the possible Gods on Wikipedia and prayed to them by the strength of relative power: The Christian God Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, even that Kali goddess he once heard about from some Indiana Jones movie, begging each of the deities to cut him some slack and speed up the electrons whizzing around in his PC by a magnitude of a thousand so his torturous wait would end and “Render Complete.” would flash against his screen.

Alas, half an hour later, he heard the 200-year-old grandfather clock downstairs’ signature loud twang. 7am. As each of the 7 thwangs rang out, he shut his laptop down and tried taking deep calming breaths as hours of hardwork and his dreams of winning “Youngest filmmaker in history to win the Best in Animation Award” were flushed down his Japanese toilet.

Calling up father:

For breakfast, he sat with his family on a table whose spread rivaled feasts of the kings: there was caviar, tahini vanilla ice cream, and wagyu beef tartare spread on crackers, french toast made of the finest brioche bread, eggs from the fattest chickens, and frothy milk and butter made from the cows who lived better lives than perhaps 80% of humanity. His mother and father sat beside each other, looking towards Oliver adoringly, as he thanked each of the butlers and chefs for the morning’s fine meal.

“Father, I know I am but 12 years of age, but I wish to retrieve half of my inheritance early.”

Mr. James Abernathy Chase choked on his Eggs Benedict. “Oliver Chase! I didn’t make this request till I was of 15 years of age! Whatever is the matter with you?”

Oliver folded his arms. “You see father, I have everything I could possibly want. Truffles. Peacocks in my backyard. But my laptop’s speed is agonizingly slow. I finished my film submission hours before the deadline but my laptop’s speed…” Familiar hate rushed through him, and he felt it warm his chest all the way to his hands. “It rendered my waltzing pandas for more than three hours!” “And after all that time, it wasn’t even halfway done! I refuse to let this happen to me again. And I assure you that I wouldn’t want this to happen to any human on this planet either.” A surge of empathy arose in Oliver’s chest. He did not want anyone to ever feel what he felt.

"Darling, why don't you let someone else handle this? We have enough money to hire Pixar for a home video," Leo's mother sighed. But Leo, draped in his Versace dressing gown, was unyielding. He had stories to tell, and he'd be damned if he let some outsiders meddle with his vision.

He had the fastest wifi available and that wasn’t the issue. He had the fastest microchip in the world-– that wasn’t the issue either. No, he thought of this problem from first principles, as his beloved tutor Mr. White taught him to do so. The problem lay with how laptops were constructed in the first place. He had the finest gadgets and access to the best technology in the world, yet rendering times still took more than half a day to complete for a 5 minute segment of heavy CGI? Ridiculous! It'd be faster if he carved the video’s frames into marble himself.

“You taught me that the wealthy are wealthy because they are uncompromising, Father. And so I shall be about this. I ask for nothing but what is mine. To work tirelessly on a dream that I care about. To satisfy my curiosity. Isn’t that exactly what a parent would wish?"

Mr. James Abernathy sighed, “Oliver, I swore to take you seriously as a child and so as a man of my word, that is exactly what I should do.” Our unfathomable family fortune is yours to spend.” He turned towards his wife. “Now will you pass the salt please dear?”

Oliver didn't just want a faster CPU; he wanted to bend time and space to his will, to wield the power of rendering videos like a god.

Thus, Oliver began his quest to make Adobe Premiere Pro render at the speed of light.

He rented out a lab, and assembled an a team of intellectual Avengers: physicists, computer engineers, optical scientists, even a philosopher to keep things interesting around the water cooler.

He gathered all of them up and spoke of what he knew: CPUs, bound by the laws of electrons, had a speed limit. He understood that light could outpace these electrons, and that it could transform computing. The potential of this technology intrigued him; light was faster, more energy-efficient, and would significantly reduce rendering times. Laser and water jet cutters could etch nano-sized grooves into the CPU's surface, allowing light to zip through them. Robotics could ensure precision assembly, while 5-axis CNC's could carve out the intricate, 3-dimensional structures needed for the pathways. He mentioned all of these–– speaking with passion, Mr. White feeding him the words to say through a small earpiece.

These noble men and women, normally stricken with the burden of perpetual grant applications and skeptical peer reviews, looked at each other. An opportunity to build an optical CPU, funded by an eccentric heir who wanted to make faster panda waltz videos? It was too good to be true. They had the tools, the knowledge. And now, they had the funding.

The Right People with the Right Ideas.

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the loop.

Purple helix graphic
© 2024 Speculative Technologies.
Created by And–Now and Anson Yu.