Thursday, August 19, 2010

We will, we will rack you

DISCLAIMER: in case you would not notice. It's a fiction piece - therefore any analogies to the real world are coincidental, hyperbolic and should not be interpreted outside the boundaries of this text or its continuation. Failure to do otherwise may cause the falling bowls of petunias. Thank you for taking care of our environment.

Your Caring Administration.

A swarm of tiny flying insects were hammering at Jack's door. They were so many that their sound resembled a heavy rain. And their synthesized sales chorus was resembling the machine at the dentist's.

".. - We will organize your data for as little as the rights to 2% of it yearly for the first 10 years after your death - .. ".

Damn. It hurts to be the last messed up guy in the area. These were automatic sales agents, tuned to find out the piles of unstructured non-indexed data, and to try to seduce the owners of that data to give it to the army of the all-mighty processing machines of Wiggle.

Wiggle, with their slogan "Your information wants to be free - don't be rude to it!", has expanded quite a lot in the past decade - from a small group of fanatic hackers obsessed with an idea to a large publicly traded corporation. Despite for its size it retained the passion and the hunger for the data that it had for the early days. Their operating principle was simple: you let them arrange your data for you and make it easily fetchable for you, in return you give them the full rights to a share of your information after your death.

For everyone it was as good as free - especially since the majority of the shareholders were in their early twenties - no matter how educated you are, at this age the death itself is a faint ghost, let alone whatever happens after the death - the full-brightness social interactions do not leave any other meaning to life other than "this!". And the letters you write - who cares what happens to them after your death. You won't be there. But it's great to be able to pull just the one you need from out the pile with the elegance of a card magician from the neighboring street.

First it was a neat parlor trick to impress the others, then it became an ubiquitous necessity of everyone's lives. The skills that were needed before were not anymore - this means you can free up that part of the brain for something else, yay! And everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Almost.

Jack was among those who did not. He preferred to keep his cards close to the chest. Not that he had much to hide - only the usual set of human screwups, but he felt naked otherwise. And that was something he hated, hated so much that he hung on to this habit even after it caused a few rather painful breakups - when people come to expect something as a natural property, the lack of it makes you "strange". Even if you think this property is something unnatural (and even if it is) - you are the one who is the gray swan - because you are "deviating from the norm".

Nonetheless, Jack knew where it was coming - that was why he was one of the early purchasers of the shares of Wiggle. And when the first deaths happened, the co-actors of the events that better be left private started to queue up to the offices of Wiggle in order to buy out the information they did not want to be free, literally off the deathbed of their best friends. As disgusting as it may seem - it did not involve selling drugs or trafficking the humans, nor killing the tuna, so it was good enough for Jack - who could happily retire and was now living in a house by the seaside of the El Hierro island.

... to be continued ...

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