Just one day into CES 2018 and the future of technology is already pretty spooky.
Wandering through the seemingly never-ending Las Vegas Convention Center on Tuesday, it was hard to miss the crowd gathered around around the “PsychaSec” display. Hosts draped in all-white were showing off two artificial bodies that, “in a few years,” humans could pay to trade their own crappy body for. At the same time, the host touted the company’s ability to plant chips into a person’s head and download every experience and memory they’ve had.
Sounds pretty trippy, right? Unfortunately, PsychaSec isn’t real. But even the CIA would’ve had a hard time getting the booth hosts to admit it.
After hearing a bit of the spiel, I pulled one of the “employees” to the side and started asking questions: Where are you guys based out of? Why hasn’t anyone heard a thing about your company before? When would this crazy tech hit the market? And, how come no one is acknowledging the Netflix logo on the side of the booth?
The cheery young woman dodged them all, saying they’re “based in several locations,” and reiterated this will be available in a few years. She said the “sleeves” — the artificial bodies — would be good for someone with “scrawny arms” looking to step into a more muscular body if they wanted one, as she continued to dodge the Netflix question.
Shuffling away to the media room, I searched for Netflix and Pyschasec on my phone. As it turns out, the streaming giant is launching a new show, “Altered Carbon,” in February, based on a sci-fi novel where rich humans can essentially stay alive forever by buying new sleeves. I pulled out the CES media guide and couldn’t find PsychaSec listed as an exhibitor. By this point, I felt incredibly gullible for letting the “employee” talk to me like it was a real company for five minutes, so I turned around, set on getting one of them to just acknowledge the Netflix tie-in.
As I walked back to the booth, one of the guys watching the introductory breakdown muttered to his friend “this seems like a scam.” He wasn’t far off. I pulled aside another tall, attractive young host and told her just give me the truth: this is just a cool ad for Netflix. She kept smiling and towed the “it’ll be out in a few years” line. I then pointed out gullible people, like me, were walking away confused because they were displayed next to real products and wouldn’t acknowledge Netflix at all. Finally, I got her to give me a wink, confirming it’s all a put-on. Thank you.
If the show’s actors are half as good as the CES presenters, it’ll walk away with a dozen Emmys and Golden Globes next year.