Data was everywhere. The information explosion that occurred at the turn of the century involved humans manually entering information about discrete objects. There was a concept of meta-data, the information that surrounded a piece of data, but it was poorly understood and utilized.
With the advent of not just embedded technology but embedded technology that was connected to the network the amount of data recorded grew exponentially. Billions of humans were recording every single event that was seen or heard. Most of this, from intimate moments to mundane tasks was shared across the network.
Some of the things that were shared were amazingly valuable. Not only was the data itself clear, the meta-data had been carefully crafted to give it context and nuance.
Other bits of data were worthless. A random clip, audio or video sometimes both often only one, of an unknown object or place. No meta data, not even date or time let alone location.
Sorting through the junk had become a major industry. EmbEd Tech owned the largest data curation company in the world. It was called Data Curata a name which played on the antiquated Boston accent.
Taryn sat in her office on the 137th floor of the Frida K. Ross building and faced the window. She had been working at EmbEd Tech for just over two weeks and was completely immersed in what was supposed to be her signature project.
One of the good things about having a flawless memory was that rules and regulations were easier to follow. There were still gray areas of interpretation but “I didn’t know” was not an acceptable excuse anymore. It was also easy to document laws that were technically in effect but routinely violated.
As a result of the impact tech had on the legal system several laws were repealed and others were amended for clarity. When Embed Tech partnered with the department of education to require students to have the common core installed the legal system reacted.
Laws governing the use and abuse of embedded technology were written, passed and rewritten at a blistering pace. The struggle for power had nothing to do with tech and Conrad Ross carefully navigated both sides of the argument. EmbEd Tech would be a winner regardless of the outcome.
As a concession to driving the tech through the entire population the government agreed to protect those that showed a biological incompatibly. During the introduction of common core an incompatibility waiver was relatively easy to come by. Doctors would complete the exemption filing based on a simple request.
Once embedded technology reached a tipping point there were fewer requests for waivers. Eventually most people were distraught to learn that they had a biological incompatibility. After half a generation people without embedded technology were physically unable to have it installed.
The poor people who could not get tech were the ones that need protection. In an effort to show compassion in the age of raw, cold computing power the non-tech (NT) protection laws were some of the strongest on the books. Changing them was not going to be an easy task.
To make matters worse Taryn was also learning how to deal with offline data. She had taken one course on offline data in her days at The Groton School. Her learning facilitator open the course by saying ‘If you’re working with offline data you’re either doing something wrong or pursuing a hobby.’
From that opening the facilitator had gone on to lecture them about responsible meta-data practices and the importance of data provenance. When adding a new piece of data to the network your name would be associated with it forever. If you failed to explain where you received the data and why you added it criticism would follow you.
The drafts of the laws repealing protections for NT’s were handwritten on paper, most definitely off line. Some form of security also protected them, so that she physically could not record them. This made it difficult to think about them without being physically with them.
“Taryn.” Her father startled her.
“You startled me. Did you disable your proximity setting?” Taryn asked.
“Yes. Why are you still collecting data?” Conrad’s steel blue eyes were set in a hard glare.
“The NT protection laws are strong. I’m struggling to find a corollary for overruling them.” She answered.
“Our strength is data manipulation. Having facts does not make one intelligent. Interpreting and extrapolating from a data set is how we make progress.” He spoke to her like she was still a child.
“I understand that. However if we extrapolate from the wrong data we will arrive at the wrong results.” Taryn was not a push over.
“Sample and project. I’m positive that they taught you that approach in school. Why is it that you’ve only made one projection?” Conrad was acting clearly as her boss and not her father.
“Please don’t look through my work stream without telling me.” She was more concerned with his intrusion than his criticism.
“No one can parse through a protected work stream.” Conrad Ross turned and stepped away as silently and unannounced as he had entered.
Taryn forgot that she was no longer in the confines of school. At Groton they were required to keep their work streams open. Learning facilitators needed to access them to provide feedback and instruction. This was the second time that someone at EmbEd Tech had scanned her work stream.
In a quiet corner of Taryn’s office Conrad contacted Quentin James, a department head in the research and development department.
“I need a docent for Taryn. I would like you to start working with her immediately.” No greetings were exchanged.
“Does it have to be me?” Quentin was an established scientist, he was not interested in teaching a twenty year how to use her tech.
“She is the future CEO of this company, it is an honor to nurture her in the mastery of our capabilities.” Conrad wanted this to be a welcome assignment.
“I think that my son may be a better match. He also continues to amaze even me with his innovative uses of our technology.” Quentin was not lying, his son had made remarkable advancements with the use of tech.
“This is not some simple project for your boy to make a name for himself. I want professionalism and focus on results.” The CEO punctuated the word results.
“Of course not sir. I’ll let him know to expect contact from Taryn.” The head of R&D said with hopes of completing the communication.
“No. Send him up right now. There’s no point in delaying.” Conrad Ross instructed.
“He is offsite working on a project for our China partner. It’s a high margin service, I don’t think we should recall him.” Quentin knew the key factors in the way Conrad made decisions.
“Very well. Have him contact Taryn as soon as he is free.” The CEO terminated the communication without further remark.
He looked at his daughter with frustration. She held so much promise. Her IQ tested extremely high and her ability to focus was exceptional. The biggest challenge she faced was believing in herself.
There was no tech offering for self-confidence. Work had been done on glandular tech that controlled the way the human body created chemicals. Studies showed exactly what chemicals were needed to create various sensations but implementation proved difficult. Patients were not responsive to tests for confidence and other feelings with elements of thought involved.
“Your docent will be Logan James.” Conrad spoke to his daughter in flawless Mandarin.
Taryns auditory tech identified the language and dialect easily. She had not been prepared for the change from English though so her memory load of Mandarin was buried beneath her research.
“No.” She replied in English.
“It took you over a second to process that simple statement.” Conrad continued in Mandarin. “Not only do you require a docent for your work you require one for your social aptitude.”
Common social practice was to respond to conversation in the language of your elder. Taryn typically adhered to the practice except for where it involved her father and his petulant tests.
“I have no problems socially. Just because I don’t jump for your foolish tests does not mean I lack social aptitude.” Taryn dismissed her father with a wave of her hand.
“Do not believe you can dismiss me. Where are your friends? Where are the young men calling on a wealthy young woman? I cannot have you trying to run this corporation while hidden away in your office. This role requires a public face and we cannot have you behaving oddly.” This was not a parent concerned about their child, it was an investor worried about money.
“Dad you don’t even know me. What you said is not accurate or fair.” Taryn was genuinely hurt.
“I have data points on millions of girls your age. In fact I have tracked billions of young women with the exact same tech installation as you. Twenty-year-old girls from around the world are strikingly similar.” Conrad was confident in his analysis.
“This is why we need to pursue the bio connector. People can have similar tech loads and even experiences, but we are all different. With so many people having the same memory loads and the same basic capabilities creativity and individualism are vanishing.” Taryn revealed too much.
“Carry yourself in the manner expected of a CEO or find an alternative career path. Connecting with the docent will provide me with your answer. I’ll check on your progress tomorrow afternoon. Best of luck.” Conrad left the office and entered the elevator without providing a chance for response.
For the last ten years Taryn’s education evolved from advanced individual contributor to global business leader. Her fathers tactics were transparent and aggressive but she had to admit they were effective. If she did not become the CEO of EmbEd Tech her career options were limited. She was smart and connected but she brought baggage with her.