Introducing the S.Y.M.A.C. Android: A Guest Post with Author Sarah Baethge
To get into the right mind-frame for my story Panoptemitry, I suppose you need to be ready to accept the technology that is just an accepted part of our universe that comes along with S.Y.M.A.C. (the Stellarly-Yielded Manipulation Algorithm Computer).
S.Y.M.A.C. itself is a galaxy-spanning computer network [this system is what led me to the word ‘Panoptemitry’ because of its seeming oversight of everything] with most of the components only hastily alluded to, but I have put a bit more effort into describing the androids that exist as living interfaces to a GWW – Galaxy Wide Web.
Now as these people are used by members of normal society as little more than tools, steps have been taken to try and dehumanize them to mainly eliminate the possibility of having folk look at them as slaves. There are two major methods that I touch upon within Panoptemitry.
The first (and I think of as most frightening) is the total control of these androids by the threat of possible deconstruction (or as the fully-human S.Y.M.A.C. governed citizens call it decommissioning). If the android ever does anything to displease its controllers, it can legally be ‘turned off’ to have its body recycled and fed into the next generation of androids that are produced. This type of event is so common that androids, despite all of their selfless work for their controllers, have come to be popularly seen as next to worthless.
The second dehumanization for these androids that are virtually homo sapiens with a few computerized enhancements sounds silly, but ultimately if thought about is little more than crewel. Android names are never more than non-alphanumeric characters. This would be because of the difficulty that people have in relating to or taking seriously a being that hasn’t even a real name.
The only android that plays a major role in the story is ∞. My characters that are working with him do call him ‘Nitty’ or ‘Max’ in a small attempt to make his name more human, yet even they don’t go too far because people treating androids as inanimate objects is just a given normal part of life.
Max became one of my favorite characters as I wrote the story. He had plenty more personality than I originally thought him capable of.
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