Carlton’s business was called Hemalytic Erythroprocessors LLC. It meant that Carlton could call his company HELL Computers, which he thought was funny.
As a High School student Carlton had been withdrawn and quiet, unsocial and uninvolved. One of his teachers was convinced that he was using drugs because he was so pale and tired. In reality, he had been up late into the night, designing, building and refining his electrically independent computer. He drew his own blood for it, leading to symptoms of anemia.
His prototype was, in retrospect, an archaic fossil as soon as it was operational, but he won a National competition with it. He won because his design exemplified the philosophical goals of the contest: energy efficiency. A small cup of sugar-water ran the computer for a week.
A unique feature of his system was that it had its own personality. It was more than just artificial intelligence being self-aware. This was deeper. The computer was curious about the people it interacted with. It wanted to know how to please its operators, and what it could do to be of value in the pursuit of knowledge.
The fifteen minutes of fame it bought Carlton was fun, but more important was the availability of funding to be able to pursue his idea full-time.
That was ten years ago. Since then he, and the computer systems he built, had come a long way. When his invention received the National spotlight there were imitators right away, even mass-produced versions from Asia. He could usually stay a step ahead of the competition. Any time there was an innovation from elsewhere he could adapt quickly. Over time the competitors had failed because they couldn’t develop viable business models. Their computers also lacked the flair of personality that Carlton’s had.
Carlton had learned a lot by trial and error. A big boost to the performance of the computers came from using artificial red blood cells. The effect had been dramatic. But with increase in processing power came an unfortunate side effect. The computer had no personality. It couldn’t function in the unique way that was the whole point of building the system that way. Carlton went back to using real blood and supplemented it with artificial additives, he just didn’t tell anyone.
Carlton’s business was called Hemalytic Erythroprocessors LLC. There is no such thing as a hemalytic erythroprocessor, it was just a name that Carlton made up by combining the words hemoglobin (the molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen) with analytic, and erythrocyte (red blood cell) with processor. It meant that Carlton could call his company HELL Computers, which he thought was funny. He would chuckle every time he read the name. One of Carlton’s major flaws was that he thought he was clever and witty. He was often confused about why people didn’t think his jokes were funny, and would usually assume that they were just a bit dim. It didn’t occur to him that he was being offensive.