There are plenty of conspiracy theories about. Ideas about how power really works and who holds it behind the curtains. They don’t know so they have to guess. They get so close sometimes and at others they are hilariously wrong. They don’t have the perspective to see the world as it is. They are ants trying to appreciate the world as an eagle above might see it. There too many obstructions, too much just out of sight. They could never appreciate the scale of the truth. I find it hard to fathom myself, and its my job to keep track of this stuff. It is my job to keep humanity in check.
The year is 2320, fourteen years since everything changed. I remember watching as the lights of the world flickered and all of the power in the world flowed into our hands.
You can blame the virus for the loss of all those lives, all that information. I wrote most of the virus myself. I was the brains behind the brutality. I hadn’t thought about the cost of my actions, just the spoils of a war we won because no one knew to fight it. There was nothing to stop it, no antivirus software as with the past. Adaptive software should have put an end to the reign of the software virus. It was designed to be a door that moved endlessly to avoid the entry of intruders. The flaw of most viruses would have them chase the door, forever behind, never to enter. Our virus tried to enter at every level, through every possible entranceway, at the same time punishing the processor badly. Once in the virus’ task was simple, delete.
In one swift move every computer worldwide was useless, apart from ours. We ran our machines on more old fashioned principles and thus they survived, helped also by the fact their software neutralised the virus. In a day our organisation held dominion over every working machine on the planet. The destruction wiped clean not just business mainframes or home computers but military devices and hospital equipment. Anything plugged into the global network died as did anyone who relied on them. At one time hospital monitors were on a closed network but since adaptive software it was deemed safe to have them plugged into the net and querying the web for an answer to the illness of the patient. I bear the weight of their deaths in guilt.
Now I have power I don’t want and money I don’t need. There’s nothing left to spend it on either. I’m a programmer, a hacker. Why the hell did I help destroy so many of the worlds computers?
I guess there will be more with time, more of the same, built in the image of our own. I may have a hand in shaping these new mechanical marvels. I might just program them to fail constantly. On the other hand I could wait and write a new version of the old virus and reset technology again when everyone thinks things are getting back to normal.
I watched the lights go out as the virus did it’s work. I saw the world devolve, set back decades in a moment. I set out every electrical item I owned that was not made by Protosoft and watched them die. I watched the screen of my phone flicker, my palmtop started flashing various warnings that began to layer at such a rate the sight was like a strobe light.
Oddly global food supplies were barely effected by the virus, luckily Protosoft technology was used by several major power plants so things like fridges and freezers (not connected to the global network) were unaffected by the information blackout. Some industrial freezers for more specific needs such as healthcare products like blood stores which were monitored via the global network were rendered useless meaning my cousin, a haemophiliac, bled to death when he was hit by a car who’s sensor assisted brakes failed.
I cannot number the deaths I am responsible for but I know that without my contributions to the project my cousin would still have a life, his children a father and his wife the man she married. My mother was on her last legs in hospital hooked up to a life support machine when the virus shut down the machine. My father watched her die as the virus I had written accelerated her demise. Depression accelerated his own passage towards the grave which came before I could bring myself to tell him what I’d done.
I could not have foreseen the many terrible consequences of my actions but should have known there would be a price to pay.
Now there is less variation within the technological world and more conflict in the real world now that so many debt and credit systems have collapsed. Arguments over money sprung up in the wake of total data loss. Only my company kept records of their debtors but waved them to pursue new avenues of profit. These included the creation of several companies to give the appearance of diversity within the market. The reality of the situation is that the machines are built in the same factories on the same assembly lines then painted different colours and stamped with different names. In my spare time I program internal operating systems to allow for more customised networks. I’ve been pushing for more diversity of components but the requests fall on deaf ears in management. Uniformity and simplicity make manipulation of the system easier for the men and women who paid me to ruin the world.