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They would have used your invention to augment their power, to perpetuate the capitalism. The possibility of communism emerging on the basis of these new productive forces would have forever remained an unfulfilled possibility. If we had not 'violated' the history, it would have been them who would have violated it. Do you think it would have been better if they did it instead of us?"

Levshov wanted to say that it was exactly what he had written in his letter, but thought better of it. He decided that the General Secretary just wanted to give him a hint about the ideologically correct way of presenting his invention: Marx is right, Marx is always right, Marx just cannot be wrong. However, from the further words of the GenSec (Soviet vernacular acronym standing for the General Secretary) it became clear that what he meant was far more serious than simple observance of ideological decorum.

- "I'm reading a book now" - said the GenSec - "A curious book. Some dissidents who have defected to United States wrote a book about my ascent to power from a petty party official to the Chief of KGB, and, eventually, to the position of the General Secretary. They presented me as a sort of a Machiavellian ruler who will stop at nothing. Most of the facts seem to be true, but there is one thing missing in that book. There is no answer to a seemingly simple question: what did I do all that for?. The authors of the book seem to believe that the answer is self-evident, and isn't even worth righting about: they think I did it all for power. But they apply their own yardstick.

I'm an old and very sick man. Too old and too sick to enjoy those pleasures of life that the position of the General Secretary potentially places within a man's reach.

They can kill me at any time - there are too many people around me who don't like to see me in this position. So why did I take up the burdens of this office, while I could have retired and been sitting now peacefully at my country house? And the answer is simple: because there is n.o.body else to do the job properly. If I had not taken this office, it would have been taken by somebody for whom the position of GenSec does indeed mean only one thing - unlimited power, somebody who does not care about the ideals of socialism, about our painful and b.l.o.o.d.y history, who does not care about the things for the sake of which we have been enduring all that pain and spilling all that blood for the last sixty years. When I'm looking around me I can see that the pinnacle of power is surrounded by exactly such people, and when I am no more, this chair will immediately be occupied by one of them...

You probably wonder why am I telling you about all this?

I just want you to clearly understand: you have no more than ten years to finish the work on your invention."

- "Why?"

- "Because we are going to loose the cold war to the West."

- "But comrade General Secretary, I don't think that..."

- "Young man, I know the true condition of this country much better than you do. We just don't have any resources left to continue confronting the West. And please, remember, that after me this chair will be taken by the people who don't care about our ideals. They will surrender the country to the West at the West's first beckoning. That means you don't have more than ten years. Can you make it?"

- "I'll try."

- "Please, try hard. And remember that you are going to a.s.sume an awesome responsibility. If you don't make it, all those millions of sacrifices our people made in the cause of socialism will turn out to be meaningless. But if you do make it, the Soviet Union, even if it falls at the hands of traitors, will nevertheless have fulfilled its historic mission of opening for the mankind the road to communism.

You are our last hope. Always remember it.

And now, back to business. I hope you realize that this work should be done in strictest secrecy. And keeping it secret from Americans is the easier part. Although even this is fairly difficult, in view of the fact that KGB is already heavily infiltrated with CIA agents. But we'll be able to solve this problem - security in your lab will be maintained by my own tried people. The most difficult part will be keeping it secret from our own bureaucracy. Your invention is going to encroach upon what's holy for them - the pyramid of power, the very principle of power. If they learn about this before time, they'll reduce you to dust. That's no joke. Yes, to dust. By the time you are ready to announce your invention to the world, you must be fully armed. Yes, fully armed..."

2.11 The night of July 6, 1997, lockup ward.

... Levshov's reminiscences were interrupted by a groan of the metal door being opened. In the doorway stood a man in a uniform with general's shoulder boards.

- "Here we go again. This time it's a general." - said Levshov, and sat up in his bunk, putting his feet on the floor, trying to find a comfortable sitting position - "Well, general, since you are here, sit down. I'll try to arrange a chair for you."

Only now the General noticed a strange device of unknown purpose standing in the corner, a device, which, strictly speaking, was not supposed to be there. Levshov noticed General staring at it: "Oh, this. This is a device for condensing water out of the air. Here you can see a small thermoelectric refrigerator, which cools this plate. As you can see, water from the air condenses on this plate and runs off it into this receiver. I had to grow this machine because your colonel had had the water line to my ward disconnected. Although I had warned him that I had the capability to build the machine for extracting water out of the air, he did not seem to believe me... Ah, here is a chair for you."

A white ma.s.s that had just crawled out of the device's receiver, quickly took the shape of a chair, then suddenly changed its coloring, and began to look like a piece of furniture made of real wood. The General tentatively touched the newly grown chair with the tip of his finger.

- "Don't worry, general, the chair is strong enough for you to sit on it. But if you don't trust me and are afraid that one of the legs of this chair may suddenly disappear, I can sit on the chair and you can sit on the bunk."

- "I'll sit on the chair." - said General - "I don't think that you are going to play practical jokes on me."

- "That's correct, general. It's no joking matter that brought me here."

The General sat down on the chair, paused for a second, gathering his thoughts, and finally said: "I came to you not as a law enforcement officer to a detained, but rather as one Russian to another Russian. I want you to clearly understand all the consequences of your actions for our Motherland. In my opinion, you have your head in the clouds, and I want to bring you down to earth.

In theory, all the things that you preach are very nice - you know, all this talk about inst.i.tuting the Reign of Reason, Universal Equality, Brotherhood of Man, and all that. But let me tell you what is going to happen in reality. The Americans have now put together a big team of outstanding scientists, gave them the best equipment and offered them lots of money, and all this to achieve one task - to crack the pa.s.sword of the NanoTech Network System Administrator. And n.o.body doubts that eventually they are going to achieve this. This can happen any moment now. And as soon as they achieve their goal, they will disconnect from the Network its creator, that's you, and all your n.o.ble intentions will forever remain just that - intentions without any power to carry them out. The Americans will use the power of NanoTech to reign supreme over the rest of the world for ever. If this happens, Russia will never be given a chance to rise from her knees. If you still have at least a vestige of patriotism left in you, you must immediately surrender the control over the NanoTech Network to us."

- "Who is 'us'?"

- "We are a group of true Russian patriots, who, for a long time, have been preparing the overthrow of the pro- western puppet government. Up till now we didn't have enough power to carry out our plans. But with the help of NanoTech we'll finally be able to take the offensive. This Network is ideally suited for performing acts of sabotage on the enemy's territory without physically entering that territory. We are going to carry our a pre-emptive nanotechnological strike at the West, to throw it into chaos, the chaos they won't be able to sort out in years.

They'll have too many problems on their hands to care about supporting their puppets here, in Russia. And it is then that we'll be able to get our country out of this current mess and establish here the true Russian Order. Russians will once again become the masters of their own country."

- "And what about all the other nationalities living in Russia. Will they become sort of your guests?"

The General screwed up his face, as if he had a toothache: "Listen, Levshov, are you really concerned about what'll happen to all those black-a.s.ses?" - the General used the vulgar derogatory expression applied in Russia to all those nationalities whose complexions are not as fair as the Russians' - "It were the communists who were forcing us to be internationalists. But now, thanks to the fall of communism, one no longer needs to be afraid of being a nationalist."

- "You see, General, because of the event which you call "the fall of communism", it is now possible not to be afraid of being any kind of scoundrel, but I prefer not to take advantage of this possibility. I'm perfectly aware that being nationalist or racist is a part of human nature - the people of your own tribe are closer, easier to understand and sympathize with than some aliens. A strange complexion, or an unfamiliar shape of somebody's nose may even be repulsive at a purely biological level. But all these are purely emotional, biological reactions. Beside pure biology, a human being is also endowed with reason, and at least at the level of our reason we must try to see ourselves not just as members of our own tribe, but also as members of the united mankind. Otherwise, the only prospect we have is an interminable war, unending retaliatory strikes at the "other tribe", a vendetta handed down from generation to generation, without anybody remembering the cause of the initial conflict. And the weapons grow more dangerous and destructive with each pa.s.sing year. This is the road to complete self-destruction. Do you have any idea how the West might respond to your "pre-emptive nanotechnological strike"?

Somebody must break this vicious circle, and stop the madness of the war of peoples that has been dragging on for thousands of years now. NanoTech gives peoples a chance to escape from under the authority of their governments, and thus end the division of the single mankind into different nations. Such division only serves the interests of the governments and national elites, but not the interests of the peoples themselves who have to spill their own blood in the wars protecting the interests of these elites. So, excuse me General, but I absolutely don't like your idea of using NanoTech as a weapon.

And as for the attempts to crack the pa.s.sword of the Network Administrator, please tell those hackers who are making such attempts - I believe you have the capability to contact them - that cracking a conventional computer system is very different from cracking NanoTech. Please, remind them that conventional computer systems are always located outside the hacker, while in the case of NanoTech a part of the system is actually located inside the hacker himself and is capable of controlling some vital functions of his body.

Please tell them that if during an attempt to break into the system they set off alarms built into the NanoTech system, this might have a very deleterious effect on their health.

Will you?"

The only response from the General was an annoyed nod.

- "Very nice of you." - said Levshov - "I've given the warning, so if anything happens to them now, my conscience will be clear. And now, to the most important question, General. What about my televised address?"

- "I think you'll have to make a pre-recording of your address. The proper authorities will have to view it and make a decision. I hope you realize that we can't put on the air something that has not received the proper clearance."

- "When can I make this recording?"

- "Anytime you wish. As soon as tomorrow, actually."

- "And when can I expect the decision?"

- "That's something I don't know. You must realize that the issue will be decided at the highest level."

2.12 Ten minutes later at the General's office.

- "Any results?" - asked the Colonel.

- "All to no avail." - answered the General - "Stubborn b.a.s.t.a.r.d. He knows he has the game in his hands and behaves accordingly."

- "So, what do we do now?"

- "There are only two things we can do now - play for time and pray that the specialists in our secret lab crack the pa.s.sword before the Americans do. Although we don't have the kind of equipment the Americans do, but some of our specialists used to work with Levshov, they understand his psychology and this gives them a certain advantage. Levshov mentioned something about an alarm system that might go off, though. It sounded like a threat. Let's hope he was just bluffing. We'll have to take this risk."

Part three: on the brink of a revolution

3.1 July 7, 1997. Recording of A.Levshov's address to the people.

"Comrades, ladies and gentlemen, and just people! The things that I'm going to tell you now may seem to you so improbable, that it's possible you may not want to continue listening to me and will want to switch to another channel.

Please don't do it, because at the end of my speech I'm going to give you such proofs of the truth of my words that can convince even a most hardened skeptic. I cannot present these proofs immediately, because, without my preliminary explanations, the things you are going to see and hear may frighten some of you. So please be patient and listen to me for a quarter of an hour. Even if the first part of my speech may seem boring, or obscure, or unbelievably absurd to you, I can promise that by the end of my speech you won't be disappointed.

You all know that the current social order called capitalism didn't always exist. Way back at the dawn of history, at the time when there was still no technology, whenever a man needed food, or an animal skin for his clothing, or firewood for his bonfire, that man just went to a nearest forest and took whatever he need directly from Mother Nature. It goes without saying that there was no money back then. It was a sort of prehistoric communism.

This state of affairs lasted for tens of thousands of years, which is much longer than the time that has pa.s.sed from the moment when money was invented a mere few thousand years ago. In other words, one may say that a moneyless society is, in a certain sense, more 'natural', more in harmony with the human nature.

It may well be that many of you won't agree with such statement. The official propaganda is now trying to convince everybody that capitalism is the society most fully consistent with the human nature, and, consequently, capitalism is eternal. I think that falseness of the latter statement is obvious to any thoughtful mind: nothing in this world is forever, everything that has a beginning has an end. The only question is: What is going to replace capitalism?

To answer this question, we've got first to understand what made capitalism possible in the first place, that is how did it happen that almost every thing in the world (with a few exceptions, like air, which one can still get for free) could be a.s.signed a certain numerical value called the cost of that thing. The fact is that the cost of any thing consists of four components. The first component is the rarity of the material of which this or that thing is made: the shorter the supply of the material, the higher the cost of the product. The second component is the mechanical work required to manufacture the thing: the more physical energy went into building a thing, the costlier it is. The third and the fourth components are related to the information imparted to the thing during its manufacture. Every thing differs from an amorphous ma.s.s of raw materials of which it is made in that it has a certain structure, in that the initial raw materials in it are arranged and ordered in accordance with drawings, or with programs loaded in a numerically controlled machine tool, or simply with the ideas in the head of a craftsman. In other words, whenever a thing is manufactured, an information contained in drawings or in some other source is copied onto the initial raw materials. And this information also contributes to the cost of the final product. When we consider this phenomenon we've got to distinguish between two aspects - the cost of creating the information itself, and the cost of copying this information during manufacturing of a product. The cost of creating information is the cost of the creative labor of inventors and designers who create drawings of a future, still non-existent product, the cost of the labor of a writer who is writing a book which is still to be printed, that is, converted into a final product, a thing. The cost of copying the information is the cost of the labor of workers cutting the metal according to the drawings, the cost of the labor of typographical workers printing the book. The more difficult it is to perform this process of copying, the more expensive the final product will be. Thus, the rarity of the material, the amount of expended energy, the effort required to create information, and the effort required to copy it are the four components of the cost of any product.

Capitalism can successfully evolve and progress only if there are proper conditions for providing adequate remuneration for the creative effort of the information makers, that is, only if the cost of creating the information can be included in the price of the final product, thus providing an incentive for the inventor to further improve his product. In the nineteenth century, which was the age of rapid growth for capitalism, this was not a problem because of a peculiarity of the then level of technology. The peculiarity consisted in the fact that in order to manufacture almost any thing, you need a fairly large factory with a large number of machine tools and workers. Back in those times, if somebody would have wanted to copy, for example, a book without paying fees to the author, he would have had to find a printing house, which employed at least several people, potential witnesses to his act of piracy. In other words, in the nineteenth century, due to a low level of technology, the process of copying was very complicated, which made infringements of copyright or patent law almost impossible. The inventors and authors were receiving proper rewards for their inventions and works, which resulted in a rapid progress of technology.

As technological progress went on, in all the industries the process of copying was growing increasingly simple, requiring less and less labor, while the copying equipment was growing smaller and less expensive. And so now, by the end of the twentieth century, the situation in some of the industries is such that a man sitting at home can single- handedly and fairly quickly copy any product of that industry. And that's why the end of the twentieth century became the era of ma.s.s piracy, which cannot be stopped in principle. When I say "ma.s.s piracy' I don't mean factories somewhere in China that churn out unlicensed products - these are actually the ones that can be easily detected and closed down, if only there is a political will to do so. No, what I really mean is individual piracy that we indulge in at our own home when we tape a movie aired on TV on our VCR, take a computer game from a friend and copy it on our diskette, or scan and print out on our home printer a book written by somebody else. And the home printer is just a beginning. If we extend this technological trend into the future, we'll see that in a few decades we are going to have an all-purpose home robot that will be able to copycat and manufacture any product, not only a book . And then the individual piracy will make inroads into all the industries, not only video, audio, software and publishing industries that are the hardest-hit today.

And you also have to keep in mind that the accessibility of information will also be continuously growing. Probably all of you have heard about Internet, and many of you have actually used it. Today, the home printer is probably the only "machine tool" that can be hooked up to the Internet.

But as soon as the all-purpose home robot comes into existence, there will be programs posted on the Internet that will allow to manufacture all kinds of things using that robot. You'll need only one hacker in the world to make any licensed product freely available to all the mankind.

Sure enough, the makers of information will do their best to protect their copy rights and patents. Tougher and tougher laws will be pa.s.sed against piracy. But the only way to enforce such laws would be to create a totalitarian state that watches over every little step of its citizens, monitors their every phone call, and conducts regular searches in every household to check for the existence of unlicensed things in that household. As a result of the development of information technologies, from a society of economic freedom capitalism will turn into a society of non- economic coercion. The Internet, originally hyped as the triumph of capitalism, will actually turn out to be its gravedigger.

The only way to avoid the rise of the global state of total surveillance is to legalize free use of information, to recognize that any information is the common property of all the mankind and can be copied by any citizen of planet Earth free of charge and without any restrictions. You might ask what the inventors will have to live upon, if they cannot sell their inventions, because they won't even have money to buy themselves food? The only answer to this question is to abolish money. Using today's science and technology one can transform the Nature in such a way that man will once again be able to freely take from Nature all that he needs, just as he did throughout the major part of the mankind's history, up till the moment when society based on money came into being.

The evolution of society moves along a spiral path - after completing a full circle society returns almost to where it had been before, but on a higher plane.

And now we have reached the most important part of my today's speech. Comrades, ladies and gentlemen, and simply people! I am proud to have been entrusted with the honor of announcing to you the most important news in the history of mankind. The spiral has completed a full circle - a technological system capable of supporting all your needs has already been developed, tested and deployed, and is ready for operation from today on. The only thing left to do is to issue a command to completely activate the system, and I'm going to do this in a few minutes' time. But before I inaugurate this system, I would like to briefly explain to you how it works. As you probably know, inside each person there have always lived billions of bacteria, some of them absolutely innocuous, some less so. Not long ago, a team of scientists which I represent here, took the liberty of spreading a strain of bacteria which was engineered in our lab and which is absolutely harmless to human beings. I want to emphasize this last fact - these bacteria are not only absolutely harmless, they are actually good for your health, and can help your body fight off many kinds of diseases. These are no ordinary bacteria, these are self- replicating engineering systems, which took us fifteen years of hard work to develop. These bacteria, which have by now spread all over the world, are capable of storing and exchanging data in the same way as computers hooked up to the Internet. We have called this data network of bacteria the NanoTech Network, since its physical basis are the nanotechnological devices built into these bacteria. This network can do absolutely every thing that the Internet can do. Actually, we even have a gateway to Internet, we can retrieve data from it. So, in a certain sense, NanoTech is a subnetwork of the global network Internet. But on the other hand, NanoTech is capable of doing many things of which the Internet is still incapable, and in that sense NanoTech represents the next evolutionary step after the Internet, its logical extension.

As I have already said, the only "machine tool" that at present can be hooked up to the Internet is a printer. In a few years, a home robot may be added to that list. But in any case, the robot will need a source of power and materials for manufacturing new things, and that means that even if the information is free, the final product itself isn't, because the other two components of price - power and materials - still remain. Add to this the amortization of equipment - the robot and computer eventually are going to wear out - plus the phone bills, and you'll realize that one cannot change over to a moneyless society using the cla.s.sical Internet concept.

On the other hand, NanoTech takes all the power and materials it needs quite literally out of the air, and that's why one can safely say that it's as gratuitous as the air itself. For the raw materials, NanoTech extracts carbon atoms from its environment, arranges them into a thing in accordance with the data stored in the network, and as soon as the need for that particular thing ceases to exist, it just releases these atoms back into the environment. This kind of technology is environmentally safe from all aspects.

It doesn't produce wastes. It mimics nature in its workings - one may even say that it just adds one more cycle to the natural recycling of atoms. This new cycle is man-made, but it is made in similitude to the Nature's own cycles.

Conventional technologies pull atoms out of their natural cycles for prolonged periods of time, and bind them inside dead things that are very rarely used, if ever. Conventional things exist regardless of the fact whether we need them in this particular moment or not. That's why conventional technologies need so much raw material - because the efficiency of their use of that material is extremely low.

And that's why conventional technologies are such a burden on the environment.

In contrast to this, NanoTech requires very little amounts of raw materials, because it doesn't bind atoms in dead things, because at any given moment in time most of its things exist only as virtual things, as data in the network, and they materialize only when they are actually needed. It's exactly because of this that NannoTech puts very little load on the environment, and it's exactly because of this that NanoTech can satisfy all the needs of all the people on Earth, and not only of the chosen ones living in the rich countries, and do all this without causing an ecological disaster.

And when I say 'all the needs' I do mean all the things that have been invented by Man, and all the things he is still to invent in the future. Currently the NanoTech Network doesn't contain too much data, and there are still not very many things that it knows how to build (although the things which it already knows how to build are quite sufficient to allow any person to lead an independent life with a living standard adequate for preserving one's dignity and self-respect). But you will be able to fill it with new data and teach it to build many new things. The NanoTech is an all-purpose machine that can be infinitely upgraded, improved and enhanced. The most important thing is to use it in Reason, and not to teach it evil. Governments originally developed this system as a means of sabotage against other countries. Eventually, this system could be used as a means of total surveillance over every citizen, if the above- mentioned regime of strict enforcement of copyright and patent law were to be inst.i.tuted. I saw what the things were coming to, so I stole this system from the rulers to give it to you people. That was the only chance to stop the impending disaster. But to make this chance into a reality, you've got to use this system right. This system must serve only Reason, and it must never be used for seeking and gaining advantages over other people, otherwise the history will repeat itself - once again there will emerge the Rulers and the Ruled, the Rich and the Poor, the Elite and the Outcasts - and then the Disaster will become inevitable.

Then, wars, fights and killings will continue, but this time with an a.s.sured total mutual destruction at the end of the road, since this time the weapons will be one hundred percent accurate, efficient and deadly.

But we do have a chance to avoid this, because now, for the first time in the history of mankind, you, each and everyone of you, are absolutely free and independent. As recently as this morning each of you had the Damocles' sword of fear hanging above your heads, fear that your neighbor will get ahead of you and will s.n.a.t.c.h your bread from your mouth. This fear was suspended over every person throughout the entire history of mankind, and it was this fear that made people trample their neighbors, elbow aside the weak, trying to s.n.a.t.c.h a bigger piece of pie, to carve out their place in the sun.

In a few seconds I'm going to activate the NanoTech Network, and each of you will get access to the means for a dignified life. But before I do this, I want you to clearly understand one thing: n.o.body will ever be able to take away from you what you are going to receive now. You will never again have to be fearful of your neighbor. Whatever happens to you from now on, you'll always have food and lodgings.

You'll have to learn to treat other people not as compet.i.tors, but as friends to whom you'll be giving the fruits of your creative labor and receiving the fruits of their creativity from them.The NanoTech belongs to all the mankind, and at the same time it belongs to each of you.

These are not just empty words or slogans. This is reality, because the NanoTech is first and foremost the information it contains, and the information, by virtue of its very nature, can simultaneously belong to an infinite number of people. Bernard Shaw once said: "If you have an apple, and I have an apple, and we exchange these apples, both you and I will still have one apple. But if you have an idea, and I have an idea, and we exchange ideas, you'll have two ideas, and I'll have two ideas." And since NanoTech contains not things themselves, but rather the ideas of things, the only way to get rich in the NanoTech System will be to give your ideas to all the mankind, in order to augment the common bank of ideas. To give, rather then to take away, as it used to be throughout all the previous history of mankind, when people had to live not among ideas, but among material things that indeed could only be acquired by taking them away from other people.

But now all this is over. I want you to clearly understand that from now on there is no objective need to behave in this way. From now on you are free. You are free to be humans, not beasts that s.n.a.t.c.h gobbets from each other's maw. And the only things that may prevent us from living happily are bad habits and customs that have acc.u.mulated over the previous history of mankind, and the instincts that we have inherited from our b.e.s.t.i.a.l ansestors.

Only our reason can overcome these last barriers. And I believe that the Reason will at last prevail, because now, for the first time in the history of mankind, the material circ.u.mstances of peoples' lives will be on its side.

I intend to demand from all the governments in the world that they immediately let anyone, who will express such a wish, give up his or her citizenship in their respective countries, and become simply citizens of planet Earth. In so doing, the governments will be obligated to destroy all their records, files and any other doc.u.ments related to such persons, and begin to consider such persons as non-existent, that is, the governments will no longer be supposed to levy taxes on such persons, to conscript them into military service, and so on. All the care about the well-being, health, education and security of such persons will be a.s.sumed by the NanoTech Network and voluntary societies of the citizens of NanoTech."

Levshov fell silent for a couple of seconds and then said: "I have just issued the command to enable access to NanoTech Network for all the people on Earth. We'll have to wait for a couple of seconds until this command reaches the farthest corners of our planet. This command gives you all access to the network resources at the ordinary user's level. This level of access allows you to get from NanoTech any kind of foodstuffs and medicines, except narcotics, and any kind of things, except weapons. This level of access also provides a wide variety of information services. You'll be able to talk to any person located at any point on the globe, you'll even be able to hear what his ears hear and see what his eyes see - but only with that person's consent, of course. The capability to eavesdrop, spy and control other person's actions is disabled at this level of access.

And now a briefing on how to log on to the network. All you'll have to do is to say in your mind one word. Don't be frightened when in response you'll hear a voice coming seemingly from nowhere, sort of from your own head - it's just the system sending its reply directly to your auditory nerve bypa.s.sing your ear. So, try now to say in your mind, but as clearly as possible, just one word: "NanoTech". If you don't hear the reply: "System ready", try to say this pa.s.sword once again. It's even possible that you'll have to say this word aloud once or twice - the system must learn to recognize your manner of speech. It learns very quickly, because it recognizes not the sounds which always have lots of acoustic noise in them, but rather the action currents in the muscles of your throat. And this means that even when your voice gets hoa.r.s.e, the system still understands you perfectly, because what it recognizes is what you wanted to say, rather than what you have actually enunciated.

A small digression for our viewers from abroad. I hope that my speech, or at least excerpts from it, will be shown by TV companies from abroad. If you don't understand Russian you can switch the NanoTech user interface from Russian to English. (Unfortunately, at the moment the system does not support any other languages besides Russian and English, but we expect that with your help we'll be able to rectify this omission in no time). In order to switch to English, all you have to do after you log on is to say two words: "English interface". After that your user's interface will be permanently set up to work in English until you choose to change the interface language once again.

Well, I think that by now most of you have already heard the "system ready" reply and we can proceed to the next step. Now, just as clearly as the first time, you'll have to say in your mind (or maybe aloud, if speaking in your mind doesn't work yet) two words. But before I give you these words, I once again want to warn you that you needn't be afraid when in the air right in front of you you'll suddenly see a sort of a "window" in s.p.a.ce through which you'll be able to look into some other world. In reality, physically speaking, there will be no "window" in the air. This will be the same kind of illusion as the voice that said to you "system ready". What will actually happen is that cyborg- bacteria that are attached to your optic nerve will make a virtual inset into the picture that your eyes actually see.

So, say now, as clearly as possible, two words: "Graphic Interface".

And so, if the system has been able to correctly recognize your command, you must now see right in front of you a "window" that takes up about a quarter of your field of view. Inside the "window" you must see what we call a "virtual mall" - a long street with lots of small shops on each side. Each shop has a sign with the names of supplies it provides.

Now you'll have to learn to move in the virtual "s.p.a.ce"

without moving in the real s.p.a.ce in the process. Since this might take some skill, at the initial phase of learning small movements of arms and legs in real s.p.a.ce are allowed.

However, you must try to get rid of them as soon as possible, just as you must try to desist from saying commands aloud and start issuing them mentally.

So now, imagine that you want to look down. I say imagine that you look down, but don't actually look down. The cyborg-bacteria attached to the nerve fibers going to the muscles in your eyes and neck are sensitive enough to pick up those weak action currents that the brain sends to muscles even when the movement is not actually performed, but is only imagined. And now, if you clearly visualize that you are turning your eyes downwards, you'll see the image in the "window" moving in accordance with this visualization - in the virtual s.p.a.ce you'll be looking down at your feet, while according to the image of the real s.p.a.ce that surrounds the "window", you'll still be looking straight ahead. Or, rather, you'll be looking straight ahead only if you have performed this action correctly, that is, only in your imagination, and not in the real world. Otherwise you'll be looking downwards in the real s.p.a.ce as well.

Actually, we decided to leave a border of real-world image around the virtual "window" on purpose, so that you could monitor your actions both in the virtual and in the real world simultaneously. I don't want any one of you to fall off a balcony in the real world, while making a step ahead in the virtual s.p.a.ce. As soon as you learn to move around in the virtual world without moving in the real one, you'll be able to switch to the graphic interface that completely fills your field of view, but for now please train a little bit with the one-quarter field.

So, what you see now in the virtual window are your feet.

Of course, these are not your real feet. These are your "virtual" feet. You can control them by imagining that you move your feet. Now we'll try to make a step forward in the virtual s.p.a.ce. For the purposes of monitoring, please turn your eyes downward in the real world and look at your real feet. They are not supposed to move. And now clearly visualize that you take a step forward. If you did everything correctly, the feet in the virtual window must take a step forward, while your actual feet in the real s.p.a.ce must not budge. You don't always succeed at the first try. If you fail, try once again.

So, now you have taken your first step in the virtual s.p.a.ce. Now go forward and look around you. In so doing, try not to turn your head in the real world, just imagining that you turn your head is quite enough. Now your hands. The same thing - your virtual hands must act, while your real hands must quietly lie in your lap, or just hang relaxed by your sides, as you like. Try to visualize each movement as clearly as possible, while your real muscles should be relaxed - and you'll succeed. Walk around in the virtual s.p.a.ce a bit, flail your virtual arm a little. If you can do this right away, that's excellent, but if you can't, don't despair, all it takes is a few more minutes of practice, and you'll succeed.

The next step. NanoTech draws its power from water.

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The Nanotech Network Part 5 summary

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