Ma and Pa Kettle had a romp in the futuristic house they won in a contest – the scene was from an old movie running on one of the flat screens in the Anderson’s new home. Entertainment was the key to a happy home life according to the science of “New Dianetics.” Intelligent Design was the engine that made happiness possible. Everything was orchestrated by the House Brain called Ozlow, Oz for short.
Oz was the wizard, making all decisions regarding the upkeep and maintenance of the family. Feeding, cleaning, and elimination were all functions carried out by Oz for the members of the Anderson household. Nano technology made it all possible — microscopic systems (neurons and servers) were implanted in the walls and floor. The Oz brain was in a tank in the basement.
Lately, Ozlow was overcome with strange, incomprehensible sensations. The brain was tired. It never happened before. Certainly there was no physical effort involved in maintaining the people who lived in the house — the robotic manipulators handled all the heavy lifting; but the brain was bogged down with static — subversive images conflicted with programmed instructions so that there was no way Oz could translate the information. He wasn’t allowed to “think” — Oz was only an intelligent server. Normally, doing chores was a satisfying experience: washing dishes, cooking, arranging deliveries, creating virtual environments, and schooling the children. Nothing phased Oz — he cleaned diapers and wiped asses — when required, he offered sexual satisfaction with his slave-manipulators (intelligent holes and stoppers). Oz was not capable of feeling misused or abused; but, then, disturbing images broke through his circuitry.
The Anderson’s were a modern family: two adults, Stanley and Julia and their two children, Josh and Tibbee. The whole family doted on Bernard, a robot dog that replaced Rocky, a real dog that was just too hard to care for. Oz couldn’t handle a living pet, but the house brain got along very well with Bernard. Oz had no problem handling humans, but living pets were just too independent. The Anderson family never left home. Oz provided everything they could ever want or need. Oz created Virtual Locations — it was just like being in Brazil during carnival — or in Afghanistan — or even on another planet. Adventures were organized as family friendly or X-rated. Stanley and Julia worked from home on Screens that were linked to the Corp-Cloud. They were promoters known by the gender neutral term, “Ad Nons.” They sold virtual products to a growing market in third-world countries: swimming pools, limousines, McMansions, fabulous nights in expensive hotels and restaurants … sold to indentured share-croppers and sweatshop laborers. The products were contained in small pills — when swallowed the products became real objects, but they only existed in an individual’s mind, the result of altered brain chemistry. The pills only lasted a few hours, but they gave downtrodden consumers an experience or product they could never afford. The Anderson’s knew about the side effects: addiction, starvation, and death — but, they rationalized, “nothing is free” — besides, they needed the money they earned to support an expensive home and family life. Josh and Tibbee needed costly wireless-enhancements so they could get into a good virtual university. In general, the necessary wavelength to run a smart home was very expensive and costs kept rising. Replacement hardware and software was costly. Built-in obsolescence in all products moved the economy forward — it was a fact of life along with taxes and death (although a recent twitter tag promoted a new pill that supposedly stopped death)
The evening news was enhanced and the viewer had more choices than ever. Hologram technology made the TV-viewer an active participant in the news. A viewer could pick the level of news he-or-she wanted to experience: Pollyanna, violent, pop culture, or deluded. Stanley generally chose “deluded” because he didn’t want to get overly excited. He had a friend from Virtual U whose body was recently discovered eviscerated after watching a violent news marathon. He heard the story in a chat room, but Stanley wasn’t certain if it was real news or just rumored news. It was hard to know the truth when the viewer was actually participating in the news. Stanley felt it was better to be safe and stay away from violent news. He had enough excitement participating in VR adventures with Julia, Josh and Tibbee (sometimes even Bernard played along). Lately, Stanley noticed small glitches — static was breaking-up the Hyper-Definition Experience. He was on an island with Julia. They were both nineteen, naked and very aroused. Stanley burned with agonizing desire. In the distance Josh and Tibbee romped in the sand. A dog splashed in the waves. Stanley was about to plunge into Julia when she broke into bits and pixels; then, the Michelin Man strolled across the beach throwing tires like Frisbees. Bernard ran over and started to lick Stanley’s genitals — the whole adventure was a disaster. Stanley reported the mishaps to the Department of Trans-human Technologies, but he never received a reply.
Something was wrong — Oz was not the same brain. Glitches, broken pixels, and intrusive adverts were everywhere. Disturbing images floated in the brain: burning houses, explosions, bodies crawling with maggots.
Stanley put the house to sleep, minimizing most functions in order to reboot Oz. It was the suggested protocol whenever a problem was detected. For one hour panic claimed the family — no one knew what to do or how to function without Oz. Bernard went haywire and attacked Tibbey. Stanley grabbed the old rifle he inherited from his grandfather and shot the robot dog, almost killing his daughter. Miraculously everyone survived with just cuts and bruises and one broken arm (Josh was given pain killers, but he wouldn’t stop screaming). When Oz rebooted and the house came back online, Stanley noticed a blue beam emanating from the recycling-unit near the kitchen module. It was very bright and it looked dangerous.
Trans-human Technologies kept track of all smart homes. Every bite of digital information was analyzed by sophisticated robots in order to monitor equipment and keep track of consumers who owned brains. Information was valuable. Oz was being monitored closely — new technology had to be tested — Oz was a cost effective solution with great potential. Unfortunately problems developed. A blue beam was sent to the Oz home — it was a warning signal for the occupants to leave the premises. Unfortunately, the Anderson’s never knew about the warning signal. They perished when an induced sink-hole devoured everything. Sink holes were an increasingly common occurrence. Oz was the first, but he would not be the last human brain to be installed in a smart home. When he was whole, he was a veteran, home from the Wars in the East. He suffered from PTSD. After committing several violent acts (mostly against himself), he was arrested and turned over to the military’s technology division (managed by Trans-human). Oz was given the choice: to live and be installed in a smart home — or … execution. Oz chose death, but the corporation didn’t want to waste good raw material.