Be still my heart (part III)
"Humans are not allowed in the medical field? How is that even a thing?"
Nurse Aliya shook her head and rolled her eyes. "Think. Who would you rather be treated by: a doctor who cannot make a mistake, never tires, is always level-headed, has immediate, real-time access to all available knowledge pertaining to their specialization and can extrapolate and adjust for any circumstance in a nanosecond; OR, one that is highly fallible with imperfect knowledge compounded (frequently) by a huge ego, who needs regular breaks (or pharmaceuticals) to ensure some manner of competency and can be (is) negatively affected by personal issues?"
"What about kindness and empathy?"
"Optional upgrades." She smirked. "I guess you don't remember your 21st century doctors."
I did. She had a point.
"And, of course, medical care is no longer a burden on the state or the individual. No huge salaries, no malpractice cases so no need for insurance or lawyers...although law is also limited to robots now," looking at me with raised eyebrows, "for similar reasons."
"But you need to be built, no? And the materials cost money and the technology and all those machines," I nodded towards the wall of computer screens, "and these tubes and wires," indicating what lay below my head, "and those bodies" projected on the wall. "And all the programming and research..."
"The Tesla Foundation funds all global research and development."
"Tesla? Elon Musk Tesla?"
"The one and only." She tittered. "Actually, that's inaccurate. We are on clone number 5 now."
"Clones are a thing? So I could be cloned instead of...whatever I am now?"
"Well, yes and no. Yes, clone technology has been perfected. No, you cannot be cloned. Besides the fact that no genetic material per se remains from your last incarnation, the technology is restricted to Commander Musk's usage."
"Have you decided on a body yet?"
"What do you mean there's no genetic material? There must be something. You're talking to me!"
She sighed. "You are not a product of genetic material."
"But you said I was human, not a robot."
"Robots do not, cannot, have a sense of self, that je ne sais quoi that makes you YOU. That little bit of something something that cannot be replicated in a lab is like fairy dust from the universe, your soul, if you like, that we can collect, analyze and reassign a human body, but which, for the moment, rejects robot hosts."
"So, I'm human?"
"A robot would not have so many questions. Have you decided on a body?"
"What if I want to be male this time around?"
"You must be joking."
"Could I choose a different sex?"
"You could be a dog if you like."
"I do have the humor upgrade. Generally, souls are only repurposed to a different species as a punishment for newlifer transgressions that is less severe than elimination."
"Matter cannot be..."
"You are not matter, Eva."
"What am I then?"
"Right now? A talking head," at which point she laughed and left the room.