A society in which technology has taken over

By Shivani Madhan


Click. Clack. The sound of Michelle’s heels against the ground activated her car, the doors whooshing open. She climbed in and set her briefcase in the passenger seat as the vehicle automatically strapped her in.

Pulling out of the driveway, Michelle took a minute to admire the beauty of that Tuesday morning. It was a sunny day, the sky filled with puffy clouds and streaks left by commercial planes.

The young woman’s mind wandered as she drove, from the newest episode of her favorite TV show to her friends’ latest activities. I wonder what’s up with Sylvia, she mused at a red light, absentmindedly tapping her fingers against the steering wheel.

On cue, the car system displayed Sylvia’s latest posts on the windshield. Michelle, humming to herself, scrolled through them as she inched through the traffic. 

After what seemed like ages, she finally reached her office. The car parked itself in an empty spot and Michelle got out and headed towards the main entrance of the building. The automatic doors made way for her and she was greeted by the CEO’s face on a large, digital screen.

The company Michelle worked for was quite large. As she strutted through the glass building, she stopped to observe the self-involved world around her. Near one of the reception desks was a holographic directory of the office, a few people huddled around it in attempts to find their way around the winding halls and many staircases.

In the break room, people sat around small tables as robots spread cream cheese on their bagels for them. To keep themselves occupied while the robots carried out this tedious task, the employees either browsed social media or responded to their emails.

I should probably catch up on my emails too, Michelle reminded herself and pulled her phone out.

She was in the middle of replying to a client when a news notification popped up on her phone. “Our Personal Information Is Being Used Against Us: AI Impersonating Humans,” the title of the article read. What a joke, Michelle thought to herself. I doubt that would ever happen to anyone.

Michelle was pondering the sheer absurdity of the article when something large crashed into her shoulder. As Michelle looked up from her phone, she saw a tall man rushing off in a hurry, talking to someone through a headset and holding a stack of folders.

Michelle scoffed, a little offended that he hadn’t even stopped to apologize. God, people are so absorbed in technology these days, she barely thought before her phone dinged with a text and she rushed to respond.

After climbing up many flights of stairs, she finally reached her boss’ office. She stopped in front of the iris scanner, waiting impatiently for it to do its job. When it was finished, it turned green.

However, the usual voice that said “Good morning Ms. Cox” didn’t welcome her. Suddenly, an alarm started blaring and a red light on the ceiling started flashing vigorously. A cage dropped down from above and trapped her.

“Security will be with you shortly,” an authoritative voice boomed from a hidden speaker.

Michelle stood there quietly, paralyzed. In the seven years she had worked at this company, she had never experienced anything like this before. Gripping the metal bars of her tiny cell, Michelle felt her heart start to race. She was sweating profusely and the churning of her stomach made her uneasy.

Finally, security arrived. Two buff guards dressed in dark uniforms with buzz cuts strode towards Michelle, who was trapped in her cage. Following them was a lean woman, who carried herself in a poised manner.

Sleek brown hair tumbled down her shoulders and her striking blue eyes nearly penetrated through Michelle. Michelle recognized the woman’s gold necklace and the glare from the huge diamond ring on her finger. She also recognized the devious smile on her lips, as if some sort of master plan was falling into place. Everything about the woman was just so abnormally familiar.

Michelle’s mouth dropped to the floor. She was undeniably confused and flustered. There was one pressing question that was eating away at her conscience with each passing second. Why did this woman look exactly like her?

***

“Ms. Cox,” one of the guards spoke in his booming voice, addressing the woman behind him. “Care to explain what’s going on?” He then turned to Michelle who was nearly whimpering in her cell and raised an eyebrow.

“Well,” the other woman responded, looking Michelle up and down. “Clearly she’s an imposter.”

“W-what?” Michelle stuttered, unable to believe what she just heard. “No sir, you’ve got it all w-wrong,” she forced out, nearly choking on her own words.

Her heart thumped loudly in her chest, threatening to explode.

“See,” the other woman spoke. “If she wasn’t an imposter, she would have a clear mind and be able to respond properly. And the iris scanner didn’t malfunction for no reason.”

“No,” Michelle spoke from inside her cage. “That’s wrong. Please. Please g-give me a chance to explain-”

“That’s enough,” the other guard interrupted. He pressed a button on a remote at his waist and the cage lifted itself up and off Michelle. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of handcuffs. “Turn around, please.”

“No!” Michelle screamed, panicking. She tried to make a run for it but before she could even make it five steps, she was hit by a taser.

“Ow!” Michelle’s mirror image yelped a little as the taser grazed her. The guards apologized and she dismissed it.

Michelle felt everything start to numb and eventually toppled over, her body rigid. Her eyes kept fluttering, even though she desperately tried to keep them open. The last thing Michelle saw before everything went dark was the other woman glitch.

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