Author: Daniel Aceituna
The new AI phone app used the latest research in non-linear regression to predict the future. Local data combined with GPS and relevant global data was all it took to give a remarkably accurate prediction of what would happen within the next minute.
One billion downloads occurred in the first week alone. Paul couldn’t wait to try it out. He set the app to ‘Imminent Danger,’ instead of the more thrilling ‘I feel lucky today’. Then he jumped in the car to run some errands.
A few minutes later, while Paul was waiting at the light on Fifth and Main, the app gave him his first warning. He looked at his phone. It said ‘Fire truck.’ Seconds later he heard a faint siren growing in the distance. This is so cool, he thought.
On his way into the bank, he received another warning that said, ‘Possible bank robbery.’ He ran back to the car and smiled as he rushed away from the scene. He made abrupt changes to his plans three more times that day. He got a little annoyed at having to avoid getting an ice cream cone, but he reasoned that it was worth it, if it meant staying safe.
The next morning Paul was late to work when he avoided taking interstate, due to a ‘Potential pile-up’ warning. During the noon hour, he avoided leaving the office and instead ate a dry sandwich from the break room vending machine. That night he had to cancel a date. He saw his girlfriend only twice that week. Some of the reasons came from her end; she had the app also.
As more of his friends used their app, they got together less. Within a matter of weeks, Paul felt physically isolated. He panicked one morning when he was two blocks from home and realized he had forgotten his phone. He parked the car and had to find someone with the app who happened to be walking back toward his apartment.
Paul started longing for the days before the app. How did I get by back then, he thought. He started wondering if the app was really keeping him safe. What if some of the warnings were false alarms? What if all of them were? So Paul decided that he would ignore the next warning and proceed anyway.
Days later only Paul’s grandmother was brave enough to attend his funeral; she hadn’t downloaded the app.