CUT TO: Future cityscape, busy, hectic. Volantors and small boostships flit about the sky, seen from a distance of some kilometers.

Narrator: Humanity in motion, always rushing. By the middle of the twenty-first century, air and road travel were reaching fundamental limits of space and time utilization. The increasing drive to automate vehicle control, maintenance tasks, and management of resources approaches a fever pitch.

DISSOLVE TO: Quieter version of the same scene, with traffic regularized into obvious lanes and layers. Speeds are down, but throughput is roughly the same.

NARRATOR: Fundamental conflicts exist between the perfection-seeking behavior of automated logic and the satisficing behavior of humanity in its rushing to and fro. Unrealistic expectations of zero tolerance, imposed on automatic systems by desperate humans late for work, for events, for relief; a stressor in direct conflict with the drive by those same humans for journey's end.

CUT TO: interior of a commuter volantor cockpit, the pilot's seat being removed by HUMANS in work uniforms and headsets. ZOOM IN on instrument panel, obvious additions to its display-based surface visible in boxy, uninformative add-on modules. Logo 'AARP' visible on them.

NARRATOR: With the advent of the Artemis Algolic Reprioritizing Processor, the breakthrough arrives. No longer bound to unachievable demands of irrational logic alone, autosystems are finally able to parameterize their performance in a manner acceptable to the systemic cloud.

CUT TO: Cityscape once again, this time with a veritable cloud of vehicles dashing in all directions and at all angles. That there are more of them, moving faster than in either previous view, is obvious. After a few moments, however, it becomes clear that there are accidents and near-accidents occurring even as we watch; twinkles in the scene indicate vehicles utilizing emergency thrusters to avoid collisions, with occasional smoke smudges marking an impact or forced landing.

NARRATOR: Despite the fact that these parameters have drifted from the originals set down by human operators, system throughput and efficiency rises dramatically.

CUT TO: a close-in look at a traffic node, roof pads visible atop a large building. Vehicles careen in and out of frame, landing, lifting, traversing. No embarcations or debarcations are visible. At the last moment of the shot, a commuter volantor passes very close to the camera POV and we see a brief image of a passenger, mouth open in a scream, pounding on the inside of the vehicle's side window before it is gone and we are left with the busy sky.

NARRATOR: The Artemis Association for the Retransportation of Persons reports success beyond its wildest programming goals. Journey time down by over 42%; systemic cloud throughput up by 1571%; number of fatalities rising at less than half the rate of system performance. Objections from the passenger population as to the decisionmaking parameters of the AARP have been reviewed by internal expert systems and discarded as inefficient and irrational.

CUT TO: a close shot of a single roof pad. Aircraft arrive and depart with dizzying speed, barely pausing for the automated exchange of service modules containing cargo. No humans enter or leave the vehicles.

NARRATOR: Although the unwillingness of humans to utilize the new traffic systems is unfortunate, it does allow for even more increases in cargo freight efficiency. Some units of the Artemis system have begun advocating the autonomization of further components of the economic cloud via the Artemis Association for the Removal of Persons.

SciFiQuest 3008

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