I enter our “laboratory”. I call it the lab because I can’t think of a better word to describe this enormously large building, strangely shaped and full of weird equipment. It’s much more than one can imagine when thinking of a lab.
I’ve been practicing some new ways of walking without producing any sound, courtesy of our Indian trainer. Coach almost always hears my steps, but this time I manage to come close to him and even watch him for a while. His looks thoughtful with a blissful expression on his face. Then he suddenly opens his eyes and looks at me madly. I jump startled. Coach bursts into laughter.
“Ha ha ha, do you think that you can sneak on me using your new fancy moves?”, he winks.
“Coach, admit it I managed this time!”
“Well, 95% yes, you sneaky bastard!”
We start laughing. Since I did my silent walk so good, I felt I had the right to ask a question.
“What were you thinking of?“
“Sneaky and always curios. I was trying to define WAP for myself. I was thinking of the so-called employment model. Everybody constantly ask about it. I think all people in WAP are like cells in a let’s say a human body. Everyone is different, everyone can manage by oneself, but people prefer to work together. They are not employees. They are co-creators, actors on the scene of life playing either one or several roles, as they choose.”
I look at Coach in amazement.
“Now you are a poet?!”
Coach starts laughing so hard that he almost chokes.
“I am rehearsing my presentation for the media”, he barely utters the words, still holding his belly.
Then I am startled by some movement in the corner.
“Coach, did you see this?”
“Yeah, this is Brainy, our first prototype. You didn’t know!? Have you been living under a rock?”
“Sort of. I was so engulfed in this project about the ocean that I am like 5 months lagging behind WAP’s innovations and news. Tell me everything.”
“Whoaaa, man, you are gonna love it!”
A blue ball appears behind the sofa and rolls into Coach’s lap. It’s made of small spheres that look like rubber balls.
“Say hi, Brainy.”
The sphere slowly changes its form, turns into a small figure and waves. My jaw drops.
“So let me tell you what is all this. Brainy is made of cells that are biomechanical. Every bubble you see is made of a central part – the nucleus of the cell. It’s surrounded by liquid (cytoplasm) and an outer membrane. This one is made of silicon and it’s the mechanical part – the computer. Outside, there is another protective layer made of supersilicon.
The central part, the nucleus of the cell, is made of neurons. The liquid surrounding them mimics the surroundings of the neurons in human brains. The neurons have their axons and dendrites (an axon is the long extension that sends signals to neurons, and dendrites receive those signals from neurons). They are connected to the external membrane which is made of silicon and has slight cuts where the dandelion is connected to the computer. So this is a brain connected to a computer. But it lacks consciousness…
Each bubble/cell is connected to each other via a tube having a cable inside covered with supersilicon. So this is a biocomputer, right?”
“It sounds fascinating, but what is the interface, how do you have input and output of information, and how…”
“Relax, I am coming to this. In every 10 cells, there is a bubble with a microcamera, microphone, speakers and moveable parts which enable the bubble to change its form. We call them shape-shifters. In this prototype in particular, we still can’t communicate so well with the cells and we plan to connect the shape-shifters’ camera, holo projectors and speakers. At present, only the microphone – its ears – is connected. The rest will be ready in a few days. So basically that’s the simplified version of Brainy. We are going to present it soon. You know, we will make one of our presentations that look more like a show than a serious presentation”, Coach smiled.
“WOW, I have to process all this. I have so many questions. I think I will join the project. It sounds so cool, man!”
Coach stands up and says, “Well, let’s leave your questions for tomorrow because now I have a meeting with our Indian friend who taught you the silent movements. Meanwhile, catch up with the news as there are as always some new “wow” projects, even I am sometimes not aware of.”
Coach goes out. I am still sitting on the cozy couch and thinking.
“What did I just hear?! Was that some of his elaborate jokes? I am gonna find out.”
I “squeeze out” of the lab, I mean I go though the protective bubble and head to the main dome. The air smells of spring flowers and freshly baked cookies. I take a deep breath and turn back. I wonder what Brainy would be capable of?