“Thank you for being Prime,” the impossibly-beautiful anime hologram stewardess says, as six-axis manipulators emerge from beneath the arm wrests and unbuckle my seatbelt, gently pushing me into the aisle. “Welcome to Mars; please quickly but calmly make your way to the jetway.” As I stumble into the spaceport, legs numb with gravity adjustment sickness, I trip over a trash-can.

The trash can blushes — pink lights in its undercarriage — and says “excuse me” before zipping away. I make my way toward the bathroom but the entrance is blocked by another machine who has helpfully brought me my suitcase (and is now using it to prevent another rushed-looking traveller from leaving). The man gives me a quick apologetic look, then savagely kicks my suitcase.

The urinal will not open its carapace to allow me to piss; it senses that my karma score is not high enough — a side effect of A short-lived dispute with a shady third-party seller in 1997. I urinate in a nearby (seemingly non-intelligent) trashcan instead. I notice that I am not the first; it will need to be emptied or overflow in about three flights.

Written by

Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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