2061 Hyper-Resistant Bacteria. Hyderabad/Indien.
A range of samples from waste-water lakes of pharmaceutical production northeast of Hyderabad, India.
It is the deadliest cocktail of aggressive highly resistant germs that has ever existed, the so-called *Doomsday Cocktail*.
By the middle of the century, 10 million die from multi-resistant germs every year. In the meantime, aggressive bacteria appear that are resistant to any kind of last-resort antibiotics. Excessive use of antibiotics in medicine is a major driving force of this development. The problem is that in many countries even for small infections highly effective broad-spectrum antibiotics of the latest generation are administered. These antibiotics should be reserved as drugs of last resort. However, pharmaceutical companies are keen on selling these products to get a good return on their investment. Doctors want to do their best to cure diseases and patients often prefer better, newer, and stronger drugs for themselves. Even though this causes problems for all of humanity in the long run.
Industrial meat production has also played its part. The standard use of antibiotics as a supplement to farm animal feed serves as a training ground where microbes can optimize their resistances over many decades. Particularly spectacular are unintended breeder reactors of the pharmaceutical industry: stagnant waters where wastewater is discharged. Environmental standards are low in India and China, where a large part of the world's antibiotics is produced. So uncleared production residues are discharged into rivers and lakes in many places. There, antibiotics accumulate.
The lakes northeast of Hyderabad is one such region where bodies of water have not had a natural outlet for 30 years. The amount of rain has decreased due to climate change. The water levels are too low. Therefore, the water seeps away or evaporates. In some areas this has been going on for 40 years. There are bodies of waters with huge concentrations of all kinds of antibiotics that can only be produced in a laboratory.
This would not be a problem, because theoretically, the antibiotics kill all microbes. There is no life possible. In fact, individual microbes survive and develop resistances through natural selection. These microbes continue to mutate and multiply. This is the well-known process of developing resistances. The development is becoming dramatic because the concentration of antibiotics has continued to rise over the past 40 years. As the water evaporates, the antibiotics remain. New wastewater comes in and leaves residues behind when it evaporates. This unwanted slow increase of antibiotic exposure over decades has been ideal for breeding super bacteria. Incurable germs that, if released in a big city, would trigger a rapid global pandemic.
Some particularly dangerous lakes have now been covered by concrete domes so that the microbes are not spread by birds, insects, or other animals. Unfortunately, with limited resources the authorities were forced to focus on the worst cases. The WHO took countless samples of contaminated water and soil.
Samples with most dangerous microbes living despite the highest concentrations of antibiotics are stored in a high-security laboratory of the IEIS (India Epidemic Intelligence Service): the doomsday cocktail.
2071 Delivery Bot. Recife/Brasil..
A short-range mail delivery robot from Electrobras/Brazil: the Velocista SR703-S/I with interaction function and 10 kg load capacity.
The robot is about one meter high. It has a 30x30 cm platform for delivery. Underneath there is a small cuboid body with a control unit, battery and three multi-functional articulated arms. Its two 80 cm long legs end in the usual sensor/actuator tripods. The arms are supposed to hold the package on the platform. They can also press buttons, communicate via audio, push door handles, and remove obstacles.
Everybody is used to online shopping. Virtual reality and immersion make visiting physical stores largely unnecessary. Even everyday purchases, such as groceries, are done online. This has led to a strong increase in individual parcel shipments. On average, each apartment unit receives 5.3 deliveries daily. Hence, a city of one million inhabitants has several million deliveries every day, one billion per year. Such a high volume allows for optimizations unknown in the past. Synergy effects make shipping cheaper. For most goods shipping costs are included.
The last 10 meters is the biggest cost factor. A driver who gets out of his van, picks up a package, rings the doorbell, waits, walks up the stairs and finally hands over the package needs several minutes for each delivery. This is not affordable. That is why the delivery of the last 10 meters has been automated by robots.
Today, no human walks up to the apartment door anymore. This part has been taken over by short-distance delivery bots. A parcel transporter drives stop front of an apartment building. A swarm of delivery bots jumps out each balancing a package on its platform. The bots run to the front door, ring the bell, or use the supplier code of the locking system to enter. Then they sprint up the stairs to the apartment door. On their way they read door signs and barcodes and electronic signaling devices. In modern residential complexes the bots push their parcel through the supplier flap. In old fashioned apartments, they interact audiovisually with the recipient or leave the package with their neighbors.
After delivering their packages, the bots run back to the vehicle. They hook up to the power supply and fetch the package for the next stop.
2081 Coding-Kit. Tiblis/Georgia..
The programming and data devices of Zaza Wachtang, her coding kit.
Everything she needed to program electronic devices without networks: energy, data, and compute.
Before the crash, Zaza Wachtang was a systems integrator for individualized consumer electronics appliances. She designed devices according to her customers' requirements. She assembled systems programming or configuring their components. SmartHome or Quadcopter, Pedelec-Sharing or ThermoMax, all appliances contain electronics. They have speech recognition and gesture control, sensors and data processing, cloud connection and power supply, in ever new arrangements and configurations. Zaza Wachtang was specialized in outdoor and off-grid appliances. She built systems that worked without ubiquitous data and compute networks.
Then came the crash.
All networks failed.
Not just electricity, water, and mobile networks. Even computing was no longer available because compute power came primarily from the cloud. Being stored online all data was lost. Voice controlled devices could no longer be operated. Even switching to local gesture control left users without their situation-aware knowledge navigator, which used to rummage the knowledge of the world on its own.
At some point it became clear that the crisis would last longer. One year after the crash, there were still no networks. Normal everyday devices were not usable, not even with an improvised power supply, because everything had relied on networks and online services. Some refrigerators did not work because they used cloud components for control or simply because they contacted the manufacturer to renew the license while trying to boot up (keyword: Kitchen on Demand). Modern bicycles did not brake anymore because no cables have been used by the bike industry since the drive-by-wireless trend of the 2060s. Pay-as-you-go rental bikes would not work without their servers anyway.
Luckily, Wachtang had the experience and the equipment to run IT without online networks. So she was able to repair appliances. Some of them could be reprogrammed. For others, she simulated a network and servers. Zaza Wachtang got things going again. Word got around.
A year after the crash, she was running the ROBOit IT-repair center. Her team not only repaired equipment, but also preserved IT hardware, hardware designs, software, and source codes. By preserving the ROBOit knowledge base and by accumulating infrastructure around ROBOit, she contributed decisively to overcoming the crisis in the Caucasus region.
Zaza worked with this equipment:
- A DIN A4 ePaper Display, sandwiched between a transparent foil and a solid plastic sheet. Actually ePaper can be folded and rolled. However, every device that is still working is highly valuable since there are no more spare parts. Trying to minimize wear and tear bending the ePaper must be avoided at all cost. So people also dispense with multitouch in order to protect the paper. A gesture scanner is mounted at the edges of the paper instead.
- Several multi-functional networking hubs: small boxes that can connect all electronic parts with so called net-threads. A hub can connect display, storage, compute, grok, network, and input devices. It can communicate wirelessly. This was the standard operating mode before the crash. But since there is no ubiquitous power supply anymore, wired operation is more practical, because net-threads carry not only data but also power.
- A memory bank with all of mankind's public knowledge from before the crash and also lots of free space. The data is now worth its weight in gold, as it includes operating instructions, circuit diagrams, and software needed for repairs.
- A compute cube for classical numerical data processing with 2,000 k CPUs of 10 Tops each. Local computing power is rather unusual in the consumer sector. The cube comes from a scientific institute. It has an 8 x 8 net-thread array for fast local storage.
- A professional grokker: neural network hardware for cognition-oriented tasks such as speech recognition, data segmentation, problem classification and automatic modeling. This is a rare item from a data center of a former cloud service provider in Baku.
- A commercially available hardware firewall. The firewall contains specialized compute and grok elements that perform simulation-based analysis to detect aggressive traffic. This is an absolute necessity because all devices are contaminated with web life. Though most of these virtual life forms are harmless. Immune systems or not, you do not want any of them on your private devices.
- Power bank plus charging crank, an old but robust Nanotube capacitor battery with enough power to supply all components for a fortnight of typical consumer tasks: a mix of network research, media usage, game simulation, voice recognition, and text comprehension.
- A 50-year-old mechanical one-hand keyboard as fallback for the gesture scanner. The keyboard has a modern net-thread adapter interface.
- About 100 net-threads of different lengths, from 10 cm to 10 meters.
- An improvised net-thread splicer without the usual integrated 3D printer. The splicer joins recycled connectors instead of printing new connectors directly onto threads.
- Several 10 TB sticks, the standard for removable storage at the time. The sticks are small tubes, one centimeter long and two millimeters thick. They are just big enough to be handled easily. They are in fact network attached storage units integrated into a net-thread connector.