2000 Richard Strassman popularises McKenna’s experimentation with the effects of N,N-dimethyltryptamine, a hallucinogen that provides a strangely formalised experience to users. In each case the details are different, but the majority experience a meeting with a guide or guides, in a place outside the bounds of the real world. The guide conveys an important message which does not transfer back to sober language.
2018 A study conducted at UNSW Australia by Choudhury et al. finds evidence for electrical stimulation pathways in the brain that mimic the effects of DMT. The authors note that the technique promises improved control over the lucidity and duration of the effect.
2019 A team led by Pele at Yale Medicine refine the Choudhury process to deliver ‘eminently definable and controllable impressions in the subject’ and ‘a convincing diminution in auxiliary visual illusions’.
2019 Patent for the Delivery of Specified Electrical Stimulation to Provide Higher Orders of Experience, jointly held by Yale and Pele.
2022 The ‘Castle Act’ passed by the Paul Administration decriminalises the use of narcotics and firearms within the territory of registered private residences.
2022 Pele et al. publish a follow on study describing ‘a means by which audiovisual stimulation may excite brain function without the application of a physical apparatus.’ The project had been code named SAAAD, which the authors later explain to be ‘spooky action at a distance’. A patent for the SAAAD technology follows.
2024 Pele gathers venture capital from multiple sources including Pearson Learning Systems, and founds Inner Teaching and Learning LLC. Publicity describes the technology as The Royal Road To Knowing.
2026 ITL demonstrates accelerated training of volunteers by use the ‘Pele Yale’ system. Much positive comment appears in the technology press over the years following, with a general theme of the lifting of mankind to a new spiritual peak of knowledge and understanding.
2028 The Castle Act is amended to remove hallucinogens from the list of allowed possessions. Successful lobbying from ITL/Yale differentiates electrical from chemical stimulants in the Amendment. However Yale later relinquishes their share in ITL in a undisclosed payout to avoid negative publicity, leaving the company in some financial difficulty.
2029 The ITL Lucid One is marketed. Early adopters report ‘a truly powerful and effective experience of learning’ but find that the lessons become increasingly difficult to recall coherently over time. The WSJ publishes a conflicted review, which includes the now infamous user report that ‘I wanted to learn about physics, but instead I met God.’ Software range for the Lucid is also less than promised at launch.
2030 Given poor sales of the Lucid One, ITL announce that Pele has been asked to leave the board. A new board led by Janet Murchison, ex. Apple, announces a new round of funding.
2030 Late in the same year Apple acquire all patents and technologies from ITL. There is concern from the remaining users of the Lucid that Apple will extinguish the product. Large numbers of Lucids are now trading second hand. Apple denies that ITL will be harmed by the deal.
2031 Apple shuts ITL and announce a new ‘semi autonomous’ division Be Convinced, with focus on advertising and marketing.
2031 A businessman in Texas advertises hacked Lucids for ‘home use only’, to ‘get the full experience you paid for’. Court action shuts down his business but an illicit trade in Lucids springs up as other hackers remove the educational constraints. The FDA advise that the Castle Act Amendment protects their use, but they are still illegal to sell.
2033 Be Convinced demonstrate an early B-Con unit. The Electronic Frontier Foundation call the device ‘an insanely bad invasion of the mind by the people you trust the least’. The United Church describe the technology as ‘contrary to free will and thus contrary to Christian thought and actions’. Hummer, CEO of Be Convinced assures the public that a code of ethics exists in advertising that will limit the technology. “It advises, it does not demand”.
2034 First B-Con is launched in Times Square. Activists from BUGA-UP deface the unit the night before launch. Further programming of the B-Con discourages interference. An activist is allegedly led to self harm by the message, leading to the widely leaked internal email in B-C that ‘the asshole had it coming to him’. Some mild protest is quickly quelled. Hummer resigns from the board.
2035 B-Cons common in coastal areas of the United States, and population centres surrounding United States military bases in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Most consumers are unconcerned by the technology. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald is typical of the response. “It just guides you. You think of a meal and it takes you to where you need to go. Maybe it tells you you’re hungry, but it still tastes good’.
2036 The Chinese government accuses Be Convinced of programming demand for machines to spread into their regions of influence. Be Convinced and the US Administration counter that the Chinese are breaking international law by copying the mechanism for their own Android Wisdom system. The Russian Union outlaws B-Cons in all territories. The EU is racked by argument between supporters and opponents who accuse the former of being ‘the pawns of the United States of Because’. Be Convinced point to statistics that ‘in regions served by our technologies, crime is almost non-existent, health is paramount and productivity is far above the global average’. The company changes their name to B-Con inc.
2037 On New Years Eve the First B-Con in Times Square is again electronically defaced with the old logo for LUCID ONE. Witnesses describe great anxiety and irritation, and there are outbreaks of violence over the night. Further sporadic disruption in service is felt across the US mainland, with outbreaks increasingly met with police action and arrests. The US and Territories Administration warns that ‘…terrorists are threatened by our freedom in the US&T. They will not overcome our way of life’. B-Con blames Chinese hackers for the attacks, which they frame as an effort to gain commercial ground for the Wisdom network.
2037 Home B-Cons go on sale. The demand is high, but exactly meets available supply each month. The last prison on US Territory is closed with much celebration. Several members of the illegal Lucid One collective arrive in Moscow. In a press conference they claim that the B-Connected network is ‘the largest con, the biggest jail, the greatest insult to free will that humanity has ever suffered’. B-Con issue a statement that ‘it is unfortunate when well meaning people deliver themselves to an autocratic state, intent only on perverting our free offer of advice and information into a systematic oppression of the human spirit’. The Russian Union activate the Pravda system late in 2037.
2038 My.B-Con is announced – “a personalised response to the individual, where each and every machine features a Guide that ‘knows’ the viewer and provides tailored and timely guidance and information”. The current President of B-Con, Arthur March, hosts a widely viewed announcement over the B-Connected network. “We have improved the service to bring back the personality of the original organic process first developed by Choudhury way back in 2018. The B-Con has long been your dedicated servant, now we invite you to consider it a kindly friend”.
My.B-Con is set to launch on June 29th of 2038, simultaneously across the entire network, which now extends over 3/4 of the world, apart from the regions now served by Wisdom or Pravda.