The Known Future – Oivas’ Entry


About the Contest

This story is for participation in @bananafish and @calluna’s “Tell a Story to Me” contest. If you choose to participate, you can get started here:

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Prompt

I am looking for a fictional story set in a world where people are able to make fairly accurate predictions 24-72 hours into the future. 

I want to hear a story set in a world where are people able to check roughly what will happen in the next 24 - 72 hours. Predictions could be made through science, technology, supernatural or any other means. It could be something everyone could access, or something that is only available to (or even through) certain people. How much people use this, and how reliable the predictions are is up to you, I have specified fairly reliable as a guide but you could equally have them as completely accurate predictions of events to come, or more as predictions of possibilities, whatever works best for you. This states 24-72 hours so you can choose a more specific window of prediction with in that, you could have predictions being made just one day ahead, all three days, or somewhere in between. I would like a fictional story featuring fairly reliable predictions about the near future. The perspective you chose and the story you tell is entirely up to you, this could be the focus of your story, or it can be the background setting in which your story plays out, you know I love prompt pushing interpretation, so let your imagination run wild! 

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The Story

Remember those days when humans loosely called their predicting ability as ‘intuition’? Well, those intuition days are long gone. Today, there are ‘Intudictors’ – Intuition Predictors, inn short.  -----------------------------------------------******--------------------------------------------------

Mumbai, India | 2085

The pleasant sunlight streamed through the trees and found its way through the windows of the Shastri’s residence. The cool breeze and warm sunlight were thawing the previous night’s slumber and bringing the Mumbaites up to speed with the new day.  

Dr Shastri though was already awake and watering the plants in the garden. The pleasant day was further accentuated by the colourful flowers brushing against the wind and spreading their fragrance. Dr Shastri preferred the early morning starts to life, which usually included zero human disturbance and only the hustle and bustle of nature; and this was one hustle and bustle which rejuvenated the soul. 

If Dr Shastri was an early bird, so was his daughter, Chaya. “Dad, you said you would help me in my project,” Chaya protested. The seventeen-year-old appeared a lot younger than she was yet smart enough to be categorized as a nerd. 

“Yes, I did, but you never asked after that,” Dr Shastri said. 

“But you didn’t call me.” 

“Now, don’t expect me to spoon feed you,” Dr Shastri said, “if it is so important to you, then you should get me from whatever I am doing.” 

“Well, the ‘Intudictor’s’ output said that you would be helping me today. So, why would I try otherwise?” Chaya laid out her case.

Dr Shastri was stumped for a moment. These were few flip-sides of the Intudictor according to him. Once the prediction came out, nobody tried challenging it or trying to get things done faster. In fact, the Intudictor’s output was considered an oracle and challenging it was next to unimaginable. “Fine, what do you need?” 

“Sharad and I are working on the Intudictor and its benefits to the global society.” 

“So?” 

“So, you are going to tell me everything about it,” Chaya smiled. Just then, the doorbell rang. Chaya opened and welcomed Sharad. “Come on in. We were just about starting on the Intudictor.” 

“Slow down, young lady. I still don’t spoon feed,” Dr Shastri was clear on his principles. Sharad smiled. “Hello, Sharad.” 

“Hello, Sir.” 

“Oh, come on, papa!” 

Dr Shastri ignored the protest. “Here is my offer. You can visit the Mumbai Intudictor to learn about it yourselves. I will take you there today. However, I will help you’ll with its history on the way.

Dr Shastri was the Chief of the Mumbai Intudictor. Mumbai Intudictor was one of the three that were built around the world. The other two were in Greece and Mexico. 

All three got in the doctor’s Merc GLS AMG, which he preferred to drive himself. 

“Alright, let’s dive into the history of the Intudictor. In the year 2025, Dr Andrei was studying a new type of weapon for the Russian military. As we now know, he ended up inventing something more novel. The genesis was the need to find a way to control the enemy’s mind and then conquer them. For this, Dr Andrei travelled to Tibet, India and many other places to understand the human mind better.” 

“Tibet and India were the game changers, weren’t they?” Sharad smiled. He was a smart kid, and Dr Shastri liked him. There was no pretence or a false sense of pride and bravado. A simple, good looking kid with a human slaying smile, is how he described Sharad. 

“Yes, Sharad. The Tibetan monks and Sadhus in India fascinated Dr Andrei. His study changed course once he understood how much emphasis the monks and sadhus alike gave to intuition or divine direction. He realized that divine direction or otherwise, they could still use science to make the intuition a foolproof way of predicting the future.” 

>

“How come being a Russian invention, the Intudictor does not find a place in Russia?” 

“Good question, Chaya. You see, the regime back then was not impressed with the direction Dr Andrei’s study took. He was after all required to make a potent weapon, but he continued to do something for humanity, a choice which antagonised the regime. So, as we now know, the first Indudictor was set up in Greece.”

“Hmm, interestingly, neither is it in the U.S,” Chaya opined. 

“True. But now the world has moved on from enmity and one-uppance to more of bonhomie. This transformation could be attributed to the Intudictor.” 

“So, tell us how it works. In detail.” 

“Not in detail. An overview,” Dr Shastri said, sticking close to his principles, “but you can learn more about it by yourselves.” 

“Okay, an overview then,” Chaya relented. 

“The Intudictor works on the principle of scanning our brain-waves and making accurate predictions of the future. It can predict what can happen 48 hours from now if you wish to know. But the question was, how do we scan the minds of 7.5 billion people?” 

“Telecom towers and 5G.” 

“Looks like you have done your homework, Sharad. Good. Yes, all across the world, 5G and 4G telecom towers were already in place, and they were the carriers of the microwave signal. They were tweaked to be able to pick up the small electric impulses from our brain and transmit to the Intudictor. After that, anyone, who would want to know the future can send a query to the Intudictor from their mobile app, and it will send the prediction of the future back on the person’s mobile. As simple as that.”

“But how does it work on 7.5 billion people’s millions of thoughts per second?” Chaya asked. 

“That’s where another one of Dr Andrei’s brilliance came to play. He realized that not all of the thoughts we have needs to be processed by the Intudictor. It will just process the thought of which I need to know the future outcome. For example, I want to know if I will be driving the Merc day after tomorrow, which is 48 hours from now, but it is not important to me. At the same time, the thought itself has reached the Intudictor, but the Intudictor will not find out the outcome unless I ask for it through my mobile application.” 

“Wow, so while it can take in billions or even trillions of thoughts per second, it will have to work on just few million outcomes, basis the person or persons asking it,” Sharad concluded. 

“Precisely. That way, it does not have to overload. Besides, there are three Intudictors for three regions anyway. Mumbai one for Asia-Pacific, Greece one for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Mexico one for the Americas.” 

“Was Dr Andrei not wanting to start the Intudictor?” 

“Well, that is called as the ‘Andrei Paradox’. After all the good work, he did not want to start the Intudictor. We don’t know why,” Dr Shastri said. “Anyway, we have reached, and Dr Venkat will take you through the place.” 

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Mumbai Intudictor, India | 2085

Chaya had visited the Intudictor many times with her father earlier. However, this was the first time she looked at it closely. The actual Intudictor was a tower-like structure which appeared inverted in the middle forming an hourglass-like shape. It was covered on the four sides by a concrete building housing the Intudictor operators and acted as a protective layer for the Intudictor. As such, the Intudictor cannot be seen from the outside and was more than fifty storeys tall. 

Dr Venkat met up with Chaya and Sharad on the second floor. The constant ‘whirr’ noise was a bit distracting. It appeared that Dr Venkat was oblivious to the sound of it or maybe, he just got used to it. 

“You must be Chaya,” Dr Venkat, a man with a dusky complexion and a big smile, walked towards them, “and you must be Sharad.” 

“Hello, Dr Venkat, dad told me a lot about you,” Chaya smiled. Dr Venkat’s smile grew bigger.  

“So, tell me, what do you want to know? Dr Shastri was clear – no spoon-feeding.” 

“Damn, papa told the whole office,” Chaya retorted to Sharad.

“Right, we have some questions, maybe we can go through them first,” Sharad said, ignoring Chaya’s below the breath comment. 

“Okay, shoot.” 

Chaya took the paper and started reading out. “When more than two people have the same thought and same question, how does the Intudictor resolve it?” 

“Good question. Look, the Intudictor, as the name indicates, takes your intuition, measures its strength and projects it into the future. So, it takes the stronger intuition and makes that the future. So, for a particular query, the strongest intuition is taken as the one forming the future.” 

“Wooahh, that was heavy,” Sharad said.  

“Okay, let’s take an example. You both have appeared for the exam, and if Chaya believes she would come first, but Sharad does not, then it will take the stronger intuition, which is yours Chaya, and project it into the future.” 

“So, anyone who checks the status of the result, it will show Chaya getting the first place,” Sharad completed. 

“Exactly. Now apply that to every area of your life and the varied life situations, and you can imagine the work that the Intudictor does. From an army man wanting to know the situation in 48 hours to a doctor attempting a difficult surgery to a country’s premier wanting to make an important announcement, everything is covered.

The enormity of the Intudictor’s operations was indeed overwhelming, and to multiply that with 7.5 billion people and their numerous thoughts per second was mind-boggling. Dr Venkat answered many more questions that were put across to him until there were no more questions left. Sharad, however, was pensive and was contrasting the exuberant mood that Chaya was exhibiting.  

“Thank you, Dr Venkat,” Chaya said, and Sharad snapped out of his trance to thank too. 

Dr Venkat then led the two to Dr Shastri’s office and left them there. They were told that Dr Shastri was in a meeting and would return soon. 

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Dr Shastri’s Office | Mumbai, Intudictor

Dr Shastri’s office was one of the most well-organised places that Sharad had seen. The closed room could still not keep out the constant whirr from the Intudictor. The air-conditioner was doing its job, but Sharad was yo-yo-ing between admiration for the impeccable office to the apprehension about what he learnt about the Intudictor. While the mental turmoil continued the door opened in haste only to let in an even hastier Dr Shastri. 

“Bad news, guys. There’s going to be a war. We will have to leave now,” Dr Shastri said.

“War? We haven’t had one since the Intudictor. What changed?” Chaya was surprised.  

“Let me guess,” Sharad said, “one of the countries checked if they could win a war and they realized they could and hence waging one.” 

That stopped Dr Shastri on his tracks. “How did you??” 

“You mean, he is right?” Chaya surprise reached the next zenith. 

“Yes, it is between two South American countries, after one of them checked with the Mexico Intudictor and initiated the war. We have the logs. But how did Sharad know this? It is not even in the news.” 

“That’s because I think there is a flaw in the working of the Intudictor,” Sharad shot back. 

For a moment, Dr Shastri’s countenance let off the fascination and gripped anger in a jiffy. He disliked anyone negatively commenting about his job or his place of work. Sharad noticed it and backed off physically. But with every passing second, Dr Shastri allowed his mind and the kid’s logic takeover. He mellowed down, ironing out the frown on his forehead, but the recently flustered face remained red. “What do you mean?” 

“Dr Venkat gave an example, which makes me believe that there could be something wrong in its working. Maybe, that’s why Dr Andrei did not want it to be started.”

“Son, explain, and explain everything,” Dr Shastri could not negate the fact that the kid got it right about the war and now it appeared that he had a hypothesis about why Dr Andrei did not want to start the Intudictor. The offended Dr Shastri gave way to the scientist in him. 

“You see if Chaya and I were preparing for a table-tennis match 48 hours from now, and if Chaya was practised and ready, she would fancy winning against me. However, If the Intudictor was asked at that point, the chances are that it would predict Chaya winning. However, the next day I practice and get my game up, and I am equally confident of winning the next day, but when I check with the Intudictor…”

“It will still say that I will win because it does not change its prediction,” Chaya completed. “He is right, papa.” 

“So, the world assumes and gives into the prediction without challenging it. That is the same thing that is giving the South American country the confidence to go to war,” Dr Shastri said while getting his mobile from his trouser pocket, “The war may or may not end depending on the preparation of the other country. Kids you go home. I have some work to do.”

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Epilogue

“Sharad, you bugger, you have been nominated for Noble Peace Prize, Padma Vibushan, and ten other awards worldwide,” Chaya smiled while welcoming her friend inside. 

“Yeah, I am nervous.” 

“Don’t be. You deserve it,” Dr Shastri said. 

“So, how did the war stop?” Sharad asked. 

“To cut a long story short, I called up the UN and told them about our findings and the fact that both South American country would end up annihilating each other without either winning. That’s it. The UN did the rest.” 

“Are the Intudictors history then?” Chaya asked, leaning her elbow over her papa’s shoulder who was sitting on a chair. 

“Not really. It is going to be improved. The prediction part of the Intudictor still works well; however, it requires to become dynamic in its prediction. That means, it will now not just predict 48 hours in advance without rechecking, but will dynamically keep checking each time a person asks for prediction.” 

“Would that mean now we can check even one hour before the outcome as opposed to 48 hours before,” Sharad asked. 

“Correct, but the only constraint is the upper limit. You can check from 72 hours to 1 minute before an event,” Dr Shastri said. “And that also explains why Andrei did not want to start the Intudictor back then.” 

“Phew, but we at least stopped a war!” Chaya said. 

“True. Also, talking of war, the Intudictor will offer no output for queries on war, conflict, fights, and other such keywords.” 

“Ah, that should allow the world to stay peaceful,” Sharad said.  

Dr Shastri was proud of his assessment of Sharad. He was indeed a simple, good looking kid with a human slaying smile, but now the world knew that he was one of the smartest around. “Yes, Sharad. For sure and for long!”   

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Image Courtesy: Johnhain @Pixabay  


Comments 7


Hello @bananafish, I do not intend to participate in the last contest. I was late and would be unfair to other participants. I just put it out since the story was ready. 😊

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22.08.2019 13:06
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It is late, but we have always accepted late entries in Tell A Story, and I am so glad you made it! You have a disadvantage in the voting for being late, as some votes were already cast, so in that sense it levels the playing field ;) and I am so happy I got to read it anyway <3

I love how you just give me such a different setting and perspective in each round. Telling this through the eyes of youth learning eagerly is such a wonderful mechanism to convey the story, you provide so much information without the reader feeling like they have slipped out of show and into tell. I love the word! Intudictors, a brilliant little detail. The premise, this machine predicting the future based on how strongly someone believes it will come into fruition and peoples acceptance of that. There is a wonderful element in here about the wisdom of youth, and new eyes, and how something can be overlooked by those who are wading through the details every day, and seem so obvious to someone from the outside. It gives the story a deeper level, becoming a story about perseverance. I really love that you keep it in prompt, and the characters find a better way to make the most of the predictions without being ruled by them. The idea that the future is in a constant state of flux, that people can both know it and change it is a brilliant way to end this, and of course with war averted. I love your final paragraph, bringing it back round. This is a wonderfully complete story, it was a pleasure to read. Thank you <3

29.08.2019 12:13
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Hey @bananafish, thank you for going through the post, although I made it a point not to submit it.. But thanks again! 😊

Glad you enjoyed the story.

29.08.2019 14:37
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I did realize, (although you've blown my tag monitoring for entries secret ;) lol) and I didn't count it on the main judging, but it was such a pleasure to read, and I was struck with a few thoughts about it over the last week, how could I not leave a comment! <3

29.08.2019 15:08
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Ahhh, thank you my dearest @bananafish!! :) :)

Hugs and kisses and much much more... (did I go overboard?)

29.08.2019 15:37
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I'm having trouble figuring out if I would like living in the world you created here unless, of course. I could have me one of those machines then I think I'd be doing alright.

25.08.2019 00:54
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Hmm.. I agree, too. Just imagine.. Such a predictable future..😁 😁

25.08.2019 02:49
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