“All twelve of them?” Dr. Kornfeld was devastated, near tears as
he read the report once more. Surely not all the discs had failed.
How was it possible? Earlier brain scans on laboratory animals
had been spectacularly successful, not only capturing all the data,
but even reorganizing that data to match the patterns found in
each subject’s brain. The self-programming discs had precisely
replicated the brains’ schematics, their connectomes. Kornfeld, a
world-renowned computer scientist, had been supremely
confident of a similar result as they brought in a dozen human volunteers, and prepared a dozen discs to receive their input.
Each orthogonal brain scan produced thousands of
terabytes of data. And each self-programming disc was a six-layer
sandwich of molybdenum disulfide interleaved with nanowire
grids set in graphene, with enough storage capacity to hold the connectomes of hundreds of human brains. At least in theory.
The one outcome Kornfeld had not foreseen was failure.
He flushed to see Dr. Lascher standing in the doorway of
his office. The neuroscientist had been a doubter from the very
beginning. His suppressed smirk said it all: that Kornfeld’s
approach was fatally flawed. Even though those orthogonal
scanners had been designed by Lasher and built to his exact
specifications, he’d scoffed at Kornfeld’s conviction that such
brain scans could capture the soul, the spirit, or at minimum, the
intelligence and persona of the individuals thus scanned.
It looked like Lascher was right.
Back in the laboratory, technician Kenny Ng noticed
unusual electrical activity, the readings coming from just one of the twelve discs. He stared at his instruments for a time. Puzzled,
he reached for his phone.
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