What if all this is a social experiment?

About the beginning of the automaton era

Published 17-05-2020 by David Rubio Vidal (@davidrv87)

The floodgates are open again. We are allowed to do certain things again.

We live in phases. But out of phase at the same time.

You can do this at this time“. “He can do that there“ “But she can’t do this other thing“.

What does this remind me of? Has this been seen before?


But it was given a different name and the measures and repercussions of not obeying the rules were tougher. Far from it, I’m not putting them in the same scale of values. But there is something that moves me inside and makes me compare them both.

Don’t want the reader fall into to the trap and label me as a mad person.

This could well be the plot of a science fiction novel. But, let’s together do the exercise of believing that this story is real.

Only for the duration of this post.

Let’s present the premises that, besides, are official and mandatory. Or they are imposed recommendations.

To my mind come things like: time slots; age ranges; only specific business that can open their doors; social distancing; the phases with their criteria to pass (or fail); the use of masks and/or gloves (today yes, tomorrow no and the day after yes (or no)); the (faked?) perception of political chaos; the standardised reporting of figures half way; the moment of the applause (or protest with pots and pans) at 8PM like a curfew.

There we have them. The premises.

The characters: those are simpler to identify. In this fictitious adventure they (we) are: the ones that command and the ones that obey.

The automata developers and the automata themselves, respectively.

The goal: control.

How can they be sure of achieving the goal? Through reporting and some premises (the applauses, for instance).

And the rebels? To the firing line. With fines.

How can they keep everyone under control? The Gestapo. With the state security forces.

It is curious to go out for a run and see in front of you a queue of people that walk on the right hand side.

One after the other. That look with suspicion to the one that passes close by.

But happy because they let them out.

Certain conditions have been met in the execution routine, allowing the source code to move forward and keep controlling the automata.

And the rest of people… well, the walk on the left hand side. Because it is time for that.

All goes swimmingly for those that have developed the system. But like in every (good) source code, there are unexpected problems. In software jargon, non predicted defects that make the system misbehave are known as bugs.

Bugs that in our particular story are the rebels. And, either you make them disappear in the firing line, which in the 21st century is ugly, or put procedures in place to mitigate them as much as possible.

We then see how the circle closes and how all premises, characters, goals and rebels are fundamental parts of the plot.

That all fits in place.

But orchestrating all this requires a lot of effort from a lot of people. There are many moving parts; parts that must fit with each other; a lot of preparation; much trial and error (SARS and MERS?). Until the perfect program comes to life with the allowed bugs. Until everything is ready for production.

To the laypersons, in software terms, ready for production means that a project has been fully tested, it is in a usable state and that it is deployed in a server to be used by the end customer.

Stepping away from our (fictitious) story, it could be the case that this is actually happening, but they managed to sell it to us perfectly (like many other things).

That this is nothing but another step or a part of something bigger.

That this is about the beginning of the automaton era.

That it is not really necessary that the famous cliché of “one day we will be controlled by machines we created ourselves“ is met to the letter.

That only we need to change the rules and no the characters.

That we are considered mere fools that can be controlled and reprogrammed.

That we won’t realise of it all until it is too late, and they have taken absolute control of us.

That we have to create a new character in this whole story: the resistance. And the ones that assume the role are those that maintain the evolutionary vestige of the memory. The ones that are able to remember how we lived before all this. The ones that still remember the taste and the feeling of that idea which we all desire and defend above all.


Freedom that has been taken away from us, which is administered using a dropper to keep us happy (and silence), despite the pots and pans.

While they control the dose, we open our mouths to stay healthy.

However, I warned the reader at the beginning, could all this be the plot of a science fiction novel.

That we had to live.

But science fiction after all.