Mar 3

40 Futures: v1.01 Tasteless

Jason Tashea
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40 vignettes about the future of criminal justice.
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40 Futures is a speculative fiction series about the criminal justice system.

Tasteless

Jeff took a bite of his morning cereal and he sensed something was wrong. Chewing the milk-logged flakes, he couldn’t find the sweetness of the blueberries. Looking down at the bowl, he lazily watched the fruit bob in the milk as he prodded the blue morsels with his spoon. He lamented to himself that blueberries were being ushered to the flavor graveyard where tomatoes and avocados already rested. 

That’s when it hit him.

“No, no, no,” he said with increased panic in his voice as he dropped his spoon into the bowl. He rushed to the bedroom where his phone was plugged in. The screen was filled with texts and missed calls from his parole officer. At the bottom of the screen was a calendar reminder: “Parole Check-in.”

His head hung low and he let out a sigh as he ran his finger along the state-issued computer-brain interface behind his left ear. As a condition of his release, the court ordered incremental sensory deprivation to swiftly punish any non-criminal violations, like missing a meeting with his PO. 

“Last time, I couldn’t see the color green,” he muttered to no one in particular. “This time they took sweetness.

“At least in jail, I could enjoy a blueberry.”

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Links from the podcast commentary

When your freedom depends on an app. (Gizmodo, not The Appeal as I incorrectly said in the commentary)

Chile: Pioneering the protection of neurorights. (UNESCO)

Brain chip firm Neuralink lines up clinical trial in humans. (Guardian)

Parole programs find benefit in swift-and-certain. (ABA Journal)