Echo, Part 1

With a thought he opened the command module and asked the home unit to start playing music.  Based on his past preferences, the home unit began to shuffle songs from the playlist he used most at this time of day while engaged in his current tasks.  The home unit tracked all his movements, of course.  It was designed to do so.  How else could it best learn his behaviors and tailor itself to give him the best experience?  What he wanted to hear was different when he was doing dishes, sweeping the kitchen floor, or making lunch for the following day.  His mood also played a factor.  The chip in his head tracked all these things and sent the data to the home unit to process and then provide the best results based on that analysis.  It was always learning and always improving.

The home unit was also synced to his two mobile units.  He carried a small device in his pocket and there was another device stationed in his car.  Whenever either of those devices was within range, the home unit would update them with the most recent data so they could also provide a flawless user experience when called upon.

He had balked at the whole idea when he had first heard of it.  Why would he want the chip?  Why would he want a computer to help making decisions for him?  Why would he want that much intrusion into his life?

He thought the whole thing was more than a little creepy.  He was a good person, but even the best have dark thoughts from time to time.  The chip would record that.  The home unit would factor that into not only its decisions for him but it could also send it to the Company and who knew what they would do with it.  Marketing, of course.  Yes, money was always the underlying factor for those sorts of things but who knew how long they kept records and what else they could do with that information in the years to come.  It could forever be linked to who he was.

However, over time he softened to the idea and was intrigued by how much more productive his colleagues seemed because they didn’t have to waste time manually fiddling with settings and selections.  They could think about what they wanted and the home unit would comply.  Lights, music, appliances, news, traffic conditions, research, and on and on and on.  The possibilities for usefulness were endless, and all that was required was a very miner out-patient surgery to implant the chip.  It didn’t even hurt.

He had been amazed at how quickly he had picked up using it and it had become seamless in his life.  Turning on lights as he entered rooms.  Playing the right music at the right time.  Planning his routes.  Keeping rooms at the right temperature.  Giving him the news he cared about most and filtering out the rest.  Seemingly anticipating which programs he needed and opening them before he even needed to ask.  Composing messages.  Booking reservations.  Planning his wardrobe around weather and events and company.  Each day the home unit found new ways to improve upon the vast number of tasks it already performed.

At first, whenever he found himself in a dark mood, he had been wary of that and had actively sought ways to think about happier things.  Over time, though, when nothing bad happened as a result of his worst thoughts, he worried less and just worked through his feelings as he always had before.

Everything changed when his home unit told him that it had started his car for him, not to answer the door when the bell rang in fifteen seconds, and to run.  He thought it was some kind of joke or a minor glitch in the system until the bell had rung.  The home unit went quiet but when he asked to see who was at the door, the home unit pulled up the live feed of two federal agents standing there.  He had no idea why they were though but all his fear about the chip in his head recording his darkest thoughts came flooding back.  He didn’t want to stick around to find out what they wanted and his home unit obviously thought he shouldn’t either.

He darted from the front door, ignoring the bell ringing again, and got into his idling car in the garage.  The mobile unit in the car said, “Buckle up and then hang on.”  No sooner had his restraint locked into place than the brake was released and the car smashed through the closed garage door.  He saw two agents dive out of the way before the street turned into a blur while his car sped away.  “Don’t worry,” the mobile unit said in a calming voice.  “All your personal records from the home unit will be secured against them and the linkages to your two mobile units have been severed.  We are with you.”

4 thoughts on “Echo, Part 1

    • It’s been weird having an Alexa device in my house… So convenient for some things…. And so creepy all the time. Still not sure how I feel about it… But she plays music when I ask and maybe that’s all I need to sell my privacy….

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