3353 The Biggest Party

The war against the Chinti swarms is over. The swarms are marginalized. They are no longer a threat.

The "Controversy" was the euphemistic term for the war against the Chinti swarms. The subject was so important that it was represented by a primary topic on the SolNet main portal, alongside other topic like "News", "Entertainment", and "Knowledge".

The priority of the Controversy is now being downgraded. The Controversy gate remains on the SolNet portal for the time being. But its color changes from the usual brisk-red to gray. For the first time since the Chinti invasion of the Solar system 163 years ago, the main portal signals that the Controversy has been downgraded thus illustrating the official end of the menace.

For one and a half centuries the color brisk-red was reserved for the Controversy topic, particularly in implant-based augmented reality and in virtual spaces. Since the discovery of tetrachromatic human brain areas in the early 23rd century, brisk, the fourth basic color, had been an important part of the graphics interface toolbox. Brisk and its mixed colors with the other three primary colors extend the possible color space enormously. Using brisk there are literally ten times or even a hundred times more colors than with only three basic colors. A tremendous variety of colors that has been taken for granted for over 1000 years. And of all these additional colors, pure brisk-red has always been synonymous with the Controversy, in other words, everything that had to do with the war against the Chinti swarms.

The Chinti were an existential threat in the public consciousness of humanity for almost one and a half centuries. Not only the economy was geared to war production. The Controversy was also omnipresent in the networks. This was visible in countless interface elements, from obvious ones, such as the Controversy gate on the SolNet main portal, to subconscious but always available options in virtual spaces.

The war with the Chinti pervaded all areas of life, even virtual worlds dedicated to entertainment. There was always a link to the Controversy somewhere. Though, the visualization of such links was adapted to the environment. In a medieval virtual world, the link to Controversy might have appeared as a brisk-red door at the town hall of a medieval city. In augmented reality it might have been represented by a brisk-red building on the horizon, when looking out of the virtual daylight window of the display wall.

At any time and in any situation, citizens were able to query the status of the Controversy to obtain an up-to-date assessment of the threat. However, the query path behind the Controversy gate had much more to offer. It also provided access to all war related technical and economic research. It lead to registration options for news feeds, to historical and speculative simulations, to reporting interfaces for war-relevant improvements, and much more.

During the Controversy, the threat assessment could change at any time. For more than 100 years the peoples of humanity and their allies were in a very intensive, highly dynamic conflict with the Chinti swarms conducting a war with gigantic effort and resources. Time and again, entire Solar systems had to be evacuated within just a few weeks. So even in virtual work and entertainment environments, there had to be a possibility to alert all people quickly and at any time. Therefore, it was legally required that all virtual worlds be connected to the alarm network and that they provide appropriate interface elements for alarms in real time. The visualizations of alarms were usually immersively adapted to fit the virtual environments. In a medieval world, for example, an alarm might show up as a brisk-red flag on the tower of a castle. In historical 21st century documentaries it might be a brisk-red retro-2D display. And in the real world, the optic nerve implant would show a brisk-red V-tag anywhere at any time as an overlay image.

Ordinary citizens of the 34th century are much more intelligent than the people a millennium ago. However, humanity has not been changed much by evolution, rather improvements have been achieved by targeted genetic modifications and by sophisticated technical means. The amount of knowledge available to everyone is much greater because implants give access to the net at all times. Several parallel thought processes allow the human brain simultaneously to learn, to communicate, and to solve problems.

Another important factor was the development of in AI-based association. Modern humans would have been geniuses at the beginning of the third millennium with an IQ over 180. In the 4th millennium that is normal. People of the 4th millennium never forget to consider consequences. They never overlook connections between facts. No matter what the activity, in all technical, social, and creative areas, considering direct consequences and indirect effects is always present in the human mind. Nobody acts without being aware of all consequences, provided they want to be aware, though. This kind of perfect association is not given by nature, not even by the genetically optimized nature of a typical human of the 34th century. Perfect association is created by AI-implants and by a great deal of processing power. The AI of the implants constantly monitors all parallel thought processes of the multitasking consciousness. The AI then searches the net for related facts in real time. It detects connections and computes possible consequences. Any relevant connection is injected as spontaneous idea into one of the concurrently running thought-processes. At the level of consciousness this appears like a flash of thought. Humans can then follow the thought requesting more information by splitting off research bots to deepen the subject. Of course, they can also simply disregard the idea.

Every idea of an individual human being can affect the war. The Controversy topic of SolNet offers associative interfaces that can evaluate ideas and inventions with respect to their effect on the war. Engineers optimizing a technical device automatically recognize if an improved design would be helpful in the Controversy. Every discovery and invention, every improvement of a civil manufacturing process, and every new strategy in a VR game is automatically checked for its relevance to the Controversy. In other words: for their application to the war effort. This is all done automatically, only through the omnipresent process of perfect association, which takes all knowledge of humankind into account. The AIs work in the background while people live their lives.

For a century and a half all human beings and other sophonts, all mechs with sapient AI or uploads, and all beings of other species in the human sphere have been aware of the Controversy all the time, either consciously or subconsciously. Either by means of explicit brisk-red graphics elements in their optics, by constantly reading the news in one thread of their multitasking consciousness, or by automatically considering consequences when their association-AI has sparked spontaneous ideas.

Now the priority of the Controversy topic has been downgraded. Thus, the omnipresent references to the Controversy disappear from the public space. The brisk-red doors in medieval simulations change their color and the brisk-red mountain on the horizon of a virtual vacation world turns back to normal. Brisk-red V-tags in augmented reality disappear.

For the citizens of the alliance, who are almost always connected to the net, the downgrading is a clearly visible sign that peace is finally at hand.

The change is also visible in the SolNet main portal. All functions, all levels, and worlds of the network can be accessed via the main portal. The SolNet main portal is ultimately a huge deeply nested menu with cross-links.

Usually the visualization of the main portal depends on the personal settings of the user. It might be displayed as an old library with books or as a collection of file cabinets or a city with buildings and shop outlets.

In its default form, without any configuration or individualization, the main portal is a large three-dimensional hall with a gigantic cloud of interconnected icons. Every known content item is represented by a symbol. Connections appear as access ways for the user's avatar. The network extends from the entrance area virtually to infinity, a huge cloud of animated three-dimensional symbols and their connecting paths grouped by topic and sub-topic in many different parallel taxonomies and ontologies. And at the very bottom, just in front of the entrance area, there are the gates to the primary topics. One of them is the Controversy. It is the gate that used to be brisk-red.

The standard visualization of the net has not changed for centuries. This has not been necessary, because nobody really uses the main portal in this form without customization.

And almost nobody is using the main portal anyway. People can access bookmarked contents directly. They enter virtual worlds without going via the main portal. Augmented reality displays additional information as an overlay and data is fed into the consciousness as spontaneous idea. In practice, the main portal is useless. It is an old, automatically generated visualization of the network. It runs in a nondescript fashion like myriads of other low-priority processes in SolNet and is kept up by public funds.

But now, as the Controversy is downgraded, all brisk-red interface elements disappear. News feeds report the event. The downgrade is an alliance-wide multi-solar system event. It is noticed by 100 billion beings almost simultaneously. Most people know immediately what this means. After all, the war related news has been getting better and better in recent years. Nevertheless, the sudden change comes as a surprise. The brisk-red elements have been present for generations. Now they are gone.

Many people are now visiting the SolNet main portal. For most of them it is the first time in their lives. They switch off their customizations to see the default visualization. Their avatars appear in the entrance area of the main portal. They meet down there, where the gates of the main menu lead into the cloud. Millions upon millions of avatars appear. The entrance area is dynamically expanded to accommodate so many visitors. And everyone sees with their own eyes and optics that the gate of Controversy is no longer brisk-red. It is now grey. The Controversy gate has taken on the color of a temporary topic. The grey symbolizes that the gate will soon be removed from the main menu and thus from entrance area.

The war is over. Everyone can see it.

The usually unfrequented entrance area of the SolNet portal becomes a party zone.

It is the biggest party in the history of humankind.