The Volunteer

How old am I? Have i served my duty. I feel half asleep. For much I have seen, and now memory feels mechanical. As if they got stored in small cabinets in linear indexing. This is not how it felt like. Strangely I remember that. ..He swallowed his spit and bit his tongue.

The republic assembly of Geographical Asia: July 2045:

“That’s non – negotiable, we will not tolerate this suggestions from the Intelligence Burea”

Speaker: “ The Opposition needs to elaborate”

Member of Parliament: “Their excessive usage of algorithms developed at the last summit of Auxillary intelligence were flawed, The stake holders simulation had coding errors and we’ve already requested for review, and that was 5 months ago”

Speaker: Others of same opinion please indicate through your interface.

“Today there are seven issues put forwarded into the citizen count procedure, and we will hear the results shortly:”

CCTV camera footage: View from the insides of a metro rail coach: Top angle. Everyone looked down onto their standard PDA. The PDA are all of the same model. Some had stickers on them. There were two dominant logos on top, one looked like that of a corporate and the other a government body. The second logo blinked slowly and started fading in and out. A small indicator in the interface displayed the amount of time left to cast all the votes.2hrs 45mins.The small text next to the ticker read: This was a mandatory obligation to all the citizens of Economical Sectors A,Ab and Ca.

A detailed view of the interface and the user ; the time indicator and the mandatory topics on vote. He changed the window and checked opinion reports from three independent intelligence bureau. The user read the report swiftly. The users eyes moved from the various points highlighted by larger type and touched them to access the link. He looked up, scratched his thigh, looked around and checked his watch. The user took exactly 8.5 seconds on that page.

He cleared the screen on the PDA with a gesture and the main topics page reloaded. He clicked to cast his vote.

August2058: The new volunteers at the council have been moved to the medical facility. They smiled to the camera as they got off the buses. Some of the faces were censored the subtitles read” identity with held by request of the volunteer”. The reporter’s voice continued, “After the check up they will be moved to different universities”

They had lied to us. They were not medical check ups. I could feel a small scar on my shaved head. I wish it was some chip implant, though that was one the worst fears at that time. I remember rebelling outside the chamber. “ I am not a fucking prisoner, I have the right to know where this scar came from, I am a volunteer”.

Footage from an interview: Dr. Hauffman Van Chen, Radiologist,

I turned the screen around for him. There was nothing inserted into his skull that was sure. I remember him complaining about a change in the grey value. I ignored his plea, I couldn’t search his old records in those days, if I had known. but I swear, I did not know he was a volunteer, but I remember him well because of his excessive paranoia.

The Republic Assembly of Geographical Asia: July 7, 2060:

“The assurance for such a long term sustenance of such projects or experiments has to be validated by the Minister of Auxiliary Intelligence, which I believe will reconstituted to form ’Advisory council’ What is all this nonsense? How can there be an implementation of an overriding advisory board, this has been an unethical, non democratic movement by the respected ruling governor. I can’t wait for 50 years to know the results of this human experiment. What is it called anyways? “

Speaker: “The Accumulated Learning program initiated by the ruling government will be open for discussion after a series of presentations from the erstwhile Auxiliary Intelligence department. And please mind your language at the Republic Assembly, minister.”

July 8, 2060: Speaker: “I quote the amendment from the standard English version for citizens, for reference please follow the full report at #9909. The Advisory Council remains dormant till the volunteers complete at least 50 years the Accumulated Learning Program, they would join service and the duties of the council will be reinitiated”

Footage from what appears to be an interview: Why did I volunteer? Hmm. This question takes me a long way back. This was my calling. The chaos that prevailed after the Auxiliary Intelligence stepped down disturbed me. An opportunity to learn and make that difference. Why would I even think twice. We were not informed for how long it will last thou.

Accumulated Learning Programme: …..The latest update states that, 32 out of the 43 volunteers have returned to form the council. The advisory board will become a consulting body to the government. They will visit the medical facility and their life sustenance systems will be serviced. The state funds invested in this technology and the whole programme will be published soon……

Footage from interview: We went through a lot of different learning programmes, different subjects, I was eligible to volunteer because of my short stint at Public Works department. The others hailed from different backgrounds. Most of them Aa and Ab income sectors. We had to disconnect from our family ties to an extent and live among C sector communities for a long time. I was quite familiar with their community spaces. I don’t remember meeting any other volunteers during this time. What do you remember the most from this time? I remember my experiences at the nature reserves fairly well prior to this. I saw the forests from a distance. There was an immediate fascination and wonder. I guess a majority of the civilians are deprived from these experiences, the simulated parks which they have access to is a fairly poor rendition of such places. I also remember the first few days after the council was formed.

I saw them, indulgence was the only word. I had to work with this team. What happened to them? Did they go through a different programme? Have I met them before? Before, we volunteered? I remember a few of them. Where are they? We don’t deserve this respect as yet. The council is only two years old since inception. Failure was another word. It flew around my head, buzzing. But I had no helmet on. They ran around with an impenetrable membrane around. They seem to believe its wisdom.

To the Advisory Council: The medical facility requests permission to deploy the life supporting membrane. There is an unprecedented decay of tissues observed from the last check up and all respected members are requested to wear the membrane around their head, This will curb the decay and help in rebuilding the tissues.

Something died somewhere I could smell the rotting stench. There is a review due. Internal security seems to be the issue. The advice was to let go. They hurled it back and looked down at the mad man’s cry. I submitted the review with an edit.

Footage from interview: Mr. Nirmal Patterson, Documentation Department, Supreme Council Offices

The council of gods. The joke of the century. I worked with the council for two years. Never saw any of the ‘gods’ thou. In my uncles ancestral line there was a volunteer who quit. Which gave me a tough time at the recruiting center. But I was there when these power hungry buffoons asked for a revision of clearance levels. All that celebration to add ‘supreme’ was quite funny. They felt it was necessary. To take them more seriously perhaps? But it affected the recruiting process.

Nothing much to write today.

CCTV footage: Top angle:The green room was small. A man on a wheel chair. He is wearing a protective suit and transparent helmet covered his face. He looked straight into the camera. He gave a monotonous voice command , his eyes blinked rapidly and closed. Some one knocked twice on the door and announced “uh..uh another 5 mins, and we are on”. There is a faint humming in the background, the sound of an assembling crowd echoing in a large volume . He quickly scanned the edge of the arm rest ,as the door opened behind him, he exhaled causing a large patch on the membrane helmet . The chair moved smoothly on the floor . The door opened to a the balcony which cantilevered into a large volume filled with light from above.

An end. This has gone too long. The productive being, the service to humanity, it was not even an honorable sacrifice anymore. The old crazy man sounded more apt. I was not asked to step down, but I have rendered my self useless, to the council. It doesn’t’t matter what you have discovered, it’s the function that matters. Yes, I was to play an important role, and all that I learned was to be channeled to this very function. But, what snapped, pulled back and hit me hard was a black hollow hand. . My duty kept me alive and dead.

Footage from broadcast: Everyone assembled in the atrium were evenly lit by the skylight 500meters above . He slowly moved out of the shadow which fell on the platform while he continued speaking . The audience sheepishly pointed towards the cantilever from all directions as a few still searched the expansive interior surface of this renowned building. No one was surprised when they noticed how his lips remained sealed.

The Premise

Human society is constantly changing and evolving and the complexity of the system is bound to increase. Governance is bound to become a challenging arena because technological progress and automation does not change the fundamental challenge of decision making. How would society deal with this challenge in the future? Since technology is not the direct answer to this challenge, what would be the possibilities. We are already being aided by technology and information archives daily
But what is that essence that really matters when it comes to making decisions or representing a complex fragmented collective of human beings?
Is intelligence, knowledge or wisdom the beginning of an answer? But are we humans organically equipped to comprehend and make decisions in such complex environments which are yet to come?

The possibility of prolonging life is plausible in the wake of nano level bio-technology. What if a few selected members of the society go through a process of accumulated learning and these individuals form an advisory to the government body since they have accumulated the knowledge of the human race than anyone else and can make various connections between different areas of knowledge to form an advisory council to the elected body which consists of normal humans who are elected for the chosen term.

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