Friday 5 October 2012

A Blast From The Past, First

Going through the tiresome business of cleaning out the filing cabinet came upon a batch of papers I thought were long gone.  These were some that were published, this one in September, 1979, around a third of a century ago. 


The Chief frowned; half turned in his swivel chair and began to stroke the buttons.  The morning had begun and the attendance figures came up on the screens, followed by the analysis.  He paused and then let in the feeds on curriculum output.

The screens told him that no action at the centre was required.  The computer would instruct the Unit Learning Supervisor at each Curriculum Input Location, once called schools, of any deficiencies or action to be taken. 

The next job was to go through the Element Taxonomy and then to look at the topic schedules.  He made a few pencil notes and began tapping the buttons again.  The agenda and papers for Education Committee would feed out wherever needed.

The Department’s other officer came through at the Chief’s request.  “Well Jason.” Asked the Chief, “Is there anything to look at this morning?”.  “No Sir, came the reply, “All the mail was processable.” 

“Callers?” was the next query.  “No non-programmable entities,” Jason replied.  “O.K.” said the Chief, “We’ll do some checks.”  “Sorry Sir,” said Jason.  “I’ve another commitment.”  “What on earth is that?” the Chief snapped.

“I’ve promised to talk to Personnel about reconciling the teachers’ discs.”  The Chief stood up about to give voice, but Jason went on.  “You should have been told, Sir, the Treasurer’s new Siren-Hydra installation is to absorb Education.”  “Nonsense, rubbish,” shouted the Chief.”

“How can a computer deal with my Committee?”  “Sorry,” said Jason, dropping the word Sir, “this computer can be programmed to speak to any foreseeable question and has a spontaneous emotive reflex to deal with non-related abstractions.”

“You seem to know a lot,” parried the Chief.  “What happens to me?”  Jason replied:  “You have the privilege of a choice, either with the Green Environment Scheme,”  “You mean the sewage works,” said the Chief.  Jason continued, “Or the rest home for old teachers.”

“It must be the sewage works,” said the Chief.  “What about you?”  “I’m to join the Treasurer’s personal staff,” said Jason quietly.  The Chief stared, “It figures.  When does Siren-Hydra start?”  “It has done, you’ve been operating on a low level output for some time,” said Jason.  The Chief said nothing but simply picked up his few personal belongings.

The Treasurer was looking out of his window when the Chief went down the steps.  He beckoned the Legal Officer to him.  “Look,” he said.  “There goes the last of the Education Officers”.


How they all sneered, this kind of thing was impossible.

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