Technologies seen in time point two

[The Balance of Souls]

This section will be forever incomplete. As I continue to write stories set in this setting, I will inevitably create new technologies to add to this list. Also, I do let other people write in my settings. So, if someone does create a fitting technology someday that impresses me, I’ll add it to this list. Technologies are listed by the story where they made their first appearance. Here goes:

Victim – The health monitoring system. It’s for your health, right? Every person is required to wear a special watch on their wrist that also functions to monitor their vitals. In the event of a heart attack, for example, emergency services are automatically notified and a special bot arrives to transfer the person to a self-driving ambulance. However, it is rumored that people can disable the notifications side of it, so that emergency services are not notified. In the event of a lesser medical issue that may still require medical attention (such as an irregular heartbeat), a beep alerts the wearer.  A voice key (usually set by the owner of the watch) can be used to call for emergency assistance in other situations, such as a devastating fall. However, it is a well-known fact that the government uses the health monitoring system to track humans. For example, if a crime is committed in an area, the military police (yes, these are the same thing by this time point) can access the health monitoring system’s records to see who was in the area at the time. A watch will also warn a wearer if they are entering a dangerous or restricted area. To clarify: most laws at this point are restricted to maintaining the more humane system and not harming a fellow living being. For example, rape and animal abuse are illegal on a worldwide scale. However, you will not see the military police sent in to track down someone for building code violations, for example (especially since bots have already repaired the damage by then).

Victim – murderscreens / news screens. To deliver news more reliably to the general populace, large screen were set up on the sides of buildings. What billboards and advertising screens survived WW3 were appropriated for news distribution. Editorials are relegated essentially just to the internet. In order to ensure the accuracy of the news, only certain approved stories (literally approved by a panel of elected people who still choose to work in journalism) and emergency broadcasts are allowed to be distributed via these screens. Murderscreen is the nickname given when victims of violence have their photos displayed in the days leading up to the Day of Remembrance.

Victim – Jets. Similar to modern day airplanes and jets, except most of these are smaller and carry passengers for shorter distances (such as from New York City to Philadelphia). More efficient forms of air travel have been adopted for longer distances, such as looping into the upper atmosphere and back, although these are classified differently. Older style airplanes are essentially out of commission, although you might still see some in areas that took longer to recover from WW3, such as the Middle East. Jets are all automatically self-driving (freeing the people who used to drive them so they no longer have to work), but a human override is available in case of emergency.

Victim – Repair technologies. Mostly bots with computer chips, mechanical arms, and either solar panels or another self-recharging power source. All bots are equip with basic AIs. Depending on their function, the bots will vary in size. Most of them can move along the ground on wheels or fly through the air like drones. They can be creative in their appearance (depending on their function and creaters), although most favor functionality. It should be noted that these are not very large. Emalyn tries to describe the largest of these “robots” in Will to Speak:

“She held her hands in front of her, trying to make a rough size. It was maybe a five gallon water jug that she came up with. Or possibly a small storage bin.”

Victim – Unidentified Flying Technology (UFTs for short). The sky is so cluttered that these are a frequent occurrence, but overall they’re not too distracting.

Victim – Trains / Subways. Yes, these still exist (at least partially because this writers likes trains). By this time point, they are much more efficient forms of public transit. The inside design is very similar to our modern day (including the artificial lights), although the outside design varies based on location, distance, and occasion. Cars and such do still exist, but are actually a lot rarer than they are today. Most cars, trains, subways and the like are automatically self-driving, but a human override is available in case of emergency. The car self-driving function can be turned off, but only with a proper license (this is only awarded after an exceptionally rigorous series of safety tests). Even then, the car is equipped with various safety features, such as automatic brakes and headlights.

Victim – Cleaning bots. Think how a janitor cart is designed, except add scanners, a computer chip, and two mechanical arms. These have replaced hotel maids, school janitors, cleaning services and the like so the people who previously filled those jobs don’t have to work anymore. Keys to the facility they’re assigned to (since, yes, some areas are still locked to the general public) are carried along with necessary supplies. For details about how hotel ownership works, see the earlier link off the main Balance of Souls world descript pertaining to the politics and economy of time point two.

Victim – Eatery tables and mechanical servers. A tablet-like screen is at the center of the table so humans can input commands at a restaurant, night club, bar, or other eatery (freeing the people who previously held those jobs so they no longer have to work). Pet variations do exist, but these vary in complexity and functionality (and, arguably, effectiveness) depending on the pet. Once an order is selected via the touchscreen, the screen itself lifts up so a serving tray can slide out. After it’s appropriately settled, the tray will melt back into the table (although the table itself appears barely porous). Most of these screens will have an ‘in case of human error’ reset-style button. Hold it down for three counts and the device either assumes you want all the inputs selected or you want to start over (depending on the actual model). The human error button will beep. The table itself is made so that spills will slide down into it (similar to the carpet and flooring). Every month or so the device will initiate self-cleaning.

Victim – Static serving trays. Mica explained this one to the reader when they were in the candy store in Victim: “The woman behind the counter picked up one [candy piece] with the serving tongs, putting it on a little static serving tray. The technology was a little dated, basic. When active, a grey box half the size of my thumb would break off into four corners, forming a clear field between them. This field would hold the sample, allowing her to pass it to him. Once deactivated, it would become that grey box again and he would return it.” The version in the book is very basic (and, as stated, a bit dated), but the basic premise is the same regardless of the model.

Victim – Food service place (also known as a food service station). For the free distribution of food to the populace, since not everywhere has a food replicator yet. By government decree, all food service places have to be open 24-hours and serve anyone who walks in. Some are staffed vis bots or mechanical servers (such as the earlier described tables). However, most food service places are actually staffed by convicts, as part of the more humane system’s attempt at humane convict reform. All prisons by this time have been replaced with work programs. Although food service places could easily be staffed entirely by bots or mechanical servers, forced labor is more common. Yes, there are many protests against the use of forced labor, but the majority of the populace still fears convicts. That being said, the convicts of this time are mostly only exceptionally violent offenders, such as rapists, murderers, and terrorists. It is common for people to illegally tattoo their allegiances after conviction, but the government does not bother having these marks forcibly removed (partially to serve as a warning, partially because of freedom of speech). At a food service place, a convict server will wear special collars on their wrists and ankles to keep them locked into a limited area (think a dog’s electronic fence, except strong enough to prevent them from leaving). There is also a counter in between them and the general populace to make the average person feel safer.

Victim – Food Replicators (see time point three’s technology post for specifics to that time point). Most individual and family residences are equipped with a basic food replicator. The most common model looks like a small oven door with a tablet-like interface above it. It beeps once an ingredient is ready. Otherwise, the door remains locked. However, these are mostly just capable of basic ingredients, so some cooking is still required to prepare a meal. For example, if Ms. Henson in Victim wants to prepare vegetable fajitas, she can use the food replicator to form the flour tortillas, bell peppers, onion, spinach, and whatever other vegetables she wants to add. Spices are too complicated – the taste tends to be off if someone tries to create them in a food replicator. So, Ms. Henson would probably keep spices and cooking oil in a cabinet instead. She would have to actually stir fry the vegetables to finish preparing the meal. The technology is not perfect, so it would probably take her at least an hour to actually create all the tortillas and vegetables.

Victim – Rapid Heal (see time point three’s technology post for specifics to that time point). Rapid heals in time point two look and function almost the same as they do in time point three, expect that they are not yet portable. Essentially, a small rapid heal looks like a medium-sized box with a tube-shaped hole cut through the exterior side of it. Most individual and family residences are equipped with one. Most hotel rooms will also have small ones. Function keys (as opposed to touch screens) are used to activate it. In the event of a malfunction, rapid heals are designed to shut down. Larger, full-body rapid heals do exist, but they are still not as prevalent. For the most part, full-body rapid heals are only found in hospitals. Although a rapid heal can fix most injuries in less than ten minutes, they are known to leave a persistent itch afterwards.

Victim – Water distribution. This is usually done via mechanical street vendors in addition to basic sinks and food replicators to ensure accessibility in case of emergency. Passersby can take automatically bottled water, drink from a fountain, or maybe activate an attached hose depending on the model. In case of emergency, such as a fire, bots can activate a hydrant-like spout.

Victim – Gun Safety measures. A safety thumbprint scanner is required on all legal guns. However, these safety measures can be hacked. For example, older models can still be hacked if someone tapes a ridged fingerprint over it (this has to be exact in order to work, but allows for anyone to put the required amount of pressure on it). Essentially all illegal guns have been confiscated (mostly via bots). In order to purchase a gun, an individual has to go through a rigorous background check and safety training. Even then, only a limited number of guns is allowed to be in the hands of the general population

Victim – the ability to turn off gravity. The technology causes the air to have a sharp static-like buzzing to it. Originally, people could use it in little pockets basically whenever, but that started causing too many problems with infrastructure and child safety. Now, you need a special license to possess one (and someone can only attain this license after a series of rigorous safety classes). The technology itself looks like a white 3ft-3ft-2ft box, and can only effect the surrounding approximately 1200 cubic feet (that’s roughly the size of a living room).

Machine Planet – the machine planet. Details will be added here later, when I return to this project. In the meantime, you can find some details in the ventures into space post off the main world descript.

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