Brain VP


When trying to understand the Puppet Master, Kusanagi’s team consults with their staff Cyberneticist, who displays for them in his office a volumetric projection of the cyborg’s brain. The brain floats free of any surrounding tissue, underlit in a screen-green translucent monochrome. The edge of the projection is a sphere that extends a few centimeters out from the edge of the brain. A pattern of concentric lines routinely passes along the surface of this sphere. Otherwise, the "content" of the VP, that is, the brain itself, does not appear to move or change.

The Cyberneticist explains, while the team looks at the VP, "It isn’t unlike the virtual ghost-line you get when a real ghost is dubbed off. But it shows none of the data degradation dubbing would produce. Well, until we map the barrier perimeter and dive in there, we won’t know anyting for sure."




The VP does not appear to be interactive, it’s just an output. In fact, it’s just an output of the surface features of a brain. There’s no other information called out, no measurements, or augmenting data. Just a brain. Which raises the question of what purpose does this projection serve? Narratively, of course, it tells us that the Cyberneticist is getting deep into neurobiology of the cyborg. But he doesn’t need that information. Kunasagi’s team doesn’t even need that information. Is this some sort of screen saver?

And what’s up with the little ripples? It’s possible that these little waves are more than just an artifact of the speculative technology’s refresh. Perhaps they’re helping to convey that a process is currently underway, perhaps "mapping the barrier perimeter." But if that was the case, the Cyberneticist would want to see some sense of progress against a goal. At the very least there should be some basic sense of progress: How much time is estimated before the mapping is complete, and how much time has elapsed?

Of course any trained brain specialist would gain more information from looking at the surface features of a brain than us laypersons could understand. But if he’s really using this to do such an examination, the translucency and peaked, saturated color makes that task prohibitively harder than just looking at the real thing an office away or a photograph, not to mention the routine rippling occlusion of the material being studied.

Unless there’s something I’m not seeing, this VP seems as useless as an electric paperweight.

5 thoughts on “Brain VP

    • Nice thoughts! Devo AR would be frustrating for others, because they just see the lump of green gray matter, but it could be that all the AR is personal to him. Too bad we don’t see anything that verifies it.

  1. I always thought it was meant merely to indicate that the process to display the cyborg’s mind (which would likely require a kind of copying) was completely successful, and what the cyberneticist was pointing out was the lack of degradation in the display itself–that if this had been instead an attempt to “dub” a human mind, it would have clearly been an inferior copy with gaps and glitches.

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  3. It might be a boss display. There are a bunch of stories from tech support about bosses walking in, seeing a bunch of lines scrolling on screen and they go “Good job” or they see a bunch of lights blinking and assume work is happening. This could be a version of that: Something to keep the non-technical boss happy.

    I’m not sure where this falls in UI design, but I’ve heard this story many, many times.

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