Transplanted Life
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Field trip
Sorry there was no entry for yesterday, but by the time we got back, it was late and I was tired... But I'm getting ahead of myself.

At about one o'clock yesterday, the boss, Mr. Kraft, stops by and says I'm dressed nice today. I thank him, kind of cautiously, because he's not one for small talk, and usually has a reason for everything he says. And he does - he asks if I'd like to get out from behind the desk and earn a little overtime.

I think every muscle in this body tensed up at that point; there was nothing really sexual or predatory in his tone of voice, but I've been hit with enough innuendos over the past few months to see them. "Forgive me if I'm jumping to the wrong conclusion, or even in the wrong direction entirely, but that sounds kind of inappropriate."

He looked confused for a second, then laughed. "No, Michelle, not that! I've got a meeting with a potential client in Providence at five, and need someone to come along and take notes. To be perfectly honest, it's in part about showing that BioSoft is strong enough that we can hire people to take notes. We usually hire a temp..."

"Let me guess; that call from the agency was her calling in sick."

"Good catch. Besides, you'll probably do the job better. I don't think you've misspelled or mispronounced any scientific terms since you started here, while the last girl..."

"She said 'nooc-yoo-ler', didn't she?"

"It was embarassing."

And that's something that would bug Mr. Kraft. The company he left to found BioSoft apparently had not really projected a professional image, and he felt this reputation had hurt the firm when he first started it up.

I said yes. It sounded like something interesting to do, and I can always use a little extra in the paycheck.

It took an hour and a half to drive there, and then we had to sign papers saying that we would not reveal any trade secrets. So, I've got to be somewhat circumspect.

The company we visited is actually out in the Providence suburbs; it's named Verity Systems. It's public (though not widely disseminated) information that they have a contract with various federal agencies to develop a sort of lie detector (they called it a "statement corroborator", which sounds better than "interrogation tool") that would non-invasively record a subject's mental state, the theory being that information coming directly from the brain is more reliable than polygraph tests, which can be fooled.

That's not their only project, but I can't talk about the rest. I can see where it would generate a lot of data, though, and how they'd need some pretty advanced software for organization and analysis. Fascinating stuff, really, but not really in the neighborhood of, say, being able to make a copy of someone's memories and store them somewhere else.

Although... Toward the end of the meeting, the other company's president had a really confidential demonstration for Mr. Kraft. I went to the break room to get a soda, and bumped into one of the neurology guys working late. He was living proof that a bunch of education doesn't necessarily make a guy sophisticated. He made some comment about my ass (I was bending over to get a 7-Up from the fridge's bottom shelf), and was about to say something about my boobs when I held up my hand. "Don't go there. I know just what you're thinking."

The twerp just smirked. "Actually, you can't. Men and women think in opposite ways."

"Oh, I think I know something about how men think."

"I'm not saying you can't extrapolate from previous interactions, but you can't know how men think. That's part of my work."

Anyway, he goes on about how, admitting that the measurements are crude, certain patterns that show up when they scanned a woman's brain before an action are similar to those that appear in a man's afterward, and vice versa. Sure, he said, transsexuals and other people with weird genetic types can mess it up, but for the most part, men and women, to a certain extent, really do think in opposite directions.

I'm probably mangling the science terribly; despite having picked a lot of the jargon and pronunciation up, I really don't understand most of this stuff - I wish I could pick Mags's brian on this.

Not long after, Mr. Kraft finished his meeting and we went back to Boston. I went back home, got some dinner, and thought about it. There seem to be three big implications to what I learned:

(1) This company, at least, isn't really close to having the technology to read minds, let alone move them from brain to brain, and they're apparently at the forefront of Direct Mental Imaging or whatever this is called. But, I'll bet 25 years from now, I could get back into my body without Michelle's help.

(2) If what this guy says is true, then my thought processes are suddenly running in reverse. Not so I would notice, apparently, but who knows what a brain scan would show - indeed, would it actually show that I had a man's thought process?

(3) If the brain patterns are so different, how could mine and Michelle's be swapped, short of her silly "magic" BS? It'd be trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, right?

Or would it? I wouldn't know the mechanics of how a brain swap would work, but if I look at it in terms of input/output streams, what's coming out of one sex's thought process would match what's going in to the other's.

Damn it. I really wish I could talk to Mags about this.


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