Brain implant for always-on Internet goes awry in new Web series

Twenty years into the future, after a third of the world's population decides to have a computer system called H+ implanted in their brains in order to have an always-on Internet, things go terribly wrong. A malicious virus strikes this network and billions die, leaving the computer geek who invented H+ devastated as he and other survivors attempt to overcome this botched merging of man and machine.

That's the basic sci-fi story idea behind the upcoming Web series called "H+" that's expected to debut this fall online in a 48-episode video in segments ranging from three to six minutes each.

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Though admittedly low-budget, the "H+" Web series is backed by Warner Bros., and produced by Bryan Singer, known for several films including "X-Men," "Usual Suspects" and "Superman Returns." Singer, along with writers John Cabrera and Cosimo De Tommaso, Thursday spoke to the press about how they are pulling the "H+" series together.

"The story is about our relationship with technology," says Cabrera.

Set in a future not unlike our own, people have been used to carrying around cellphones and computer devices but choose to give up these devices in favor of a computer implant in the brain that promises always-on connectivity to the Internet.

There are a dozen or so main characters in 'H+," which was filmed mainly in Chile, though the sci-fi series seeks to depict them living all around the world, from Manhattan to Africa.

According to some of the film snippets, "H+" is about "where you become the connection" but when things go bad with technology, "nobody can save them now! We have to take care of us!"

Cabrera says the script was written based on research he did into the topic of "transhumanism," the modern philosophical and cultural movement that espouses the techno-utopian idea that technology can transform humanity for the better both physically and mentally. Transhumanism uses the symbol H+.

Cabrera says the "H+" Web series is not "anti-technology" and says one of the main villains in the story is a "Luddite, someone against technology." There are also underground hackers. But the story's geek hero tries to understand what went wrong and whether he can fix it.

In the press conference, the question was asked of producer Singer whether he would be willing to have a brain implant for the Internet. Singer's answer: "Hell, no!"

In addition to the "H+" Web series, Singer says he's also involved in making a very different kind of film called "Jack the Giant Killer," a re-telling of the classic children's story "Jack and the Beanstalk" in a setting 800 years ago.

There is as of yet no announced time for the Web series "H+" to begin showing online, but will likely be this fall. It may appear on the Warner Bros. website and YouTube, if not elsewhere as well.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

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