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July 20, 2019 - CHAPTER 11 - A Day at the Office
This is a short chapter that opens with a description of an attorney going into her office to work. She says hello to the security guard, to her receptionist, and then she settles into her office chair and places a sensor-lined cap on her head. She addresses some correspondence by dictating to her secretary, but one matter deserves a full audio-visual response. For this message she pulls up some old video of herself and dictates what she wants to say. Her new words are lip-synched over the old footage. When the correspondence is done she works with her paralegal, and then she removes her cap and leaves. She locks the building behind her because, Clarke says, there are no humans inside. All of the characters that the lawyer dealt with were either computer programs or simply visualized by her. The visualizations were made possible by an Intelligence Amplifier, the cap that the lawyer wore while in her office.
After this opening, Clarke offers a short history of experimentation done with neuroelectrical stimulation. He begins in the year 1800, when Alessandro Volta discovered that he could create a sensation of sound in the brain by applying electricity to the skin. Clarke describes several such experiments, and advances, and then he says that the Intelligence Amplifier will be the end result of this line of study.
In conclusion he says that the office of the future will be a collection of cubicles where workers plug in their Intelligence Amplifiers. There will be a conference room in each office suite, for rare face-to-face meetings, but otherwise our business will be conducted in our heads.
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