Organic Memory Core
The CogNet might be policed by sentient programs and controlled by artificially intelligent super computers, but it is built on top of millions of organic memory cores that function as its host.
Organic Memory Core
The OMC is a sleek and ubiquitous device, typically a single piece casing wrapped around hidden and mysterious innards. The devices range in size from the smallest being roughly the size of a gallon jug and the largest reaching the size of water heater tanks. These devices are incredibly sophisticated machines that despite their complexity have two access points and one button. There are manual lines for attaching physical cables to the OMC, one provides power supply, and the other is the hardline datafeed. Much like water heaters, almost all residences in the first world have one, and like the water heater, is is seldom ever interacted with, out of sight and out of mind. It is the device that makes all of the lights work, and the entertainment systems do the entertaining. The one button is the power button which is used in only three instances, initial activation, power cycling by a technician, and terminating power when the core is removed.
The most common core is the 5 gallon bucket sized Omni-Consumer Nova 14.4 Residential OMC. This non-portable unit is found in almost every home and non-favela residence in the first world of the Cosmic Era. Other models include the 1 gallon sized Cyberdyne Systems Nomad 989 portable OMC, and the massive HAL-9 used in corporate offices which stands 8 feet tall, and is three feet wide.
The first generation of Organic Memory Cores were invented and designed in Korea and were smuggled out of the country shortly before Korea was occupied by the ACPS. Much of the preliminary and design data was lost in the cyberwar and physical war that saw the Pacific Rim Coalition beaten back by the superior might of the Chinese and their ACPS supporters. The OMC specs were taken to Nippon, and Cascadia where the design was streamlined and improvements were made. Trade agreements, espionage, reverse engineering and other shadowy practices saw the rapid spread of the technology behind the cores. Nirasaki Computer and Engineering of Osaka pioneered the first mass produced OMC, with Cyberdyne, HALcorp, and OCP in North America following suit with their own versions of the device.
The 3rdNet, the precursor to the CogNet was strained to its breaking point early in the second renaissance. There was simply only so much data that the network could handle, and the rate of data expansion had been outpacing machine design and infrastructure capacity for years. Arcanotechnology was being explored for a potential answer for the broadband and superband shortages that were starting to impact not just consumer entertainment, but the daily function of utilities and vital systems.
This crunch was the worst felt in Asia, specifically in the island nations like Nippon, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. This was also where most of the research into arcanotech data systems was being being done as well. The region was riding a tech high, as less than 50 years prior the first true quantum computing system had been designed and put into service. If not for the Floating Point Servers, mainframes, arcoframes, and megaframes that had been spawned from that, 3rdNet would have collapsed decades before the advent of the OMCs. The organic memory cores use a carbon based bioelectrical feedback system to handle data, and offer short term storage of large amounts of information.
At least that's what it says on the can.
Nope, not yet.
The Organic Memory Core is a foundation piece of technology, one found almost everywhere and like such equipment it is entirely overlooked until it fails. And like such technology, very few people know how or why it works. So long as the water is hot, the air is cool, and the TV works, people don't care about how the water heater, air conditioner, or television actually work. The difference between a repairman and a wizard is choice of wardrobe. They both do things that no one really understands, speak their own language, and like magic, they do that thing they do.
The Organic Memory Core supports the internal system of a modern residence in the Cosmic Era. It regulates temperature, turns lights on and off, and otherwise maintains the function of the residence. Living in an arcology or other megastructure, things like opening windows or adjustable thermostats are thing of the past. This is all a tiny fraction of the things the unit does. The biggest thing the OMC does is that it plays buffer host for the CogNet. The places that a person regularly visits, and home based programs such as entertainment videos and games are stored in the core to reduce stress on the overall datafeed. The average user, when they log into the CogNet and go down to GoogleMall, they are actually just visiting the copy of the location stored in their OMC, with only a fraction of the datafeed being used to handle the transactions and inventories rather than generating the virtual location.
OMCs fall under the jurisdiction of the Node Admin. In most cases, the Node Admin is the LAISC in charge of data operations within an arcology or similar physical location. The Node Admin has unlimited access to all of the standard OMCs hooked into its network. Thankfully for those paranoid types, the vast majority of machine intelligences have no interest in watching people using the bathroom or showering. There is still a very strong Big Brother Element involved and most home unit OMCs cannot be used to move outside of sanitized and government approved datafeeds. Those that do, those are generally monitored closely. Then the proper authorities are notified.
Very few things in the Cosmic Era have a hard line. The OMC has a hardline into the host network, again typically inside an arcology, habitat, or other established physical location. The 'wires' that connect the devices of a household to the OMC are hidden behind walls and light fixtures, just like electrical wires and plumbing are concealed within walls. Each room is likely to have its own router for handling wireless data (in the Cosmic era, wireless has no important meaning, and is in effect the same as referring to a 2014 Corvette Stingray as a horseless carriage).
When in Roam
There are personal unit OMCs, the smaller portable units. These units are used as back up or supporting cores in data intensive households, or in situations where more than one family might be in a unit, such as a dormitory complex where a larger number of people live, but with limited personal space, but high data needs. Roaming OMCs are also popular with first world citizens who travel away from the dense cores of the cities, be it for retreats, 'camping' and other away from home activities. These portable OMCs are typically found in low data use vacation residences, recreation centers, and so forth. The Military also uses these smaller OMCs in logistic vehicles, and as the control units for drone vehicles. Obviously the military versions have enhanced capabilities, and don't spend much time on Asian Porn datafeeds.
The Big Bopper
There are heavy and super sized OMCs that are used in megacorp offices and other areas where massive amounts of data are handled and require the stupendous amount of floating data that an OMC can handle. It is rare to find the human sized OMCs alone, these units are typically mounted in banks, row after row of cores to handle the load.
What it is Not
The Organic Memory Core is not a computer, it is functionally a massive flashdrive with an almost instantaneous ability to fill or dump itself. The computing devices and gadgets in a house are all linked to the OMC and use it to handle the buffering and holding data while they do the things that they are supposed to do. This interconnectivity allows for the CogNet to exist, and pervade almost every corner of the First World. Programs and Synthetic intelligences can reside within a core, and these can work to promote harmony across a network.
Hackers, cybersecurity personnel, and cybernauts need their own isolated and inoculated OMCs to do their work in the CogNet, loaded with their own programming and weaponry. This is the fabled 'cyberdeck' of the hacker. They do have their handheld electronics and gadgets but behind every professional hacker is a code cracked OMC.
What it really Is.
The Organic Memory Core is functionally a brain in a jar. The first generation of cores were made from executed criminals, donated test subjects, and some questionably gained brains. These organs were then spliced into electronic systems and support equipment to make the first OMCs. These cores had faults, and were not always reliable. It seems that having been alive and packed full of data gathered over a lifetime somewhat compromised the quality of the brain in its use as a data storage medium.
A small number of the first generation brains that were harvested from previously living humans regained sentience after being installed in an OMC. This proved to be quite a bad thing. The brain retained obviously its thinking ability and memories but was completely divorced of a biological body. There was no constant or consistent reaction, some went berzerk, others went insane, and still others refused to admit that it was anything more than just a dream. While very few mature brains are harvested for OMCs, there is a trend for some people to have their brain removed at the point of death or just prior to it and installed in an OMC for a chance to continue existing. These brain jar people are rare, as the majority of brains that are restarted only have ghosts of the people they used to be floating around inside of them. Those brain jar people who survived typically demonstrated higher intellect, emotional detachment, sociopathic tendencies, or had some sort of pre existing mental condition.
Cloning provided what the OMC designers wanted, completely blank adult brains. These blanks were loaded into their support mediums, and surrounded with the bits of arcanotech equipment that make the entire macabre thing work. The OMc is housed in a one piece casing so that curious people don't start messing with them to find out whats inside. It also discourages would be home repair men from attempting to fix a broken or malfunctioning unit. The core is heavy, as the brain, or brains are suspended in preservative solution (LCL gel) which itself has been given a chemical additive to render it opaque, just in case some nosy person does manage to get inside the housing.
Cloned brains are mass produced, then packaged in functionally amniotic sacs to the manufacturers who place the brains in the preservative tanks and hook them into the machinery. The brain is then subjected to diagnostic testing, and then coded and programmed with the information it needs to hold. The standard household unit has between three and five brains in it. The portable unit only has one, and the large industrial/commercial use units have as many as 60 in each core. These separate brains once hooked into a core function as multiple lobes of a single organism and are able to work in harmony together.
The Hacker's Secret
There are those who pretend to be hackers, with their computer decks, exocranial cyberdecks and other trickedout goodies. And while these self proclaimed hackers can and do get the job done, they are far from the elite and the ultimate professionals. The most important tool in a true hacker's toolbox is an OMC. Getting one of these that hasn't been locked down and turned to read only by the manufacturer isn't easy. And just buying one and cracking it doesn't quite do the trick either.
The best hacker OMCs are custom made.
The hacker finds the person they want to use as their OMC, they get to know that person, become their friend, win their trust. And once that trust is established, the hacker sees to it that the person has their brain harvested, and it is taken to a secret facility where that brain is fitting into a portable OMC, and it is wired up nice and tight. The hacker then spends the next few days to weeks going about debugging and tuning their shiny new core. This core does things the same way the person did, so an hard nosed intuitive computer programmer is going to make for an OMC that is very robust and able to do things quickly and efficiently. Smart people, cunning and vicious people, and ruthless people are preferred for this brain theft scamming.
So when you see that hot 20 something hacker princess, the last guy who thought he would be her prince is the hard drive for her computer rig.
Because Lovecraft had the MiGo put brains in jars for the lulz, in the Cosmic Era I put brains in jars because the world freaking loves online shopping and porn.
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? Responses (5)-5
Brains in a jar so that people can watch their porns and live comfortably is a wonderful idea. I love how you tease us with the 'the Secret' section, which not only hooked me in, but wrapped me in a variety of nets and chains to land my metaphorical fish body.
Though I am curious how one could program a brain, I assume that you could with sufficient technology and enough hand-waving and techno-babble done on your part.
This is just awesome and seems like a natural outgrowth of the kind of content caching that goes on today with a nicely disturbing twist. Akamai in the Cosmic Era indeed.
I have to say, if you ever put together your Cosmic Era content and produced a set of gaming books from it, I would buy the hell out of them.
A bit Soylent green here :)
It fits well with the Technomacabre nature of your world. And, what MysticMoon said.
Again another excellent submission for the Cosmic Era setting. That last part is the most unsettling.... If the hacker PC wants a new OMC, the other PCs might need to get nervous...