I'm always happy to back a crowdfunding campaign for great books, movies or music — but it would also be nice to back a time machine or a protection program for supernatural animals. That's where John Joseph Adams' anthology Help Fund My Robot Army comes in.
You've got just 13 hours left to pick it up for 99 cents in the Kindle store (sorry, this offer is for US customers only). And you can read a story from the anthology below, which is just one of many, including work from Veronica Belmont, Chuck Wendig, Tobias Buckell, Seanan McGuire and more!
If what you've always been looking for in a Kickstarter—and couldn't find—was a project that allowed you to protect yourself from spoilers, buy wishes, find lost objects, or support a wildlife preserve for supernatural creatures, then my anthology HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects may be just the thing you've been looking for.
Please enjoy the following story from the anthology, "Kismet™" by Daniel H. Wilson, author of Robopocalypse and Amped.
—John Joseph Adams
P.S. Kinja doesn't let you center text or do some of the other fancy (?) things that we do in the ebook edition, so this is presented here somewhat plainer than we would have otherwise preferred.
by Friends of the Future
Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 7.
$17,900,000,000 pledged of $15,000,000,000
seconds to go
The KISMET™ device from LIFE! corporation will streamline your day-to-day decision making and transform you into a better version of yourself!
KISMET™ is a revolutionary new product that will leverage the billions of dollars of research and development that the LIFE! corporation has already invested into general artificial intelligence, mobile localization, environment mapping, speech and face recognition, emotion shaping, social profiling, and targeted life-vertizing™. Our ultimate goal is nothing less than the complete reinvention of the modern economy by managing and streamlining the complex purchasing decisions that cause human beings so much strife and anxiety.
Our goal is to MAXIMIZE HAPPINESS, and you can help!
The KISMET™ mobile platform is your assistant, your teacher, and your best friend. Worn like a contact lens, this always-on device will stream a constant flow of sensory data (including sights and sounds) to our cloud-based servers. With this stream of seemingly mundane information, our massive processors will extract valuable information about the patterns and decisions in your life, cross-checking the data against millions of other users, and providing you with optimal answers to the thousands of niggling questions that trouble your day. Questions like:
What should I buy?
Can I really afford that?
Would it impress my friends?
How much better would my life be if I owned a boat?
Do these jeans really make my butt look as good as I’m thinking they do?
There is no doubt that KISMET™ is going to optimize your life . . . but only if you are willing to lend your unconditional support to creating the future of your dreams!
Ten years ago, our company made the bold decision to change its name from [redacted]. We felt that our former moniker no longer reflected the company's total commitment to improving the lives of
every person, in every place, at every moment. Indeed, our technological innovations had transcended antiquated notions of business, government, and religion. Our corporate mission had evolved beyond simply providing a service in exchange for money, to a point where we were seeking to interact with consumers in all aspects of their lives.
But the question remained:
What could we call ourselves? Well, it turned out there was only one name that we could honestly call ourselves . . .
LIFE! Incorporated isn't asking for much – just your complete loyalty and faithfulness to a daring new product, nay,
friend, who will carefully guide your purchasing behaviors in order to transform you from a wildly inconsistent and flawed person into a stylishly dressed, connected, brand-informed, and potentially boat-owning member of a new Utopian capitalist society.
Please allow us to share with you exactly how we plan to do it . . .
From its perch on your eye, KISMET™ can sense your environment and deliver spoken advice or information via a bone conductive speaker – whether you are choosing between tour guides on a trip up Mt. Kilimanjaro or picking between kebabs in a parking lot full of food carts.
Mobile. Advanced miniaturization techniques allow our sensor package and communications equipment to be embedded on a silicone hydrogel contact lens (wearable for up to a month without cleaning). Blinking your eyes will produce kinetic energy that charges a regenerative power supply, so rest assured that you will never, ever be left alone.
Aware. Utilizing advances in the simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithms designed for the mobile robotics industry, the local KISMET™ hardware will build highly-accurate three dimensional models of your environment, indoors or outdoors, even as it catalogues every product that you interact with.
Connected. They say that the rising tide lifts all ships and KISMET™ is proof. By leveraging data collected by millions of other users, our cloud-based servers will constantly improve operational accuracy by cross-checking answers over the entire user population. Multiple perspectives create unique solution opportunities (e.g., yes, your butt does look great in those jeans). For the first time in history, the altruistic efforts of millions of human beings will truly be put to glorious use.
Integrated. Using an advanced bone conductive speaker, KISMET™ is capable of communicating to you using your own sinus cavity as a speaker. Test users describe the sound as almost indistinguishable from their own thoughts.
After a training period of approximately one week, KISMET™ will begin to offer a dazzling array of services. The following short descriptions form a partial list that demonstrates our commitment to removing all uncertainty from your life while propelling you to success in the areas of work, relationships, health, and lifestyle.
Work. Nobody is more invested in your successful career (and paycheck) than your personal KISMET™ device. To maximize your potential earnings, KISMET™ will act as a personal assistant to ensure you conform to work schedules and will helpfully inform management personnel of any lapses on your part.
Relationships. Why leave a decision as important as who you will spend your life with to chance? KISMET™ has the data resources to arrange a coupling that will ensure a lifetime of happy memories and double your level of disposable income, based on your own financial priorities and sexual orientation. If children are in your future, then allow KISMET™ to simulate your genetic coupling to pre-identify optimal brand names for all your baby-related purchases.
Health. By paying meticulous attention to the subtle rhythms of the human body, KISMET™ can ensure that your diet, exercise, and risk-based activities are tailored to maintain maximum longevity coupled with high purchasing power.
Lifestyle. Whether you are a high-octane adventure seeker or prefer a cup of tea and a cozy corner, KISMET™ can manage your day-to-day entertainment consumption. Allow your best friend to choose what you binge watch on television over the weekend, or which videos you stream to your phone while ascending the ski lift. With KISMET™, you will never waste a moment pointing your eyes at something dull!
Bank Account Integration. Adoption of KISMET™ into your finances is seamless and irreversible. Our Siphon Link™ program will partner directly with your bank and investment accounts to make your resources immediately available to KISMET™ and its subsidiaries.
Worst-case Scenario. We've thought of everything! In the unlikely event that you become separated from your KISMET™ device, the Life-Link Service Disruption Emergency Kit™ will step in immediately to guide you to a local store branch. And if your device is completely non-functional, another nearby KISMET™ user will be emergency dispatched to assist you in getting back online and ready to purchase a replacement as soon as possible.
• • • •
Our reward tiers are customized to represent the unique ideology of the LIFE! corporation and its subsidiaries. We are not interested in your dollars, but in your
commitment to a brilliant new future!
It's the future, are you all in?™
Tier 0 – Free!
You have our sincere thanks for reading this crowdfunding proposal and seriously considering our offer. And, you have our sincere condolences that you have chosen to exclude yourself from a new society of happy, modern people. When KISMET™ comes to market, we know that you will purchase and enjoy our product. Unfortunately, your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become an architect of the new world is passing by. Worse yet, this record now exists to prove that you had the chance to join the vanguard of a new world and instead you chose a Tier 0 contribution. As the years go by and your significant others and children watch the meteoric rise of the Tier 1 contributors, we can only hope that your family's growing resentment and anger can be curbed by KISMET™ Counseling Select™ services.
Tier 1 – Net Worth 100%, Assets 100%, plus All Future Earnings*
As a true visionary, you are leaping into the future with a group of the bravest, most forward-looking human beings in the history of our species. By committing your net worth, as well as current and future assets, you have put yourself into the capable hands of the LIFE! corporation. Congratulations! You have shown the courage to give in utterly to KISMET™ – it's time to stop worrying and let go!
*After an asset sales period, LIFE! will provide corporate living arrangements, board, and medical care. By carefully following the helpful advice of your KISMET™ device, you will preserve and maximize your purchasing power over the long term.
• • • •
Risks and Challenges
Obviously, the LIFE! corporation is worth hundreds of billions of dollars and can easily afford to fund this project without the negligible financial support offered by your net worth and future earnings. This crowdfunding venture has in fact been created so that LIFE! can ask contributors for a demonstration of their unwavering, fanatical commitment to our cause of whole spectrum life improvement.
Without an international bootstrapping effort that captures at least ten percent of the world population, our efforts at total domination could result in partial domination. Any resulting split in market share with potential competitors would be an unconscionable disservice to our loyal customers. We encourage you to commit to our cause immediately and totally, before the marketplace can become diluted by competing products and services.
If our loyal customers can prove to LIFE! Incorporated that they are not only willing to buy this revolutionary new product, but to pay for its creation, development, and deployment . . . only then will we know that the world truly deserves KISMET™. So please, contribute now, and surrender to the future.
Trust us, it's KISMET™!
If you enjoyed this story and you'd like to read more free stories and excerpts, author interviews, or just learn more about the anthology, please visit johnjosephadams.com/robot-army.