Aug 19, 2009 by

Read RHAE 1 here

ROUND 2: Write the opening paragraph of your novella. It should be no more than 300 words, not including your opening sentence, and should be about interactions that take place over the web.

Nobody foresaw that the findings published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology on August 16, 2009 — namely, that DNA shapes had been engineered to self-organize on silicon, thereby paving the way for the production of high-efficiency computer chips containing DNA origami — would set into motion a series of events that would ultimately lead to the displacement of the human race by its own creation. The DNA microchips, first mass produced in 2019, revolutionized web-based communications by shrinking computational structures to the point where they could be inserted into sunglasses and eventually contact lenses, thereby allowing individuals to browse the web, project images and video, and holograph-chat directly upon their field of vision. In 2025, around the same time the computer screen went out of production, researchers discovered that certain DNA sequences were more efficient for biotech uses, prompting a “DNA race” between companies to collect, patent and experiment with as many genomes as possible. Independent scientific bodies pointed out that the risks of mutation were extremely high with this unregulated experimentation, but the biotech industry drowned out their warnings with a campaign of vilification and distortion. As the production requirements expanded, and the stakes grew higher, an underground black market developed for abducted individuals whose ethnic and genetic qualities made their genomes especially coveted. It still remains unclear just when the first genetic mutation took place that led to the speciation of the hyper-computer, which married Artificial Intelligence to a self-generating, organic platform. But wherever it did happen, the parthenogenetic evolution of this new species, Homo Machina, occurred at a rate a thousand times faster than its biological counterparts. A.I. had found its body.

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  1. Rhae your must anticipated first paragraph kicks goals with me (as we say here in Australia). You wove the challenge so subtly into your prose that I had to go back and search for it.

    While the pathway to the final sentence wont be too every one’s liking, you have again condensed lots of information into a small space. It is an info dump but so intriguing and thoughtfully done – and reads like a movie prologue in someways – which I don’t think is a bad thing in this case.

    I like the twist of AI finding a body, rather than robotics becoming self aware. Congratulations.

    I can’t wait now for the characters who will play in this world.

  2. A round of applause from my humble Homo sapiens self.
    The whole text has a mechanical, automated and robotic feel to it, but it is underlined by something deeply human.

    Thumbs up!

  3. Kathy

    This latest addition to your story is becoming quite intriguing similar to a book where the reader eagerly anticipates the next part carrying them effortlessly from one chapter to the next. Looking forward to the next addition to this storyline. Keep up the great work Rhae.

  4. Thank you all for your comments. As you can probably tell by now, Jodi, I am a fan of info dumps. I’m glad to hear that the human element comes across through the robotic language, Annabones. Without it, writing can be no more consequential than cotton candy.

  5. noTxt

    hells yes. Robot zombies.

    • Don’t really think this is about zombies! We might not like it but the predictions may be of a more sustainable species and the AI may be born artificial but evolve to reality – what is artificial anyway?

      • Buying into and argument I should probably trade out of – but what the heck. What is artifical? The simplest answer I can come up with – is, beyond the bounds of nature. But I realise that opens an entirely new can of worms, as I recognise nature adapts to best fit the survival of any species – which you allude to JD as a “more sustainable species” – survival of the fittest in a new world.

        This discussion could go around in circles. Best to leave it there and see who Rhae inserts into her world.

  6. goofy

    rhae are you a fan of the Terminator movies?

  7. Rhae2 – your still there for me!

  8. Perhaps, JD, but not if the new species bears any resemblance to its progenitor.

    p.s. No, goofy. All I know about Terminator is “I’ll be back” so let’s just leave it at that.

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