I woke up to the voice of Alia. As a matter of habit, I looked at my wrist for the time and found it empty. Alia whispered in my ear “It’s hard to forget our Ex-es, eh?” and started laughing. The time, 4.30 A.M. flashed in front of my eyes. I just sat there on my bed thinking, how this tiny bionic chip installed in my body is influencing every aspect of my life. Just 30 years before, I needed a smart phone with alarm clock to wake me up. I had to manually feed the time. Now, the A.I powered bionic chip (I named mine, Alia) based on my sleep cycle, my appointments and my health and habits wakes me up accordingly. The camera in my contact lens records everything and it is uploaded in the cloud, and since it is connected to the chip it analyses everything I see. I don’t need to remember anything. Thanks to the 10G network connectivity of the chip, I rarely have any unanswered questions. Whenever my brain has a question, the most feasible answer will pop up in front of my contact lens.
Yesterday my boy taught me, how I can customize my AI according to my personality so that it can give me answers I am actually looking for. All I have to do is give permissions for the chip to access and analyse all my personal files and my thoughts. I asked him “Wont it invade our privacy? What if someone spies on us with all this information?” He said “Dad! you worry too much about these things. There is a centralized monitoring system of the government and it prevents any misuse of data by the company.” Just when I was contemplating about how the A.I.s have invaded our privacy, Alia interrupted my thoughts, saying “You’re getting late, love.”
Me and my wife are in the morning shift. In order to provide work for the huge population while automation has been replacing the man force, the work world has been divided into 3 shifts of 8 hours each. Everything is open for 24 hours a day, the restaurants, shops, offices etc., Just the workers change according to their shifts and so has their life styles. Ever since this system is adopted, the efficiency of the world has improved a lot. As soon as I got ready, I thought of taking my jetpack, but Alia reminded me of extra tax imposed of using personal vehicles. Alia called a skycab for me. Skycabs are automated cab services run on electricity. I still remember when I first saw an electric car 30 years ago which needed frequent recharging. Now these cars run on real time wireless electricity. Thanks to their efficient service, the no. of vehicles on road have reduced predominantly, so does the traffic jams and accidents.
I reached my office 15 minutes early. Alia suggested I should call my daughter. Last time, my wife talked to her, Siva (Her A.I) spotted deceit in her tone and she asked me to talk to her. My daughter became pretty excited looking at me. After an exchange of some pleasantries I asked her to switch off her A.I for 10 minutes and so did I. Then she told me, what’s bothering her. She says, she is in love with a girl and another girl proposed to her recently. She is having trouble to decide who she should marry. I told her since you were in love with the first girl, you should be with her. She said that even her heart says the same, but analysing their chemistry based on the videos of their previous encounters, their habits and personalities, her A.I suggested that she would be much happier with the second girl in the long run. I didn’t know how to respond. “What did your mother say?”, I asked. Ever since her nanobotic heart surgery, I didn’t want to burden her with my relationship problems. Moreover, my A.I predicted that she would freak out hearing that I’m gay. Emily interrupted our chat and said its almost time for work. So, I waved her bye and my daughter said she would send her A.I s analysis and asked me to look into it.
In the evening after my shift, I asked Alia to book a ticket to my son’s place. She suggested I travel by hypersonic jet. But I told her I will travel by Hyperloop. Although it’s an old tech and it takes an hour long, it feels much safer to me and also I haven’t got over my fear of travelling at speeds greater than sound. While travelling, I got bored and started reading the autobiography of Elon Musk, the founder of Hyperloop, Space X. He wrote his experiences of travelling to Mars, a couple of times and he discusses his plans of establishing first human colony there in a couple of decades.
I reached my sons place at around 4 PM. It was a crowded apartment in the suburbs of another city. When I entered his room, he is in his Holosuit, wearing glasses playing some virtual reality game. Now-a-days these games have become too advanced that these suits make people mimic whatever the character in the game feels (like pain, pleasure etc.,). I have heard stories of some kids becoming addicted to these games, getting attached to the characters using the game as an escape from the desolation in the real world. He waved me hey and texted that he will be with me in about 10 minutes.
I said to him, “Your mother is worried about you.” He said, “But dad, I told both of you, I love Rita and she understands me better than any human can.” “But it’s an A.I. It’s a written code and its task is to understand you and talk to you like it cares. It might be your friend, but you can’t be seriously talking about being in a relationship with her. It can’t give you the feeling of a human touch.” I argued. “But Dad, I’ve been thinking of getting physical with her. There are women available for hire who would be connected with my A.I and there is a software available in the dark web that makes my A.I. take control of her mind and make her behave exactly as if my A.I is her.” he said. My mind just went blank after hearing this. I thought of bringing his sister and mother into this conversation and try to rationalise with him, but I know what he would say, “It’s my life.”
I replayed the recorded conversations with both my kids on my way home. I asked Alia about what my boy said. She explained to me that this has been a rising phenomenon across the world with less and less kids coming out of the houses and attaching themselves to the virtual world, they have been deprived of social skills. These kids have been known to grow intimacy with their A.I s and some companies have been misusing them for their profit. There has also been growing demands in the west to legalise marriage with the andro-humanoid robots.
I came home at around 8 P.M. Although the rates of fresh vegetables are souring lately as compared to the packaged food, my wife decided to cook dinner. While we were eating, my wife asked me about the kids. I thought of sharing her the videos of our conversations, but decided against it. After dinner, we share watched some of our old pictures and videos together on our contact lenses. We went to bed at around 10 P.M. I couldn’t sleep and I kept thinking about the times when I’m of my kids age. About 30 years ago, my parents dealt with simpler problems of caste, faith, age, complexion in marriages. They never would have imagined there would be problems of this type in the future. I never did so. Love and life are becoming more and more complex and weird with time and technology day by day. Alia whispered, “It’s time to bed, love.” “You’re the boss, miss” I thought. Alia started playing some soothing deep sleep music and I slowly drifted into my sleep.
This post is written by KumarRaja Vanapalli