A note from Genemech CEO Maximilian Benetton, as provided by Paul Alex Gray
Art by America Jones
Twenty years ago, I used genetically modified killer bees to wrest control of Genemech. I freed the company from the constraints of unambitious founders, government regulation and ethics oversight.
Today, Genemech is a global ideas factory, with operations spanning the globe. We have generated incredible profits through the development of robot soldiers, bio-engineered babies, and displacing the need for smelly human labour. We’re well on our way to achieving our vision–a society where the intelligent elite can rule the world.
This summer, my cyborg eight-year-old son Atlas came up with a brilliant idea: on-demand drug-testing drones. He built a prototype from plastic and metal he found on the beach. He spun up a website, designed a logo, and ran a guerilla marketing campaign, leveraging social influencers from Beijing to Bogota. It was a great learning experience, and although the drone had a false positive rate exceeding 30%, it also found several offenders, informing law enforcement and excluding unsuitable individuals from the workforce.
When third grade began, however, Atlas’ schedule became too busy with the same old stuff. Writing essays and taking tests. I saw his motivation for his startup ‘BUSTR’ fade, and a planned V2 model was abandoned. As a parent, it was disappointing, but I came to understand why it happened.
Education has failed.
I kicked off a stealth project inside Genemech. Our best designers, engineers, and dreamers ran a beta program on the company’s South Pacific island HQ, Isla Salvador. Today, we’re announcing the launch of Genemech’s School for The Future, the next evolution in education, designed to create the industrialists of the future.
We call it Eduspiration.
What is Genemech’s School for The Future?
Twice a year, we’ll invest in a cohort of twenty outstanding children, aged 3 through 9, to help them actualise their dreams. The kids will be placed into team houses based on their learning style (Vindictive, Ruthless, Maniacal, and Pure Idealistic Evil), and they will learn valuable skills building prototype technologies. Their program culminates with a Demo Day, where teams must showcase their work to a research committee of leading scientists and technologists.
Only two teams per cohort will secure investment and advance in the program. We’re excited about the learning opportunities forged by co-opetition.
What are the learning goals?
We challenge cohorts to develop the next science-based unicorn, achieving a $1 billion market valuation and/or re-writing the rules of physics. It’s widely known that kids love unicorns, so let’s help them build one! Why must they wait until they’re older before they experience the thrill of manufacturing a killer robot, spawning a miniature black-hole, or … what the hell, straight up stitching together a tiger-shark-pterodactyl hybrid–all while architecting the foundation for significant return-on-investment for our investors?
Who are the teachers?
Our mission to set kids free of the shackles of education takes audacious thinking. We love teachers, and some are probably great, but old methods are clearly not working anymore. Gone are bureaucratic artefacts like outdated training, irrelevant certifications, and distracting police checks.
Genemech’s School for The Future has masters, not teachers. Each master is a leader in their field, whether that’s nuclear weaponry, bio-mechanical systems engineering, or tapping the power of alternate dimensions.
What educational frameworks are used?
We utilize a hypothesis-based approach, believing that kids need to dream big, and not be constrained in testing their ideas–however extreme.
We were dissatisfied with the educational frameworks we read about online, so we devised our own system, one that teaches important concepts through the lens of 21st century life.
Name one kid that likes history. It’s fine, I’ll wait. But talk about “Re-Animating the Dead” or “Genetically Modified Killer Bees,” and their eyes light up. Gone is boring ethics, in comes “Genome Re-Sequencing” and “Death Rays.” Humanities were always a huge waste of time, so we’re inspiring kids to unshackle their ambitions with “Transmogrification” and “Mind Control.”
How much does it cost?
There are no fees for Genemech’s School for The Future. Instead, we take a small equity stake of 12–15% in successful students in perpetuity.
What does an average day look like?
Kids begin their day with a stand-up scrum, in which they’ll share goals, tasks, and any blockers that impede their dreams. Our masters demand accountability but do so in a way that lets ambition shine. On any given day, kids will be dog-fooding new features, crushing code, testing prototypes, and hustling to get shit done. We bring in cool guest speakers all the time for lunch and learns, and we practice mandatory daily chakras to optimize mindfulness and productivity.
What are DreamSpaces like?
Forget classrooms! Inspired by some sweet Japanese tea gardens I went to one time, and the zeitgeist of culture we enjoy every year at Burning Man, our DreamSpaces are open-plan idea factories, with ball pits, beanbags, endless LaCroix soda, foosball tables, espresso bars, and much more. They look amazing, too–an AI artist designed spaces that look like underground bunkers, volcanic lairs, and castle dungeons. Oh, and you can write on all the walls too–you can’t do that in a regular school!
What happens if children fail to secure investment?
We get it. Not every idea is magical, and even the best technology built on a flawed idea won’t work. At Genemech’s School for The Future, we embrace failure. Masters encourage kids to fail-fast and to pivot throughout the program. If kids fail to build a compelling technology, they’ll be banished from the island, but they’ll still benefit from a free Genemech Prime subscription. If kids neglect to contribute as part of our alumni program, no sweat! At this point, we will simply invoice unsuccessful families with a fee for all training and services rendered. (Please note that this term supersedes the “no fee” term. Payments must be made in Bitcoin and/or Plasma.)
What projects were done in beta?
A standout would have to be Larissa, who launched “Ad.ly,” a robo-drone with a built-in holographic display–it follows people around, serving personalised content and advertisements directly to the individual, anywhere they go! Our youngest entrepreneur, Jeffrey, hacked a side-project called “MyMe” in addition to his team project. Using reinforcement learning and video manipulation, MyMe generates a lifelike virtual avatar. This version of Jeffrey took over the bothersome hassle of nightly video calls with his family so that he could spend more time working with his team.
How can my kid join Genemech’s School for The Future?
Cohort A is accepting applications now! Only prodigy-like geniuses will be considered. They need to prepare an online application and submit this through our website. We want to understand their motivations–what do they want to invent? Whether it’s vengeance, greed, insanity or plain old vanilla evil, we want to know what drives them. Those shortlisted will be invited to present in person to our admissions committee. We expect competition to be cut-throat, so get your kids working on their killer projects now!
Time’s person of the year in 2034, Dr Maximilian Benetton is widely recognised for his work to redefine the destiny of mankind. Dr. Benetton wrested control of Genemech in November 2019, when he used an army of Giant Death Bees to force the company’s weak and unambitious founder, Dr. Mackenzie Cooper, into exile on Moon Base Alpha. This ushered in a new era of innovation at Genemech, where he led initiatives to engineer a new humanity–one where the smartest, richest, and most cunning could take their rightful place in ruling the world. Outside of work, Dr. Benetton enjoys creating genetic animal hybrids such as Orca-Wolf and Scorpio-Shihtzu, and watching live-streamed footage of Executor Drones.
Paul Alex Gray writes linear and interactive fiction starring sentient black holes, wayward sea monsters, curious AIs, and more. His work has been published in Nature Futures, Andromeda Spaceways, PodCastle, and others. Paul grew up by the beaches of Australia, then traveled the world and now lives in Canada with his wife and two children. On his adventures, Paul has been a startup founder, game designer and mentor to technology entrepreneurs. Chat with him on Twitter @paulalexgray or visit www.paulalexgray.com.
America is an illustrator and comic artist with a passion for neon colors and queer culture. Catch them being antisocial on social media @thehauntedboy.
“Announcing Genemech’s School for The Future” is © 2019 Paul Alex Gray
Art accompanying story is © 2019 America Jones