The Death of the Controlling Mind? Part 1: A Modern-Day Fable

(Working in the 4th Industrial Revolution)

6th September 2022

The vibration of Julie’s wrist device wakes her at exactly 6am as it also activates the coffee machine and selects an uplifting dance track to stimulate her to get out of bed on this cold, dark, Monday morning.

As she showers Julie is informed of her meetings and priorities for the day and the sensors have briefed global H.R. that her alcohol limits are, although within legal limits, above what the organisation judges as a level that produces optimum performance. An automatic message is already with the company virtual doctor and Julie’s salary has been reduced by 2.3%.

As Julie eats her perfectly balanced company supplied breakfast, she reviews project updates from her dispersed team made up of a mix of organic and artificial colleagues. They have worked together so long that sometimes she forgets which is human and which is not. She sometimes forgets but not for long, the accuracy, speed of response and depth of knowledge of her artificial colleagues always put the organics’ performance to shame. When she bothers to think about it, Julie knows that the organisation only continues to employ humans as part of a worldwide agreement to maintain civil society and a viable lifestyle for the population.

Getting into her car she remembers the latest policy change requiring employees to turn off the self-drive. A policy quickly enforced after a car had killed 5 school children in San Francisco when the computer’s logic had been confused by a horse rearing in a nearby field. Having to drive herself slows her opportunity to work. Frustrated she sets off and noticing a blood pressure rise her wrist device selects a selection of baroque classics to calm her down.
The journey into town goes better than she had expected, and she has been able to dictate 20 or so emails to suppliers and customers which pleases her. The car has messaged Global H.R. reporting Julie has exceeded the speed limit by 3%, a written warning is already winging its way to her mail box. Her emails have already been assessed and have been deemed adequate, this assessment will be added to the rest of the data that is being automatically collated for her yearly performance dash board.

She meets with a major supplier and negotiates a new 3-year deal at a very advantageous rate for her company, pleased, she completes the online contract and the organisation assesses her performance on this task as strong. Energised Julie rings her partner to tell him about her success then after picking up a bottle of wine and strawberries and cream for the evening celebration she drives back home. Her virtual doctor analyses her shop and books her in for alcohol abuse counselling. Her wrist devise is re programmed to check her blood sugars daily to reflect her increased chances of developing diabetes and Julie’s illness insurance premium is automatically increased.

At home Julie reviews her automatically adjusted priorities and completes the first three tasks. As she reads her written warning for her speeding offence a final written warning comes into her mailbox, incurred because of her speed when driving home. Her device selects an uplifting 1990’s anthem to lift her spirits and a message appears on her screen stating in large gold letters “YOU CAN DO IT!”

……. To be continued