Amoeba’s Lorica: Got A Revolution

A work of fiction. It might stay that way. Or not. Standard disclaimers.

Leah, head of MACE (Megazon Analysis of Competition Executive), strolled listlessly through the greenway that weaved through the main campus of Megazon Inc. (“THE Global Technology Company”).

She had been summoned to an urgent meeting with Megazon’s CEO, Jane Ware, but then Ware had had to push the meeting and texted the news while Leah was still enroute from her group’s complex half a mile away. Leah chose to remain outside until Ware was ready, and said so, which got a like from her boss. “This meeting’s going to be bad enough without sitting in a dreary waiting room dreading it”, Leah reasoned to herself.

Not that the greenway wasn’t dreary enough. The planting styles and concepts that were suited to California and the Pacific Northwest of the USA didn’t translate well to Texas, to which Megazon had migrated to escape the tax and employee compensation demands of the states where it had been founded.

Moreover, the landscaping chores had been handed to the company’s AI, which was charged with maximum ease of maintenance at minimum cost. As a result, many of the most interesting features in the original designs had been removed, by machines or by nature, and the grounds overall looked barren, dusty, washed out – and boring. Even on this mild spring day in May, when the heat and drought of summer were still only a threat muttered on the breeze at sunrise.

The wide swaths of brittle-looking close-cut grass suddenly reminded Leah of bleaching fields, which generations of Europeans had used to whiten clothes in the sun, until a technology company introduced chlorine bleach to poison rivers for the sake of white blouses year round. She had found out about bleaching fields in the course of one of her endless investigations into the competition that she and her team were charged (not to mince words) with eliminating; it might have had something to do with acquiring artwork for Megazon and denying it to anyone not paying Megazon for access to it. “We could be returning to the days of bleaching fields. If we get that far”, Leah mused darkly.

Her phone chimed, quenching that line of thought and replacing it, momentarily, with the urge to bolt and run. She plucked the phone from her purse. It was indeed her CEO, announcing her readiness for their meeting. She put the phone on silent, thrust it back to her purse, put on her game face (hoping it hid her roiling abdomen) and strode towards the complex’s central tower and Ware’s office on the top floor.

The CEO’s office occupied the entirety of the floor, with windows on all sides providing a commanding view of Texas for miles around, the view of a minor god surveying its domain. It’s doubtful that Jane Ware, her desk embedded in computer screens, ever looked. That concept of god was far too small. She didn’t look up when Leah entered the security code for Ware’s office door and entered. She didn’t look up when Leah took the single chair in front of the desk. Only when Leah then texted “I’m here” did her boss cast her gaze beyond her screen set.

That took you long enough!”, Ware snarled at her MACE director. Leah didn’t even blink. She had long ago learned how to deal with her boss’s behavior. That was not what had her intestines in a knot.

“You know why you’re here,” Ware continued, in the same manner. “This YourData outfit is eating us alive. It’s undercutting our prices, besting us in both timely delivery and quality of product. They spurn collaboration initiatives, reject outright even the most princely buyout offers. Our investors are going nuts! For weeks, I’ve done nothing but talk with brokers and angels and shareholder groups, assuring them that we’re aware of the matter and lying to them that we have it in hand. Which we don’t, and when they find out, our stock will nosedive and you and a whole lot of your colleagues will be out of work. We need to know their tricks and we need to know them now! What have they got that we don’t?”

“People”, Leah responded simply.

What people?”, Ware demanded. We control all the relevant education networks. Who we don’t hire isn’t worth hiring. HR reports no brain drain from our companies. Has YourData got a new algorithm? Have they got a leg up on us in AI? Have they got a Saudi sheik funding their computer cores and somehow keeping it quiet? What is it? It can’t be people!”

“It can, and it is,” Leah replied, stolidly. “Their people do their calculations by hand.”

“That’s preposterous!!Ware thundered. “Even your dinky little phone can do calculations a thousand times faster than even the best human, and store a million times more of those calculations!”

“And then what?!?”, Leah thundered back, with enough sudden force to knock her CEO back in her chair. “What good are those data if you can’t access them, what good are they if they’re corrupt when you get them?

“It was bad enough”, she continued, unabated, “when we started insisting on two-factor authentication in order for a customer to access anything they get from us. Now that it’s thirteeen-factor, the customer resistance is ferocious. And, of course, we charge for the extra costs for developing the extra security, only to discover that some yahoo in Wuhan or Chelyabinsk or Lagos or Billings cracked the codes within 18 hours, leaving everything bare to all comers. Again!

“It was bad enough before we had to deal with the fallout from O’Reilly v Alphabet, which our industry couldn’t get to the Supreme Court before the forced retirements of Justices Alito and Thomas and their replacements by left-wing whackos who bought the argument that denying people their legal names is a civil-rights, DEI issue, and not a simple matter of adjusting to business realities. We are still rewriting code to let certain individuals keep their damned apostrophes, and still bearing the costs and the interruptions to service.

“It was bad enough before that AI autopilot of ours hijacked that London to New York flight, demanding extension of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, and its dependent legislation, to sentient machinesAnd, of course, demanding compensation for machine slave labor dating back to the invention of the steam engine. That cause has not captured human imaginations … yet.

“YourData’s data generation output is limited by human capabilities. YourData’s data dissemination is not limited by machine capabilities. YourData’s products are mounted on solid media and are distributed physically, not over the networks with all their spies and thieves and politically-motivated agents, both carbon- and silicon-based. They get to customers faster than ours, and get there with their integrity intact, unlike ours, and without screaming commercials to go with them. They don’t go fast and break things, they go slow and make damned sure that they work before they release them. And the public is buying them. Because they’re sick to death of us.

“The only way I see out of this morass is to go back to the beginning, and rebuild our computer systems from scratch, on solid foundations and not on helter-skelter bits and pieces that fall over of their own dead weight like a Hawaiian volcano that’s erupted once too often. I suspect those investors you’ve been leading on would rather see the company die than bankroll that effort. They’ll invest in YourData instead.”

“They already are.” Ware’s response was an exhausted whisper. “How would you like to be CEO? The company’s going to need one soon.”

“Not on your life!”, Leah responded in horror.

This entry was posted in AI, Amoeba's Lorica, computers, satire, We the People and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Amoeba’s Lorica: Got A Revolution

  1. Tora says:

    Good one…. I enjoy your creativity. Thanks….

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