Had the neuroengineering of knowledge been easier than that of emotions — had humans brains excelled at knowing and being taught — still Sophia would have found more profitable to sell semilegal emotionware for brain implants rather than knowledge bots. With the world trolleying itself to hell, with the Fractal War and flickering crops, with COVID-k and heatwave ghettos, with Cognitive Cartels and retroviral copyright – who wanted to know more?
Sophia followed the first rule of the oldest and purest of trades and offered what the market asked for. She sold neurochemical modulators for joy, specialized chips that redefined pleasure, small hacks for forgetfulness, and even software that amplified and focused hate. She never judged her customers, and, following the second rule, never used herself anything she sold.
(In a deeply encrypted file in an offline disk in a small hidden safe Sophie kept, with her most voracious customers uninterested and herself not self-destructive enough to be tempted, the neural algorithm for hope.)