The Information Exchange

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Technology has progressed! Instead of years of schooling, individuals can now with the flick of a switch and 7 minutes to spare understand larger amounts of content and topics. The progress of humanity has reached its pinnacle, or has it?

“I've come here today,” the man on the stage pauses. “not only to demonstrate the use of a marvellous product but... to open your eyes to the future.” He stands tall and proud. Navy coloured suit, shoes glinting under the stage lights. He waltzes to the other side of the stage with the enthusiasm of a little girl who thinks she’s a fairy. He leans over out the light, staring into the large hungry crowd. As if to offer a slab of red meat to starved lions, he asks, “may I have a volunteer?” The crowd come alive like hissing serpents, and he selects a young girl along the third row. 

Shy and uncertain, she shuffles to the front. Looking back at her family as a prisoner stumbling to the gallows would. 

“Don't be scared,” the man smiles gently, beckoning the child to sit on the chair at the centre of the stage. The girl sits, legs hanging over the edge, feet not touching the floor. The chair is like a dentist chair. White, potent and threatening. A head-fitting dangles above the girls head, like the light of an anglerfish, and is attached to a large silver machine behind her. 

The man walks around the chair, pressing buttons causing the chair to go higher. He clasps the head-fitting on the girl. “Just before I continue, ” the man says, voice booming in the speakers. “May I have permission from the parents to inject sleeping medication. It should only last ten minutes. And it's just to remove the initial shock of new information and allow her brain to correctly process the information.” 

The girls parents smile, tapping on the screen in their wrists, appearing to sign some sort of document. The man on the stage smiles to himself as he sees their signatures appear on his wrist screen. 

He walks to a table by the side of the stage and takes a small dosage from a bottle. He walks to the girl and hands her a teddy bear from under the chair and takes her arm carefully. In her surprise of seeing the teddy, the man masterfully injects the neurofen without her demonstrating any acknowledgement of the occurrence. The audience applauds as she looks up and only then notices the used needle with wide eyes.

He looks at the girl, saying softly, “Relax, I'm going to download 1G of information on a variety of topics, and you're going to be super smart.”

The girl considers this and smiles, “will I be super smart like you?”

He chuckles, “not quite, but almost. Now close your eyes and lean back in the chair.”

The girl closes her eyes and the man types into the machine, explaining, “what I'm now doing is selecting the textbook information in these encyclopedias.” He holds up three encyclopedias and flicks two switches. The girl visibly relaxes, asleep. 

“Okay so now that's ready. We'll start the process which will take 7 minutes.” He says, pressing a large green button.

He turns to face the crowd. “So Kathy, this little girl, who's seven or eight will be able to recite or answer any question related to the content in these encyclopedias. Now Sally and Michael,” he looks at the girl's parents. “Forgive me for calling you that, your names were all on the form when you signed. How well has your daughter done in school?” 

The parents look at each other, Sally nodding her head for Micheal to reply. Michael taps his microphone earpiece, which connects to the sound system. “Well Sir, I would say my daughters doing well, above-average if I say so myself. She just learnt her time tables, all the way to ten. Her best subjects would be maths and English.” 

“That's great, she's the perfect person then for this demonstration. The majority of these encyclopedias are physics, chemistry and biology. Today I've invited the local uni to lend two of their chemistry and physics lecturers. Please welcome them up.” 

The crowd's applause shakes the building in time as the lecturer's footsteps up the stairs to the stage.

“Sorry about not knowing your names. Would please introduce yourselves?” The man says once the lecturers meet him at the front of the stage.

The larger of the two began, “I'm Professor Schütniegér, and I specialise in the area of Electronagnetism.” His voice was deep and raspy, and he rubbed his stomach as he spoke. 

The other lecturer, was thin and younger. She wore wire glasses and spoke quietly, “Good evening. My name is Professor Redmond and I conduct in pharmaceutical research but am currently representing the chemistry department.”

“Thank you, Professor Schütniegér and Professor Redmond. I gave the university the encyclopedias before the presentation so I hope you have some questions prepared.” Both professors nod. 

“Great! Now let's see how long we have left.” The man approaches the machine with an added hop in his step. “Perfect timing. 20 seconds left.” He swipes his wrist and the timer appears on the screens on all members of the crowd's wrists. A hush enters the crowd as they jitter in anticipation. 

The man smiles. “Ten, nine, eight, seven, ” the whole crowd joins in. “Six, five, four, three, two, one.” 

The girl opens her eyes. The audience applauds.

She looks around, face relaxing once she takes in her surroundings. The man walks to her and unclasps the head fitting and leads her to stand with the professors. 

“Kathy, we're now going to ask you a few questions, is that okay?” the man smiles.

The girl nods.

“Professor Schütniegér, ask your first question.”

The professor pulls out a crumpled looking sheet of paper. “Okay Kathy, if you have an proton travelling towards the crowd and the magnetic field is going towards your left, which direction is the force does the force act on the particle?”

The girl scrunches her face, “so the proton, that's positively charged, right?” The professor nods. “Its going towards the crowd, and the field is to my left?” He nods again. She pauses, holding her hand out in front of her. “It would go upwards, towards the roof.” 

The professors eyebrows shoot up. The man gives him the textbook and the professor photographs the page, sending it to all the screens. An applause resounds and and echoes against the walls. 

The second professor opens her binder, asking her question and again Kathy answers correctly. The professors exit the stage with a round of applause.

The man turns the crowd. “Does anyone still have any doubts?” 

A few hands rise.

“Okay Kathy, I want you to pick someone to ask you a question.”

She chooses a elderly lady towards the back. The lady stands up peering out her glasses. “The encyclopedias include calculus right?”

The man flicks open the cover of one of them, eyebrows high. “Yes, actually.”

“Okay, Kathy, I want you to integrate (2x+1)^3.” 

Uncertain, Kathy looks to the presenter. “Would I be able to have something to write on?” 

The man points at two stagehands who bring out a whiteboard and hand the girl a pen.

She scribbles on the whiteboard, before turning to the lady, “2x^4+6x^3+3x^2+x+c.”

The audience type into their wrist screens, and a grand applause is heard.

The man sends the girl back towards her parents, “Thank you and have a wonderful evening.”

The cheers and applause are so loud that, no one heard the sobbing of the parents as the girl walked past them and asked the couple behind them. “Are you my parents?”


(16th April 2021)

Submitted: April 16, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Ke’lta-nashia.17. All rights reserved.

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