The paint on the wall watched the people as they walked. From one end of the hall to the other. From one room off of the hall, to another room off of the hall. It watched. And it reported. Every thing it saw. To the central hub of the building. And the central hub compared the people the paint showed it to the list of known entities. Every time an unknown entity entered the hall, the central hub spoke to the doors along the hall, ordering them to seal themselves shut. So that the unknown entity could not gain access to anything in the rooms they protected.
The stain on the Oak panels in the elevator at the end of the hall watched as people entered the elevator. And as they left. Keeping track of how many people were in the elevator at any given time. And which floor of the facility they were heading to. It reported this information to the central hub. The hub, in turn, compared the entities in the elevator to known entities. It determined if those entities had access to the floor they were attempting to reach. If not, it ordered the elevator to not open the door, blocking their access. If an unknown entity was in the elevator, the hub had the elevator routed to the first floor. The open floor. Where the entity could exit the elevator safely.
No one told the hub, the elevator, the stain, the paint, or the doors what to do. They were autonomous. They worked coldly. Ruthlessly. Based solely on the information they were given. The information that simply stated which individuals had access to what. The system then ran itself. Making it’s own decisions. Based on the rules of access. With no human error at all.
It worked so well, that the company decided to have the paint installed in every hall of its facility. And every elevator. And that worked very well. Everyone in the facility felt safe. Secure. Knowing that no one that was not supposed to be there could get there.
The system was so successful for the company, that they told other companies about it. And how happy they were with it. And how it saved them all kinds of money on labor costs. Greatly reducing their need for security personnel. Those other companies were so impressed, they started testing the security system for themselves.
The first company went to the vendor of the security system. They had ideas for things they wanted to add to the system. Having the system direct security personnel to where they were needed. Having the ability to lock down the facility. To monitor items left in the hallways. Or in other rooms.
These upgrades were all implemented in the security system. And the company was very happy with the result. The personnel in the building? They weren’t quite so sure about these upgrades. But they didn’t say anything.
The upgrades worked so well, that the company told other companies about them. And those other companies had those upgrades installed too. And so it began to spread. Until the day the company implemented upgrades that allowed them to monitor their personnel. So they could tell if people were being productive. Or if they were just sitting there. Doing nothing. So they could monitor how much time people wasted every day. How much time they spent doing things other than the work they were paid to do.
Which lead to adjustments in paychecks. And time off. And hours of vacation earned. And so on. At first, the personnel said nothing. Hoping things would get better. They did not. So the personnel began to file lawsuits against the company. Suing the company for unfair treatment. For lost wages. For lost vacation time.
One by one, the cases went to court. The lawyers, and the judges, and the jurors all did their jobs. They all followed the procedures of the court. The rules, and regulations they were given. The rules and regulations they’d been taught.
And one by one, the cases brought before the court. Failed. And the verdicts held. As they went from court to court. For the personnel had signed employment agreements that they were found to be in violation of.
And so it was that over time, working in the world became monitored. And watched. And the humanity of the workplace.
And all that was left were simple, interchangeable, replaceable pieces, in the machine of the economy, and the companies that rule everything. That was how it started. That was how we wound up being monitored. And controlled. Until the point when human life became expendable. And the humans were not needed any more…