SCENE I

MONDAY, JANUARY 3RD, 2056

Michael Carmody heads off to work on another freakishly warm winter day, so humid it feels like Bermuda. It's pouring, so he takes a driverless Uber from his great camp on the Hudson to his company's headquarters on the top floor of the Collamer Building. Ordinarily, he takes a drone, but there's not much to see today and the forecast calls for high winds. 

Carmody's right on time for his meeting with Rick Jacoby, the Skidmore classmate with whom he launched Darwin's Edge in the Freirich Business Plan Competition in 2040. Today they work with dozens of big companies all along The New York Brainway, including SyraCorp, Inc., the neuraxials powerhouse that Rosalind Peat is building in Liverpool on the western shore of Onondaga Lake. 

SyraCorp is what this morning's meeting is all about -- specifically, its launch of ThinkPal, the NASA-style initiative that New York Senator Henry Van Buren is spearheading as chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. 

Carmody dispenses a medium decaf from the Keurig in the kitchen, and proceeds to the conference room, where Jacoby already is comfortably seated. They exchange pleasantries about their respective holidays, their kids, and Tropical Storm Wendell. Then they get down to business. 

CARMODY: There's so much we don't know. The politics.  Public opinion.

JACOBY: We have to get started on focus groups. We have to find out how Americans really feel about becoming cyborgs. The time has arrived. We have to persuade them.

CARMODY: Let's get Atwood on it. We need to test taglines, too. 

JACOBY: Agree.     

CARMODY: I've got a couple.                              

JACOBY: Great. Lay 'em on me. 

CARMODY: 'ThinkPal. Like a Tree Firmly Planted.'

JACOBY: Nice.

CARMODY: That's Psalm 1:3.

JACOBY: Biblical. That's good.

CARMODY: We're not totally changing what it means to be human. We're bringing you home. We're enabling you to stand tall in your new neural architecture. 

JACOBY: Stand tall and human. More human than ever. 

CARMODY: And more connected. You're joining the American Team. You're becoming a more capable and integral part of the world's most advanced workforce, and that makes us all stronger. 

JACOBY: What's your other line? 

CARMODY: 'ThinkPal. Ride the Windhorse of Life.'

JACOBY: I see a bronzed Native American racing across a Colorado plain on his powerful palomino, nostrils flaring. 

CARMODY: Exactly. 

JACOBY: That's a powerful image. So what's our brand promise? ThinkPal's core benefit? The one big wonderful thing that ThinkPal is going to do for all of us? 

CARMODY: First, it will free us of worry. That in turn is going to give us the freedom to fully focus -- to direct our attention to anything we want for as long as we want. 

JACOBY: To solve problems. 

CARMODY: Yes. We're going end that constant, fruitless chatter that continually assaults us in our inner world and plagues us with suffering in innumerable shades: regret, guilt, shame, and fear, to name only a few. 

CARMODY: By increasing our ability to focus, we improve our ability to solve problems and perform. We're in the zone non-stop.

JACOBY: That's a strong message. 

CARMODY: ThinkPal. Take Charge. 

JACOBY: Let's test it.