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Mobility Package-Man

By: Anne-Caroline Paucot 28 May 2019 no comments

Mobility Package-Man

Androo offers mobility packages combining different types of transport.

Jasmine is trying to unravel any hidden defects in these ‘turnkey mobility’ formulas.

“Hello, Jasmine. I am Androo. A pleasure to meet you. I hope our talk will prove fruitful and that I will be able to answer all your questions.

For some days now I’ve been scratching my head as to why we remember the past and not the future,” says Jasmine.

“The past and the future are the two poles of a magnet. But the past has a stronger marker in the cerebral cortex that we call memories. The future is a form of mental reasoning, so more fragile. We favour more solid temporality.”

Jasmine looks amused. During their holographic discussion, she takes a moment to check that her interlocutor is indeed artificial intelligence and not a human being. The humanising quality of holobots means the image is misleading. Given the answer lacks any humour or hidden meaning, she is in no doubt She is going to start talking to a machine programmed to perform such a task.

“You want to discuss our new mobility packages,” says Androo.

“Mobility intrigues me because I’m always trapped in the heat of the movement.”

Androo sighs. With this client he’s going to have to do some soaping. Soaping is a speech coding system that takes the words spoken by the interlocutor and rubs them in another direction. While simple for artificial intelligence, it is a bit more complicated for a human. Because, contrary to what Jasmine believes, Androo is not a holobot but a man behaving like artificial intelligence. His job is to improve the corpus of artificial intelligence answers. Androo loves this job serving robots, yet regrets the days when robots were at the service of humans.

“Moovility will boost you with renewed enthusiasm by offering packages combining all types of urban transport. Land or flying cars, personal vehicles with human or electric energy, individual or public transport equipment…. To create our mobility packages, we draw from a catalogue with over 700 types of vehicles.

“Have you got the train?… The plane?… The gyroscopic bus?… Hyperloop? The taxi-drone? The flying tractor?…

Androo confirms that all the transport mentioned is indeed in the catalogue.

“What types of transport are not included in your package?”

“Love transport. It’s a shame because you appear to be a good candidate for this kind of transport.”

Here Androo is using the so-called ‘bonobo’ programming loop. Bonobo monkeys ease tension in their groups by multiplying sexual practices. ‘Bonobo” coding involves titillating the client’s sensuality. The phrase is spot on. Jasmine grins. Despite being artificial intelligence, the human in the holograph is especially attractive.

“The Ministry of Transport designed the Moovility packages. For each trip, they knit together the individual journeys that coordinate different means of transport.”

“You have to be careful with knitting. There always comes a time when you lose a stitch.”

Androo triggers a network scratch to give him time to find the answer a holobot would give. He also notes that the word knitting must be deleted, since for clients it refers to an activity from the past.

“I can reassure you Moovility knitting is guaranteed hole free. The modes of transport smoothly follow on from each other and you are guided throughout all your journeys. Since you have 72 points of eco-solidarity awareness, you will like Ecolus. This package minimises your carbon footprint. To get to work, you will use five types of transport: the metro, walking, carpooling, cycling, and pedal boat.

“It’s a modern package with transport modes dating back to another century,” says Jasmine. “Why not add the stagecoach and rowing boat while you’re at it.”

“Our packages include amazing innovations,” says Androo. “When you take the metro, you can benefit from an additional reduction of your carbon footprint through the capture and transformation of human heat into energy.”

“Great! You’re going to pack as many people as possible into the trains to get more heat to capture. At the same time, why not schedule stops in tunnels. Passengers will get angry and even more heat can be captured.”

“The pack is very cheap. It is heavily subsidised by government.”

“If I were an animal, why not. But as long as I’m human, thanks but no thanks.”

Androo can’t help but agree. The end does not justify the means. Rescuing the planet must not involve transforming all humans into livestock. And not all the crazy ideas of researchers are acceptable. After genetically modifying cows to no longer release gas, and so no longer pollute the atmosphere, are we now going to modify humans to produce more heat to capture?”

“I understand your reservations,” says Androo. You’ll probably enjoy Fitmus. This mobility pack guarantees a perfect balance between the user’s activity and their diet. With Fitmus, you will stay slim, in shape, and retain your desire to unravel life to the very end. to live life to the full. You who love innovation, know that this package, which screams modernity, is managed in real time through analysis of your personal data.

“Fitmus! On social media, everyone talks about their problems with this pack. You have to run after the gyro buses that leave just as you arrive, push the carpool cars, pedal to power the Hyperloops, swim to pull taxis that fly on the Seine, exhaust yourself to bring the space lift up…. It’s the people who choose this pack who should be paid, given the energy produced.”

Even if the client is exaggerating, she’s not wrong. Androo has noticed that Fitmus customers produce energy for the Wellnus, a package reserved for the affluent population.

“I’d prefer a more zen pack where you can enjoy movement. I’d like the one where you use electric tripods that move along smoothly, Hyperloops where speed is a tranquiliser, electric bicycles that relax your legs, autonomous cars that invite meditation, carpooling with people who share the same interests. I don’t remember its name.

“Wellnus,” replies Androo.

Androo is bothered. The artificial intelligence has decided Jasmine does not quality for this package. So has he. It is reserved for the well-to-do and movers and shakers who will sing the merits of this package, and consequently of the government that introduced it. An obvious example of the injustices cleverly concealed behind an algorithm.

“Sorry, the algorithm has decided you don’t qualify,” says Androo.

“Why?”

“I don’t know. All I’m seeing is that the check box is greyed out.”

 “Why is the box greyed out?”

“The form doesn’t say. If you like, you can contact Moovility’s claims service.”

“Which of course will tell me they can’t do anything, because the algorithm decides whether or not I qualify for this package. Then, all I can do is go and beat up this lousy algorithm. Not a pretty sight because it will puke up all its data.”

Androo smiles. Then, all of a sudden, he straightens up and says:

“Ah, good news. The algorithm has just cleared the box. So you are now entitled to the Wellnus package and even a special rate.

“Wonderful,” says Jasmine, clearly astonished. Artificial intelligence has changed its mind – a definite first!

Androo smiles. He has decided to give the holobot programme a thorough soaping. By adding lines of ‘bonobo’ code, it will give anyone who is attractive and has a basic sense of humour access to Wellnus.

©Olivier Fontvieille

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