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Produced by publishers of The Popular Village Monthly



Frank walked down the embankment of the river for some time before turning right and through a passageway onto a curved avenue that led directly to his home. He did this every working day for the last thirty years deviating only occasionally on anniversaries or special occasions when he would call at the florist farther down the embankment.

His job was complex and stressful so he would use this time to relax his mind but, on many strolls home, his mind would still fever for solutions to the day’s problems before reaching his destination and before more tedious thoughts of domesticity engulfed him.


“We’ve found one!” the shout coming from a young security officer much to the consternation of his fellow employees, who’s envious eyes followed him as he hurried to his administrative chief. It wasn’t surprising to anyone that it was he who found one first. He had been working into the night when they were home and early in the morning before they had arrived.

Their task had been to find a suitable candidate for a project that was not fully explained but the remuneration attached was so large that the efficacy and ethics of the search was overlooked or merely ignored.

Since the introduction of CCTV surveillance, its use had proliferated into almost every corner of public life without any oversight. The culture that produced the idea that surveillance protected people or deterred criminal activity had evolved into predicting future events, bad or otherwise by analysing patterns in behaviour, patterns in where people visit, yet the current search, and the one that the young officer was excitedly referring to, was strange. They were not after ‘persons of interest’ they were after a certain type of person, a certain pattern that an individual would produce that was repetitive. It didn’t matter what the repetition was, just that it repeated as perfectly as it could be, given the vagaries of weather and extraneous events that may cause deflection.

The officer was duly rewarded but his questions of what his efforts would be used for were met with silence.


Olivia looked over the report she had just received and was quietly pleased. It was finally going to happen; she knew its consequences, but the concept was too important to miss. In any event, she was looking even farther into the future when its application could affect thousands of lives so one or even two, sacrifices was justifiable.


Mack knew his job only too well and was very efficient at it. The slip of paper with an address and name was all he needed. He was given other instructions not normal for his type of work, but it didn’t matter, the price was always better from them than any other, so he went to work. The target’s severed head was delivered intact and that was his job done.


“Tell me again why we are doing this?” the colonel said, bored by the need for him to be at these meetings, his interest was required by his superiors so here he was. Bombs and missiles, he understood this. AI rubbish made him want to kill something, usually the speaker. “Ok” Olivia said, the subject never ceasing her interest for the retelling. “The Pineal Gland, in between the two halves of the brain has long been known as the ‘Third Eye’, giving it supernatural qualities by cults down the ages, but we have found that extreme calcification of the gland caused by high-pressured brain activity, results in a repetitive nature for the subject but more importantly, a crystalline composition of the gland which can be used as a basis for a Neural Network far superior to the ones we can currently create artificially. I call it the Third AI. First came programmed AI, second AI was Artificial Neural networks, now third, this, organic AI,” she enthused, but it fell on deaf ears to the colonel.

“The subject we have found by analysing people’s behaviour, particularly when travelling, has an ideal crystalline calcification.”

“You’ve already got a specimen?” “Yes, in our lab.”

“So, you’ve extracted it…. No… I don’t want to know the detail… carry on, if you must.”

The colonel just wanted the basics; he had a golf-round later that day and didn’t want to miss it.

“Were about to install it into a computer array for a full year-long experiment.” “And what is it going to be doing?”

“It will be controlling the traffic in the largest city in the country!” she replied. “Oh, and how is this going to help defend our country?”

“This is a test, sir, it needs demonstrable proof before we put it, them, into more dangerous scenarios.”

“Ok, fine, do it. Let me know when you’ve completed your test.” “But sir… there is more.”

“That is enough for now, thank you for all your good work. I have another meeting to go to.”

The colonel left.


Frank continued to walk down the same embankment he had done so many times before. He wasn’t aware that he would never reach home nor ever attended work again. But now he had a strange fascination with traffic as it passed by and on the other side of the river. Its complexity interested him.


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