Technombie 7: The Feed

Everybody knew Feeds started to replace personal wearable devices. Or at least that’s what they were told. Or hinted at every so often when it came up during an infoozian. Most people found the feed extremely convenient, especially when combined with a ScreenSpace. It removed decision making for some people by providing them with timely biometric stats, all the time. A whole bunch of biometric data points and algorithms silently connecting the dots behind the scenes decided everything.

However, most people failed to see the real potential of the feed. At least until the pandemic surged across the world. Initially, governments hacked into wearable devices and phones or convinced people to download apps to keep them healthy. It was a way to monitor the health of the population. They installed checkpoints at entries and exits for buildings, mass transit stations and vehicles, retail outlets, pretty much everything. The checkpoints scanned the devices. If the person “passed” they could enter or exit. If they “failed,” any number of things could happen.

Yet, a flaw remained in the system from the government’s oversight. People could simply remove their devices, or leave phones off, moving silently and unnoticed through ports of entry. Though strongly discouraged, it was almost impossible to enforce. This left another option, harder to enforce, but available with the right persuasion and manipulation tactics employed. Enter, the feed, a small finger-sized device inserted directly into a person’s forearm and attached to the nervous system.

Once inserted, the possibilities were endless. Complete control, tracking, and dominance were a mere algorithm, or two, away. The feed enabled continuous monitoring. More importantly, through the feed consequence could be doled out in a series of tremor-inducing jolts. Or by causing entries and exits to lock automatically, containing the offending person. Sometimes the feed communicated secretly with authorities who could track the violating individual and take immediate corrective actions. Often this resulted in isolation or lockdowns in designated facilities.

Equally important, the feed could transmit information cleverly disguised as “infoozians” or regular system upgrades. Nobody could ever really be sure what was going on. And once installed, the feeds were tricky to remove, dangerous even.

The pandemic ended but the feeds raged on, causing a new type of affliction to spread across the globe.

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