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Sentient Fruit
One of the more disturbing pleasures developed by biotechnology is sentient fruit. Sentient fruits are traditional fruits gengineered to contain a neural net making them able to sense touch and pain. Using a simple biotech neural interface the experience of the fruit can be experienced by the eater.

Various variants exist among the frugivore subcultures, with seeds smuggled where the practice if forbidden and sold at exorbitant prices. Proden oranges and related species combine pain receptors with a pleasure system. Somatique fruits produce drugs and experience modulators during eating, and are often interfaced to sexual response systems. The infamous Trip apples even include a limited ganglion-brain in the core to make the eating experience even more powerful by adding a mind experiencing the eating to the mix. The most extreme form of truly sentient fruit is the Orinoco Black, a modified pomegranate with a network of subturing seed-brains that link together and with the eater, producing a hallucinatory experience strengthened by the use of the seed-brains as temporary nodes in a cognition-enhancing mind extension network during the eating. Ripe individuals can reach 0.68 on the Turing scale, and the frugivore ring stopped in 8094 by Orinoco authorities were using virch training to promote both their mental development and dreaming themes.

The legality of sentient fruit is highly variable; most cultures find the practice of eating sensitive food disagreeable if not necessarily immoral (this depends on the local views of the ethical relationship between rights, level of consciousness and level of pain experience). Subturing fruits are widely banned, making seed smuggling a popular low-risk smuggling target. The frugivore subcultures, closely related to various carnivore and hunting-mysticism subcultures, have remained part of the underbelly of the wormhole nexus for millennia, kept alive largely by the extensive taboos surrounding the practice.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 31 December 2001.

 
 
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