图片取自 Lamplight and Shawdows

  I'm trying hard to imagine an average day in the year 3012. I can't even come up with half-decent scene. Will people live in buildings? Will they clothes? My imagination is almost physically straining. Fingers of thought are raking space behind the cushions, looking for ideas, finding nothing.

  "Personally, I think the big change is going to be our brains," Kat says, tapping just above her ear, which is pink and cute. "I think we're going to find different ways to think, thanks to computers. You expect me to say that"——yes——"but it's happened before. It's not like we have the same brains as people thousand years ago."

  Wait: "Yes we do."

  "We have the same hardware, but not the same software. Did you know that the concept of privacy is, like, totally recent? And so is the idea of romance, of course."

  Yes, as a matter of fact, I think the idea of romance just occurred to me last night. (I don't say that out loud.)

  "Each big idea like that is an operating system upgrade," she says, smiling. Comfortable territory. "Writers are responsible for some some of it. They say Shakespeare invented the internal monologue."

  Oh, I am very familiar with the internal monologue.

  "But I think the writers had their turn," she says, "and now it's programmers who get to upgrade the human operating system."

  I am definitely talking to a girl from Google. "So what's the next upgrade?"

  "It's already happening," she says. "There are all these things you can do, it's like you're in more than one place at one time, and it's totally normal. I mean look around."

  I swivel my head, and I see what she wants me to see: dozens of people sitting at tiny tables, all leaning into phones showing them places that don't exist and yet are somehow more interesting than the Gourmet Grotto.

  "And, it's not weird, it's not science fiction at all, it's ..." She slows down a little and her eyes dim. I think she thinks she's getting too intense. (How do I know that? Does my brain have an app for that?) Her cheeks are flushed and she looks great with all her blood right there at the surface of her skin.

  "Well," she says finally, "it's just that I think the Singularity is totally reasonable to imagine."

  Her sincerity makes me smiles, and I feel lucky to have this bright optimistic girl sitting with me here in the irradiated future, deep beneath the surface of earth.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, P60~61
Robin Sloan
ISBN 978-1-250-03775-6



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