Memorandum left by Dr Thompson
I write this and leave it where it can be eventually found so that future generations may understand my part in the undoing of the world as we knew it.
I know that I am dying. The symptoms of my radiation poisoning have become more acute despite the fact that I was not close to the centre of the nuclear explosion. My nausea and vomiting have weakened me so I barely have the strength to write. I must write though, even if I die by doing so. The future generations who manage to survive this disaster have a right to know what happened.
I knew when the integrated World Government decided to implement my fully fledged world-wide cyber-physical system known as Gemma, ten years ago, it would cause an increase in economic inequality in the world. Gemma had been carefully designed with intelligent mechanisms to improve the interaction between its computation and physical elements, thereby, increasing its adaptability, autonomy, efficiency, functionality, reliability, safety and usability.
The biggest potential issue we identified was that of increased unemployment in the world due to Gemma’s ability to automate tasks in service industries.
“People will no longer be required in call centres or retail and administrative roles,” I told them. “Goods and services will be sourced and supplied by globally connected digital platforms. Many other physical and routine task based jobs will also be destroyed by the introduction of the many robots and robotic systems that will link to Gemma. Fewer jobs will be created in a world controlled by Gemma, and those that are created will require higher levels of education and specialised study than the millions of jobs that will disappear.”
The World Government had to make a decision about whether to implement Gemma, and risk the potential increase in social unrest due to high levels of unemployment, or not. I provided the decision makers with all of my team’s data and the results of our analysis of the potential impact of the system on jobs throughout the world, developed and undeveloped. My team was made up of engineers and scientists; we did not have a single psychologist on our payroll.
The majority of the members of parliament believed that the resultant social unrest could be controlled. “We’ll introduce a world-wide system of unemployment benefits for unemployed people. We can also provide them with public or social housing. The benefits and social houses can be funded by an additional government tariff levied on the digital platforms.”
Most of the participants in the meeting had a vested interest in the digital platforms. They stood to gain substantial wealth from the implementation of Gemma. As a group, they decided to go ahead with the introduction of the system.
“The majority of people will be happy to live on benefits and have a free house,” one MP argued. “We can also introduce free entertainment in the form of television and repetitive computer games that do not involve strategy or encourage the development of complex problem solving skills and lateral thinking skills. We’ll keep them dumbed down and they won’t even realise it.”
World Government could not have been more wrong. This proved to be the worst decision ever made in the history of mankind.
This post was written for Sue Vincent’s weekly photo challenge Decisions. You can join in here: https://scvincent.com/2019/04/11/thursday-photo-prompt-decisions-writephoto/