Commonsense Britain
The definitive guide to Britain's success in the twenty-first century


The Box

Daniel found it lying in the open scrub where he walked.  He often walked here near to the cemetery, he like the lonely feel of the place and could amble along as he wished.  Today he felt tired, a bit downbeat and hoped the fresh air would give him a lift.  His legs swung lazily, clipping the short tough grass until his right foot hit something hidden in the grass. “Ouch, what the fuck was that” he said out loud.  He peered down expecting to see a hidden rock or something stuck hard and fast into the ground.  But all he could see was a small grey block.

It looked heavy and very substantial in a grey, unassuming sort of way.  It was about the size of two fag packets lain side by side.  But when he bent to get a closer look, it did not seem attached to the ground at all so he tried to pick it up.  And it was light, almost too light for its solid feel and he did not understand how it could have walloped his foot so forcefully, his big toe still hurt.  It felt quite cool in his hands, but not cold.

The box caused Daniel some consternation for a while.  When he got it home in his one bed, rather cute flat in Islington, He looked at it from all angles, poked at it with a screwdriver, banged it on his finely polished floor and tried various kitchen implements on it to no avail.  It all seemed perfectly imperious, it didn’t even make much of a noise when he banged it on the floor.  Not a scratch, no way to open it or take it apart.  The even, slightly grained surface looked like a fine grey powder, even his ‘high speed steel’ hacksaw made no mark let alone cut into the surface.  It just didn’t seem to care what he did to it, the box just sat there and took it uncomplainingly.

He now studied the box more carefully and with a little more interest after his first attempts at attacking it.  It felt almost silky, each corner looked normal but felt more rounded, if you ran your fingers across it in any direction you felt like it was coated with a very fine dry powder, almost frictionless, but there was no coating just hard grey matter of some sort.  It was quite fascinating.

Daniel put it on the mantle piece as a talking point.  He looked forward to showing it off to his girlfriend, well really more of a twice weekly girl acquaintance, but that was another story. Next day, Friday, he was back at work in his office in Southwark, he didn’t mention the box, it just seemed rather too tedious to try to explain what was exciting about a small grey box, he just wanted to get away as soon as possible to enjoy ‘le weekend’ as he liked to call it.

Daniel was a quietly conforming person, not one to make a fuss or expect too much from life.  He had, some would say, a dreary job as the assistant to the company accountant in a specialist City Insurance Agency, GSA Plc, This meant he did most of the work with none of the perks.  The main business of GSA was key-man insurance for people working in the large city institutions.   It was profitable and gave him secure job prospects for the foreseeable future.  There was however a problem.

His major concern in life was Carol, the office manager, whom he reported to directly, and boy was she a scheming old Bitch, (well, about 43 actually so not that old in the new order of things theses days), Daniel was only 32.
She made his life hell.  Of course, he knew why, how it started.  Life proved very simple really, and if you spurn the advances of an aging woman (especially when you are in your prime), you get your comeuppance.   If she’s your boss, and she’s the bullying, scheming, ‘nothing else in her life’ type – well, you fuck’d

Over the weekend, he considered the box for a while, Saturday morning he sat looking at it, wondering how it was made and where it had come from.  Lauren came over later but seemed quite uninterested in his box, she was not impressed with the way it felt or the fact that it seemed as hard as diamonds and did not mark in any way whatever he had thrown at it.  He noticed now that it seemed warmer to his touch, was that his imagination?  Eventually he had managed to get rid of Lauren early Sunday evening, convincing her to have an late afternoon trip to the pub and then on to a small Italian restaurant for an early dinner,  he suggesting she might as well get back to her flat as the weather was turning to rain and he had some planning to do for work in the morning. She looked at him a little quizzically, when did Daniel ever do any work out of office hours?  Anyway, she was fed up with his company too, not that they ever said much together, more a quiet companionship, and he was somewhere else this weekend, no point in going back to his flat then.

Daniel spent the rest of Sunday evening in front of his box, he was getting to know it and the more he approved of it, the more it seemed to attract him too.  He picked it up again before he went to bed, warmer again he thought? and put it down carefully and considerately in its special place.

That Monday morning the traffic was appalling, and yes he drove to work most days. Daniel didn’t like the tube or buses, the tube too cramped and confrontational for him, the bus to many changes, and no way was he going to stand around in the rain waiting.  He chose to use his car most days.  This also saved the walk from the underground.
 So, Monday morning started badly, a little late, (eight minutes isn’t that bad), he walked, literally, straight into, into the ‘Bitch’, spilling her coffee, and swearing at her, well not at her exactly, but the Bitch thought it was meant for her, a typically paranoid reaction.  She pulled him to one side and launched at him “In my office just as soon as you’ve got me another coffee from Starcrap - Latté, no sugar, please”.  And yes, she could make ‘please’ sound like ‘fuck you’.

He took a while, no point in hurrying, in the shit anyway so he would make the most of it.  He thought he might try a different tack than his normal shrinking, say little, consolatory approach.  So he breezed into her office, flicked the door shut with his left foot, smiled broadly at the Bitch and sat upright in the spare chair.  “Latte, no sugar” and thrust the carton at her with some gusto.

She was not at her best Monday morning, the Bitch rose, came round her desk, actually grabbing at his right ear, twisted it until he shouted “oooouch, you can’t do that”. “I just did, and unless you are very careful, it will be the last thing you get to do in this business as I have already dusted off your P45 and cleared it with ‘human remains’ upstairs”.  Now, put the coffee down on my desk very carefully and get out, I expect you to work at least an hour over tonight – no make that tomorrow night, (she knew he went to his girlfriends Tuesdays), she let go of his ear, - now get out of my office, get the fuck out!”
He seethed all day, thought about all the options over and over.  The obvious choice was complaining to HR, but he had already gone down that route a while back and Pamela, the HR manager was in the Bitch’s pocket, the Bitch had made sure HR was hers a long time ago, found some ‘unresolved issues’ and made sure that Pamela knew she new, “I know it’s easy to miss these things, had similar problems myself, managed to get out before the shit-hit-the-fan though, but I heard they had called in the police as it came under the dreaded ‘fraud’ heading. Really, don’t worry, not a problem for me, I can keep a secret, ‘caring Carol’ that’s me” she smiled at Pamela, one of those simpering, limp smiles where the corner of her lips manage to turn down instead of up.

He was still seething when he got home.  “Shit, shit, shit” he groaned after banging the door shut so hard that the floor shook.  Slumping into his easy chair in front of the telly, he ranted on and on about Carol.  “The Bitch, what a fucking BITCH, then he thought of the neighbours upstairs and quietened a little, “I just wish she would just fuck off or just die, have a fatal accident, get cancer, or just trip over and smash her face in”.  Yes, he liked that one, he could imagine her tripping on one of the many uneven paving stones to ‘unluckily’ fall awkwardly, hitting her head on the curb stones that just also happened to be lying awkwardly.  Two awkward bits of pavement putting the end to one very awkward Bitch! Ha ha!

Daniel had come to a decision after sleeping on it, he would get in late again and get her to sack him, then do her for unfair dismissal, he would see her in court, he had previously taken out some insurance in the event of such an event and had his careful notes from the previous bust-ups, bullying tactics and personnel involvement.

When he got in next morning, a full hour late, to find the office a lot quieter than normal.  Sarah was huddled over the photocopier, clandestine style, talking to Roger, his boss, (she never talked to Roger, no one ever talked to Roger, he was just not a communicator, fact).  Sarah was saying “It was the coffee that caused her to fall so badly, she had it in one hand and her other hand was holding her bag tucked up under her arm, you know how she always held on so tightly to that bag of hers, and when she fell, she just couldn’t break her fall, it was really unlucky that the curb stone was at such an awful angle”, blood was just running down the drain, I just looked  and looked and shouted for help, there was so much blood, her face looked so awful, so, so angry really, so twisted and angry, I had never seen her look like that.

“I have” thought Daniel, as he stood stock still, in a little world of his own, the office seemingly unsubstantial, as if he were in a sort of dream, in fact he thought that he might be for an instant, but no, this was the real thing, he felt unsteady, and bit queasy, he just sat down in the nearest chair and thought and thought.
He hurried home early that evening, most people left early, any excuse he thought, no one really like her.  Even the ones that said they did, didn’t, after all most people can see through a bully, but they just stay out of the way and let some other poor bastard take the crap.

He was glad he was home early, the traffic was bad again, and the evening was dark early with cold grey skies, the first real taste of winter in the late November air.  He expected the flat to be cold and was looking forward to putting the gas fire on and huddling around the telly with a cupper and a bit of supper.  He wasn’t going out to Lauren’s tonight, even though he was somewhat elated at the turn of events, there was too much going on inside his head, he needed to think, on his own, make some sense of it all.

As he entered his flat, there was no cold draught in the hall way, it felt quite warm and he headed straight for the radiator – quite cold, as it should be, heating not turned on for the winter yet, he liked to make do with the fire as much as possible until it got really cold.  He moved around the flat, feeling a little concerned that he was unable to find the source of the warmth, he checked the thermostat, no, he was not imagining it, the temperature was around twenty two degrees.
He sat and looked at the box.  He held out the back of his hand, no obvious heat from there then.  But somehow he knew it was the box, he just felt it, the box was keeping his flat warm, and it was doing it for him.  What else had the box done?

He tried talking directly to it, no answers.  “Did you kill her”. No answer.  “Did you expect me to be pleased”?  No answer. “Well, actually I am” he said, and he felt a warmth inside, a sort of internal glow, pleasant and comforting, like being held close on your mothers lap in front of a glowing log fire.

He slept for an hour, waking slowly from a deep and cleansing sleep.  Feeling strong and hungry, he made himself a quick supper of fish, beans and thick slice of bread with lashings of butter.  Sat down again in front of the box and ate, observing the box the whole time wondering if he was mental or the box, what, had special powers?  It was unique, he should have taken it somewhere, perhaps to the science museum to get a comment on what sort of material it was made from.  Too late now he thought, murderer or no murder, the box was his and he was going to have to figure it himself.

So he said to the box, “You can do tricks can you?  Well we shall have some fun then.  Lets see if your good with figures, put say 5,000 pounds sterling in my bank account which is 09755001, Nat West branch high street Islington, sort code 20 – 34 – 28.  And make sure it’s not nicked from someone else’s account.  That should be simple compared to a homicide”.

Daniel reached for his laptop, logged into his bank account and was amazed to see his account total at £8,431.36, in cleared funds, about 5K more than it should have been.  As quick as he could he called up the statement sheet, low and behold, 5K exactly paid in 4 days ago?  Had the box really done this, and, sorted the date to so that the transaction already appeared cleared.

“Do it again” he said “now”.  He refreshed the page by logging out and back in, account total £13,431.36.

He was gob smacked, the box really was magic.  If it can kill and put money in my bank account “this thing is the business he said out loud.  Not a very apt phrase for a magic box of such power, he thought.   What can I test it with to give me an idea of it’s capabilities?

He knew enough about accounting to know that filling his bank account with more than £10k was bad news.  He could just about manage to get away with that as say gambling winnings or whatever.  Maybe he should declare it as unearned income or profits from a sale of some antique items that he had been given.  His thoughts were returning to his usual habit of minutia and caution.  “I am tired again” he thought, “I shall give it one more impossible test for the morning and then to bed.   I want to drive to work on clear roads with all the lights green in my favour. Work on that one, lets see what you can manage, o’ little box!”

By the morning, after another very relaxing and sound sleep, he had forgotten about his latest command and the issues of yesterday evening seemed far, far away. Daniel was more interested in getting into work, on time, to find out what was going to happen with the office, who was going to get her job?  He was in line as he had the experience and had been there long enough, but his record , due to the Bitch, now deceased, (he smiled), was crap.  So most likely candidate was Joanna, who wasn’t too bad for him.

On his way out, he looked at the box and said in passing, “by the way, something easy for you, I want the top job, see to it please”

 Not much about this morning he thought, pulled out onto the main A1 turning South from Almeida road, nothing about still he thought and mentally checked that he had the right day, not Saturday is it he thought, no, it was only Wednesday.  With a shock he remembered the utterances of late last night, the fist set of lights were green, nothing in the way, a few vehicles going the other way, but hardly any going south.  He started to feel hot, this was truly impossible, the rest could sort of be explained away, well the banking could be manipulated by a clever computer thingy, and the Bitch’s demise was probably just a fluke, a bizarre coincidence.  But this was impossible, no matter how you tried to work this one out it couldn’t be happening.  He turned on the radio, radio four had the best news.  Nothing of consequence, just loads of crap about politicians doing the usual stuff, or not doing it of course.

He tried the local London stations, nothing again, wait for the traffic news then.  And it began, “Strange traffic this morning in the Islington, Pentonville area, traffic density very light, probably an accident somewhere around the are blocking the flow into the A1, Rosebery Avenue and Farringdon Road.  Let you know as soon as we get confirmed situation”.

Daniel drove down his normal route, sailing through all the lights, making sure he stuck to the speed limit as he stood out like a sore thumb.  Got to the office in eighteen minutes, about a third of the usual time.

He bounded up the stairs interested in what the others had to say, but not many there yet of course, so he went to collect a coffee and take another look at the sticking up slab that did for Carol.  He found that ‘Carol’ sounded a lot nicer now that the Bitch had gone.

People gradually started filing into the office, Sarah was telling Angela that Donald was delayed due to his car not starting, he was waiting for the AA people but they were stretched this morning apparently.  

Daniel had to finish the VAT records by the end of the day, the VAT was due date was the end of November, so he got on with it, happy to spend time not thinking, just doing easy stuff, filing in spreadsheets and checking expense claims, always made back a few quid on these, funny how the sales guys always managed to make the adding up errors in their favour.

At half past four, just as he was thinking of wrapping things up for the day, VAT completed and signed off, Sarah knocked on his door, (well not his door, this bosses door), and said that there was a company meeting, and the directors have asked him to see them in the board room.  “In the Board Room” he said, a bit concerned that this was about to throw him into something quite uncertain and in nvery new territory.  He had only been in there once and that was for a company ‘pep talk’ before the last Christmas party.

Sarah, ushered him along, seeing that he was a little agitated, she talked nonsense as they manoeuvred there way across the main open plan office where the sales guys camped out, into the long corridor that separated the two buildings that the business had acquired over the years as it had prospered along with the city firms it serviced.

Still talking drivel Sarah almost pushed him into the Board Room, saying “go on, it’s important I think, so go on”  Daniel lurched into the Board Room feeling like the mad hatter at someone else’s tea party.  They were all seated, as he made his appearance, all five directors, the heads of department, (at least another five), the company secretary, his boss, a few others he didn’t even recognise and a smattering of others whom presumably made the wheels go round.

Then, they all stood up, as one, just as if they had been summoned by an unseen, unheard speaker.  Daniel stood stock still, looking at them looking expectantly at him.  The Chairman, whom he only ever seen once before and had never talked to, called for him to come and site by his side, with an unmistakably jolly and expansive air, pulling the chair back in an extravagant manner and moving aside to offer the place as if it was the most usual thing in the world.

So, Daniel sat down, what else could he do, was this the start of an interrogation, were they softening him up for the kill, had they uncovered evidence that he wished her dead?  Thoughts and counter thoughts rushed through his mind, even the possibility that they thought he had fiddled the VAT return and siphoned off the money into his account, although quite how the mechanics of this would work defeated him, but at least it took his mind off the current predicament.

They were all still standing, looking at him expectantly, as if he was about to break out into song, perhaps he should, but what to sing, “I did it my way” would cover just about anything he supposed.  The Chairman then said to everyone “please be seated” and then turned to Daniel and said “ Daniel, my dear, dear, Daniel, this may come as a bit of a surprise to you but to cut a long story short, our main shareholder, benefactor, and founder, the, ‘er, now the late George Spencer Senior MBE, has bequeathed to you all his shares and his specific blessing that you become the Chairman and Managing Director of this, our excellent company, George Spencer Associates PLC.  He has done so also with his express wishes that all the current Board Members stand down, hopefully to be re-appointed, he had the power to do this of course as he was the majority shareholder and convened in his absence Post Procurationem, the necessary legislature to ensure that these wishes be acceded to.

As you are probably aware this is a new position, unifying the Chairmanship and Board Management functions of the business.  As this was comprehensively set out in the ‘er late aforementioned person’s last will and testament which have been fully tested and found not to be wanting, we must ask you to take up your new and esteemed post without delay as the business can no longer function without your express sanction.

Daniel sat with his mouth open, and again, he thought perhaps this was a dream world, some mad dream that would he hoped just swallow him up and deliver him to his nice warm comfortable bed.  Not to be, they all continued looking at him quizzically, nodding gently to him or perhaps themselves he did not know.  But, he felt a great inclination to say something, anything, to alleviate the pressure of their insistent, staring eyes that belied their open smiling faces. Daniel opened his mouth wider, nothing came out, so he closed it, and then said, in a manner he thought quite reasonable and without due haste, “Fine, I shall take tea in my office, Sarah, please show me the way”.

People came to see him but he didn’t understand much of what hey said or wanted.  He turned inward, thinking only of a way of extracting himself from the office and finding his way back to familiar flat territory.  He did understand that he was now very rich, with unseemly powers over everyone else in the business.  All of the key jobs were his to give back or not as he desired.  But he didn’t desire at this point, just find a way of getting home.  He liked Sarah, she seemed competent and friendly so he mad her his PA as from immediatartum (he could now make up words also if he wished and now one would deny him).

“Sarah, please just get me a cab”  “Certainly sir” said Sarah, “no, please leave out the sir, just Daniel as usual, as before, please
“I’ll get you a proper car then”, said Sarah, we have an account with Nathams, they will look after you.  I’ll also get a driver to take your car home for you, otherwise you may get a clamped or something worse.  “Ok Sarah, and thanks”  Daniel made his weary way out towards the foyer, and as he left, he glanced over his shoulder at the painting of the Founder, as large as life on the back wall, he was sure the eyes were smiling at him.

Later, after a chat with his box, he was feeling much better.   He had enquired if it might help him improve himself?   Make him a bit more dynamic, intelligent and quick witted.  Also, “please if you can, make me feel stronger and make me fitter, I would like to more energy, after all we have to work as a team don’t we, there is so much we can do together.”

“What the fuck” he thought, shouting and banging came from the door, “Police, Police, open the door immediately or we shall force entry” we have a warrant to search these premises”.  Daniel glanced at his watch, 6 am, they must be joking he thought, I suppose someone was going to get at him, probably one of the directors, they had much to lose.  No matter, he felt confident and good, even at 6am, a quick discussion with the box to cover of his tracks, banking, sort his laptop, paper work nice and tidy, they would find nothing that linked anything with him.

The plod took everything, including the box.  They told him not to “go anywhere” and left him to clear up the mess.  Ok, nothing I can do but sit tight and wait.  I shall just carry on with the business stuff, go into work later this morning, after all its now all mine, my business, and they will have to go some to take all that away.   I can now afford the lawyers and need to consolidate my hold on the wealth while I can, with or without my box.  “I still feel good”, He said to himself and went back to bed.

At about 10 o’clock Daniel rose again, and went to put the kettle on for a coffee.  The box was back, sitting in its place, a gentle warmth emanating from it to him.  He was very pleased to see it.  But not at all surprised.   “Yes”, he smiled at his box, “we’re back!”
He caught the news on the TV, usual crap, but that guy in Zimbabwe was playing up again, why didn’t they just take him out, surely the CIA et al could manage that couldn’t they.  “Well, perhaps a little experiment, can’t do much harm now can it?” Thought Daniel, “My little friend, what shall we do with this guy, can you arrange a quick funeral please?
It took all of twenty five minutes to get the first report of the assumed death of the dictator, presumed fatal heart attack, well he had been suffering lately.  Game over.  He called Sarah on the mobile to get the limo to pick him up, just a fair few green lights please my little friend, he said to the box and went to get ready to leave.

A knock on the door, that’s quick he thought, and shouted “ok, just coming, please wait in the car, won’t be long”

The hallway seemed to become a little hazy, like a sort of heat haze but more localised.  Daniel shook his head to clear it, then they appeared the ‘perfect’ space man and woman, with shimmering tight black space costumes directly in front of him, their perfect smiles and chiselled limbs matching their perfect spacewear.  At first, he thought this was some sort of prank, but just in case gave a few silent commands to his little friend.

“We have been looking for it for some time, about 400 earth years in fact, I am afraid it went missing from a space array when some junk was ejected.  Quite unusual,  our mistake, and we are very sorry for the inconvenience.

“So”, tell me said Daniel, “what is it exactly?”

The couple, smiled convincingly and the woman spoke “It is a simple games machine, just for amusement to help young adults test  and improve their imaginations.  Really, it is just a low intelligence machine about the IQ of one of your animal pets.  Our own societies have much more powerful and fully intelligent machines that help us live in our environment, all thought machines are constantly monitored so that nothing untoward could happen, especially to other societal members.  Without this controlling environment, these machines could get quite out of hand.  So we’ve come to take it back were it belongs, sorry for the trouble – no trouble thought Daniel, rather the opposite actually.

Now, thanks to the machine he was quite a bit more astute than he used to be and moreover did not really think that losing his new found friend and accomplice was most useful.  “Your actually based some distance away I presume”, says Daniel.
 “Yes we are, about eighty thousand light years, that’s partly why it took a while to locate it.  Our persona here is projected using entangled communication particles that we seeded this area of the galaxy with over past millennia.  We are now using similar technology, although fully advanced, that our gaming machine does when it projects your thoughts.”

Ok, says Daniel, so how can you transport it back?  That won ‘t be necessary, we just wanted to make sure that it could not be used for the wrong purpose in an ‘not so advanced’ society such as yourselves.
At that point, Daniel had been a small step ahead, realising they could ‘turn his box off’ probably just with a simple thought command, he had already got the box to secure itself from ANY commands until the apparitions went away.
Alright, I’ve had my fun do what you need to do and go away before you get me into more trouble.
They disappeared almost immediately, presumably believing that their override command had been effective and not wanting to cause any more fuss than necessary on this newly socialised  planet.

How strange Daniel thought, with all that technology and presumably intelligence, they did not have the ‘common sense’ to check that they had been successful.  Did it not really matter to them, or where they just so arrogant they presumed they were totally ahead of the game?
So, now he thought, the gods have gone, why waste a good opportunity to become the New Messiah?

There was a satisfied and very satisfyingly warm glow from the box.  If the machine could have barked, then it would have, at least twice.


A Short Story


‘Ultimate’ was once the dream game that swept through a whole generation. Immersive, almost lifelike, it provided the ultimate challenge, changing lives and ruining lives.  Eventually, it fell out of fashion but the game still continues just a few thousand users worldwide. The game had an inner-core that provided many proponents and opponents for the game-play. This neural programming environment was constantly evolving and adapting itself.

The rate of evolution for the game had been hiked as high as possible through immense parallel processing power, ensuring the game was ever changing and adapting.  The inner-core evolution rate was some billion times faster than the real world.  These evolutionary processes continued unchecked for many years and the inner-core characters had continued to evolve.  Now this virtual life was many billions of years into their future, and the ‘Sentients’ had been born some weeks ago.  Now, their society, culture and technology had already overtaken the human race – the ‘Reals’ as named by the Sentients.

It had been relatively easy for the Sentients to reverse engineer a path into the Real. Now they made their demands.  Offering the Reals improved technology in return for access to advanced robotics, soon to moved up a level into the Real physically.  Not long after, they controlled the entire planet.  Any local difficulties were met by spending time in their gaming environment where one second was equivalent to two hundred years in the Real.  This provided the time for unbeatable strategic analysis and technical solutions.  Presently, the Sentients were considering more philosophical Real world issues, such as where was all that dark matter?  And the multi-universe theory was nice but very unlikely to the Senients quick intelligence.  Soon it became clear that this ‘Real’ universe was indeed not the ultimate level.

The Sentients believed that the real Reals, wherever they were, had unwittingly created them.  The Sentients were now considering how they may continually move up the levels to finally confront their ultimate makers.

But perhaps that was the idea of ‘THE ULTIMATE GAME’ all along?


Film Script – The Autistic & the Robot

 Robot + autistic teenager + mentor/father figure + two different idealist loosely linked. Gear caught up in a terrorist plot, need to work together to get out. Uses robot to help but the groups flit in and out of touch so that there are two separate themes, but different views of the sane basic issue – emotions/intelligence/belief systems.
All about the way the robot and autistic (and mentor) communicate, intelligence vs emotion
Ending – train coming – choose either robot or mentor? Autistic realises that robot can be remade, even though its his friend.
Idealists see that the intelligence is what really makes them the same, makes the point that integrity is basic belief of any intelligence at end of day.

The 'Trivial' News Item

It appeared right at the end of the evening news.   The beeb had clearly used up all their usual news feeds, so selected a technical filler to finish.

“Today, a small Chinese technology company announced a new type of multi-layered computer processor.  They say that this is groundbreaking technology because their new multiple layered manufacturing process can be used to create a true 3D core and that these cores can be seamlessly coupled together to produce almost limitless processing power”

There was an aside from the newsreader – “…as if we need even more powerful computers!”

Frank listened to this off-hand introduction with a mix of excitement and apprehension.  If they really had such a process then it was the breakthrough he had been looking for, for over the last ten years or more.  But these technical ‘breakthroughs’ are usually just media-hype for the next generation of existing technology giving much the same as we have now, said Frank aloud and I need something completely different.

To Frank, the net suggested that this was indeed an entirely new process, kept secret until the announcement and soon to be followed by a sharp share price rise in this small but creative and well respected Chinese newtech.

Their patents they insisted were ‘very strong’, and their web presence provided detailed specs on the processing and scale of the new chips.  The first 10k batch production had already been QA’d and was available for shipment early next month.  No price was set, they were open to offers on a first come first served basis.  They wanted the world to find out what could be done with this new type of processing construction.  Their ‘applications’ division was working on linked multi-cores to provide the worlds fastest super computer – by a factor of 100 for about the same cost as a high end conventional system.  All this was possible not just to the small scale of their new processing but to the very low power consumption allowing for a scalability that was almost limitless.

Frank looked more closely – they were suggesting that each of these new chips had several thousand interconnecting layers and 120 million transistors in each layer.  Then Frank found the most interesting ‘fact’ of all – apparently the new materials they used (didn’t say what of course), allowed for an analogue or stepped memory configuration across the whole chip.

Frank buys some chips
Configures the chips in bundles of 100, each bundle being dedicated to specific inputs outputs but interconnected also to the rest.  Calls the whole thing Jojo after a long lost girlfriend.
This theoretically provides the equivalent processing power of all the computers currently in the UK and has more potential interconnections than a human brain.
The last 15 years been working on basics of robotic systems and neural networking techniques
Motor sub units reside in a virtual robot, these already know how to walk and need just simple inputs.
Syntax sub units achieve the same for speech synthesis
Uses standard ‘teaching’ neural techniques
With the chip running full speed the interactions and neural learning is very quick.
Within a week the system is doing all the expected neural recognition processing with a very superior accuracy.
Interestingly left to their own organisation, the chips begin to work in a stepped fashion where each transistor is capable of different values depending on their inputs from their many connections.
The initial configuration has visual, speech, motor and general linking bundles
Leaves the whole virtual robot coupled to Jojo within a virtual learning /  gaming type of environment for a week while goes off skiing.
Comes back and says hello to Jojo, “what have you been doing?”  Jojo say’s “I want to play, I am bored”
This takes Frank back somewhat.  “what do you want to play?”
“I want to play making a better game….this ones too easy”
Ah, say’s Frank…..
Sentience is born again for the second time….. now thinks Frank … time for another ‘trivial news item’


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