(Photo Credit: Sue Vincent)
Krish contemplatively made his way to the centre of the garden. A small circular table wound around the trunk of an old dwarf tree canopied by a profusion of weeping roses. Looking up at the tree, Krish mumbled in a low voice, “weeping roses.” In a sprawling, twenty first century, state of the art, Avant-garde campus, which was paying obeisance to the artificial, this was the only recourse for natural solace.
With a corporate code reading like a Where-Ayn Rand-Met-Francis-Galton horror manifesto, the humanistic element in MacroLarge Inc was not merely absent, but completely eviscerated. Employees and their future lay defined and governed purely by the binary – hired and fired. Even the hiring and firing activities had no human involvement or manual intervention. Resembling a bleak and terrible variant of the Voight-Kampff tests in the Blade Runner movie series, aspiring entrants and the anguished terminated were both made to sit in front of a small rectangular box imaginatively termed the ‘FUPOD’. An acronym for ‘Future Potential Decider’, the FUPOD spat out a pre-programmed set of questions designed to test the expressions, emotions and intellect of the examined. Based on the answers, an algorithm powered by a highly potent Artificial Intelligence process, charted out destinies and fates in just under ten minutes. Based on the outcome of FUPOD, people had either taken home obscene paychecks or thrown themselves under trains.
An alphabet-soup of acronyms governed the days and dictated the nights of the employees. While a Micro Analysing Decoder (“MAD”), subjected every click of a keyboard to intense surveillance, the Swipe Layer and Virtual Enabler (“SLAVE”) programme, monitored on a minute-by-minute basis the time spent on professional and personal tasks, including bathroom breaks and visits to the mothers’ rooms. The Tracking Innate Connectors (“TiCs”) using advanced technology usually reserved for implants, tracked every facial expression exchanged between employees. An innocuous raising of an eyebrow in frustration or a barely perceptible nod of the head in acknowledgement triggered a hidden alarm thereby warranting a visit to the Chief Security Officer, and perhaps, even followed by a dismissal.
Being one of the most highly valued programmers in MacroLarge, Krish was to a large extent insulated from both the rigors and stresses that were otherwise the preserve and plague of the less privileged. However, an activist vein in him had popped and in a moment of both madness and epiphany he had decided to throw to the winds his accumulated net worth, Employee Stock Options and a glittering future.
Just before leaving his cozily and artfully furnished chic office he had executed a program that would let loose a rampant tribe of e-virus, which by the time was put to rest would have caused incalculable damages to the Company’s shares, its investors’ wealth, Wall Street predictions and most of all to Krish’s own future.
But this had to be done. Krish was stepping into a BRAVE NEW WORLD.