Sharon Part 2

“So, what is it that you’re going to show me?”

Kate swiped through her bookmarks, and transferred a page to the left panel.

‘Kids Born Today Will Never Get To Drive A Car’ (Link)

“Isn’t it amazing? People used to control their transportation, it’s called driving. I’ve also looked up some old photos, they had these round bars called the steering wheels which they turn to direct their transportation. And they used to fly too! In huge transportation called aeroplanes.”

Sharon was staring intently at the article, oblivious to the arrival of her fried fish. The article was from an old archive on the internet, an older version of the Link, dated about 200 years ago. Her hair wasn’t covering her face now, and Kate could see the black irises of Sharon’s eyes clearly. Black irises are rare, remnants of the old world one would say. The white glow of Sharon’s skin contrasted starkly to these eyes, making her fairylike demeanour stand out even more. Perhaps that’s why she kept her eyes covered most of the time. She didn’t like the attention.

“Do you think we can still find some of these cars around?”

“Maybe we can, outside the clusters.” Sharon looked up. “But we probably won’t be able to find one easily.” She glanced at Kate’s PAT knowingly. “GEIS, can you show us where we can find a car? I’d like to learn how to drive one.” Her eyes fleeted left and right a few times before coming to a squint, then she looked back at Kate. “GEIS says there isn’t one right now in any of the clusters, and it will not be advisable for us to go out and look for one. She’ll inform Pete if we try to go, you’re not old enough to travel out on your own.”

People can travel out of clusters if they like, mostly to be in touch with nature and to see parts of the old world. There are certain areas that are out of bounds, where reconstruction is still being done. People didn’t all agreed to have GEIS in the old world, and had taken up arms to remove GEIS. But such ideas were a thing of the past.

“You can bring me out for a short trip! I’ll ask dad to let us go. You’re my best friend, I’m sure he’ll agree!”

Her cheeks flushed pink and eyes glistened, softening her sharp look. Sharon held out her right hand to hold Kate’s left.


Sharon Part 1

Study time usually lasts about 4 hours after breakfast, but Kate has been on the history module for nearly 5 hours now. Pete wants her to spend more time on her mathematics and science modules though; he believes children need more training in logical thinking. However, as with most kids, Kate prefers modules which she likes. While most children her age are occupied with elementary reading, she is already proficient in advanced reading and able to understand modules meant for more developed teenagers. This is the only reason why Pete does not impose his beliefs on her study routine.

“Kate! Do you know what time it is? I’ve been waiting for your call for more than an hour.” A girl called on the left panel. She had shoulder length curls and fringes that covered her eyes, but that didn’t hide her sharp facial features and flawless complexion. “Sorry Sharon, I got too engrossed in my reading, is it time for lunch already?” “Yes, I’m so hungry waiting for you. Let’s meet at the diner in half hour’s time, and you’re making your own orders right?” “Alright, see you!”

Pete and Kate have only moved to this cluster for one week now, and are still getting to know the neighbourhood. Usually people will get to know others at diners, music halls and sports centers, and Kate met her first friend here, Sharon, at the diner. Kate was trying to figure out what is good on the menu of the diner, and was walking around looking at the food others were having when she saw Sharon. Sharon was having a huge bowl of ice-cream sundae: two scoops of chocolate and another two scoops of vanilla ice-cream topped with chocolate sprinkles and some whipped cream on the side. They hit off immediately, and spent the next six afternoons eating lunch together at the diner.

Kate quickly bookmarked her history module, and swiped upwards to bring up the transport module. “Going to diner.” She instructed, following which the panel flashed the words “Order Confirmed” and a countdown timer in green. Her car will arrive in five minutes, this time a single seat hovercraft. “Dad, I’m off to meet Sharon at the diner!” She called Pete, who had been at the sports center. “Okay, would you girls be coming to the sports center after?” “I’ll check with Sharon, and call you later.” PAT started beeping again, the transport had arrived.

Hovercrafts move about two meters off the ground, and they have a maximum speed of 80kmh. Apart from hovercrafts, other transportations capable of carrying up to 8 people roam the streets, before they are routed to their nearest clients. As Kate buckled up and the hovercraft took off, a ‘welcome’ message flashed across the front windscreen. “Hi GEIS, thanks for the transport” “You’re welcome, Kate. It will be ten minutes to the diner, would you like to place your order first?” Kate swiped her hand to the right, scrolled down the menu, and clicked on “Ice-cream Sundae”.

“Over here Kate!”

Kate ran forward towards the small table on the right, and jumped into the metallic chair. “Hey Sharon, what are you having today?” “I’m having fried fish, and salad. You?” Kate giggled, and they both nodded.

“I want to show you what I’ve been reading on the history module. You’ll love it!” Before Kate could transfer her module over, a shoebox like object hovered vertically onto the table. It’s sides compressed downwards to the base, revealing a huge bowl of ice-cream sundae.

(To be continued)




Modules 101



Beep. Beep. Beep.

PAT sounded off on time, hovering just slightly half a meter away from Kate’s right ear. The continuous beeps will carry on for 2 minutes, before the siren takes over.

“Just 5 minutes more.” she whined. PAT would have none of it.

Days usually start at 7 am, with exceptions when PAT detects any ailment in its host’s body. By the time Kate gets up and makes her way downstairs, she can expect to see her breakfast already lined up nicely for her.

The smell of loaves, slightly burnt, woke her up faster than it had taken PAT to get her off the bed, as she cheerfully skipped down the steps with PAT not far behind. “PAT, where’s the breakfast module? And where’s dad?” The central panel lit up, showing her a standard menu of items for breakfast:

  1. Water
  2. Apple Slices
  3. Grain Toast
  4. Sizzled Egg
  5. Soy Milk

“Drink your water first, Kate.” The left panel lit up, showing Pete staring blankly at space. Grudgingly, she put down her toast, picked up a spherical object roughly the size of a grape and swallowed it. Each breakfast item was placed from left to right in a rectangular box, in the order to be consumed. Kate is particularly fond of eggs, and so she stuffed her toast down to get to it. Then gargling down her soy milk, she signalled to PAT that she was done. Within a few seconds, the lid of the box slide closed while it’s  base started whirring as it took off, making it’s way back to the operations center. Breakfast always arrive by 7 am, and has to be back at the operations center by 8 am.

Modules serve breakfasts, along with other things. They ensure that meals are prepared and delivered on time as ordered, provide information, instructs, operate production chains, and transportations. The list goes on. For a young girl like Kate, her access to modules is restricted to educational resources, games, communication and transportation, while Pete decides the rest. Beyond that, GEIS controls everyone’s access to modules and manages its operations; It uses separate modules running concurrently to prepare today’s breakfast.

A typical operations center is a huge rectangular structure, towering nearly 50 storeys high and covering an area of nearly 20 football fields. Each center facilitates a cluster of around 500 kilometers in radius, giving full access to modules and provisions in GEIS’s network around that area. Water is collected from the various reservoirs around clusters, directed through a central filtration before being packed into the grape-like gel casements in the operation centers. From there, GEIS transports the water gels to all the vending machines littered around clusters, as well as to every home during meal times, using its army of transporters. The box from which Kate ate during breakfast is one of them. In fact, every item that we use is sourced, manufactured, and delivered in this manner. GEIS takes care of everything, literally.

Under its extensive network, we can move from one cluster to another and still enjoy the facilities and provisions, as everyone is registered in GEIS’s system. Our PAT serves as a central communication and monitoring link to GEIS. It allows GEIS to track, among other things, our health condition and administer remedies if we are sick. With its projection panels, we can also access the ocean of information available with a flick of our hand.

Kate skipped up the steps back into her room, and jumped onto her pink beanie bag. She has found a module on history, and was going through articles after articles for nearly the whole of yesterday. It amazes her that just about 200 years ago, people actually had to build and provide for everything on their own. More amazing to her is that people at that time had to use something called money to exchange for everything they want. She quickly pulled up the history module, and flicked back to where she had bookmarked.



Go Go GO

AlphaGo does it again! (Link)

“Hey dad, have you played Go before?”

“Yes dear, that was a long time ago. Wasn’t very good in it though. Why?”

“I was just looking at this in the history module.” Her hands gesturing up and down scrolling through the pages. “It says here that people once played Go against one another without any module.”

“Yes dear, that was a long time ago.” Pete repeated, as he turned his head left and right, enthralled by the sight. “Before GEIS was born, we played Go against other players by learning it manually. Some players were very good at it and there were tournaments where the best players were ranked. I only played it for leisure though.” He leaned forward and gazed skywards.

“That must have been fun!” Kate giggled. “It’s mentioned here that an AI program beat all the Masters, they must have been so angry to have lost to GEIS.”

“I don’t think it was GEIS who beat them. Show me the module.” Pete gestured his left hand for Kate to come over, but she was lazily lying on her couch upstairs and couldn’t care to move. She swiped her right wrist to the left, and the page from the module was sent over to the left video call panel, where her dad’s astounded face looked upwards. “What are you looking at, dad?”

“Just some stars.”

“Ok, sent.”

“Oh this. It’s not GEIS, just some old program written.” A small ball shaped device hovered over his head, it had a lens like structure which extended slightly as Pete leaned forward again, zooming in to make sure the image is clear. Everyone has their own ‘PAT’, which apparently got it’s name from a time when people kept animals known as pets. PAT usually hovers about a metre away, and does anything it’s host bids it. It can project up to 9 panels in front of it’s host, encrypted and only visible to them, and we can call up any modules we like on any of the panels. Right now, Kate is having a video conversation on her left panel with her dad.

“Can you teach me how to play GO without the module? I wanna see how good I can be at it.”

“Alright, order a set. I don’t think we still have my old one.”

Still giggling, the 10 year old girl gestured her right hand diagonally to the top-right, and pulled up a catalogue looking for the subcategory ‘Games’. Her fingers typed quickly on her virtual keyboard, and within seconds she completed the order.

“It’s done dad!” she yelled, as Pete continued to gaze upwards.