I had a pretty intense dream last night. I’m sharing it here with the hope that someone will steal my ideas and make them into a short story, novel, or movie. I don’t have the skills for this, but I’d like to read the rest of the story…
I was running through the downtown streets of a big city during some apocalyptic catastrophe. Buildings were crumbling and falling around me as I looked for shelter. I found a small but ornate black stone building in the style of a 19th century bank, with a Cold War era “Bomb Shelter” sign, and a Google logo.
I entered the building, and found stairs leading down, where I expected the bomb shelter to be. At the end of my descent I found myself in a huge, dark room with a low ceiling. The underground space stretched farther than I could see in all directions. Groups of people were sitting on foam mats, so I joined them.
I knew that this place was only for Primes, and I knew that I wasn’t a Prime even though I didn’t know what a Prime was; but I stayed anyway. I found another man who was also not a Prime, but they let us stay.
Some time passed and our group found ourselves in a different room: smaller, friendlier, and a lot more like I’d picture a postapocalyptic refuge to look like. We hung out on couches and survived, basically. There wasn’t really enough water, and there was a radiation danger. Eventually I figured out we were on a space ship. There was an action scene where we fought off the bad guy space ships, which were all shaped like giant tanks.
At some point I learned or knew what a Prime was, and my dream became lucid, or transitioned into waking thoughts about the ideas the dream contained.
The synopsis is: Google is secretly using its data mining and search technology to identify the best candidates for repopulating the earth after an apocalypse-scale catastrophe. It looks for the best combination of health, longevity, genetic diversity, and compatible personality to ensure the survival of the species from a very small population.
The people identified by this process are known as PRIMEs, or Primary Repopulation Individuals for Mother Earth. In the event of a catastrophe, Google collects these individuals and brings them to its “ark” for want of a better word: a survival bunker of some sort, supplied with the technology and supplies to allow humanity to survive whatever has happened.
At this point my mind was concentrating on how this concept might be turned into a short story, and the implications of someone like Google using their massive data collection for this kind of purpose.
I imagined a man running through the downtown streets of a big city during some apocalyptic catastrophe. This time, Men in Black (or equivalent) asked him “Are you so-and-so?” and told him to come with them when he confirmed his identity. He protested: he needed to find his wife and child and help them. The Men collected him, and brought him to the Google vault. He was a PRIME.
Like many things the real Google actually does in real life, dream-Google’s PRIME program is a double-edged sword. On one hand, PRIME has a noble goal: to save humanity in case of an apocalyptic catastrophe. On the other hand, dream-Google’s algorithms entirely define what that surviving humanity will look like. They choose who lives, who dies, and the genetic shape of the future human race.
What happens next?