The HumanitAIrians

WELCOME TO THE FUTURE
A (W.T2.F.) Sunday Series

Short Story Time

As Andy blinks awake it takes him several seconds to remember where he is. He listens to the sounds of cicadas chirping and the morning chatter of birds in the trees above. He sits up, stretches, then crawls to the front of the tent to let in the first rays of sunshine.

Uganda, he reminds himself, he’s in Uganda for a few weeks to distribute AI devices and to teach about their functions in rural farming communities. It’s not the first technology these farmers have seen, and every time the HumanitAIrian organisation has introduced a new challenge, the locals have been eager to learn.

He groans as he remembers the countless arguments his team had with the organisation’s investors who had at first been wary the AI technology would be too advanced for the locals to understand, and that cultural superstitions of an “intelligent device” could damage the carefully fostered relations with them.

After a few trial runs the project was swiftly approved and these AIs were distributed across 60% of the programs agricultural projects. Only 40% of the projects comprised of the most remote of locations were yet to see the benefits of these humanitAIrian helpers.

It was especially difficult to get enough humanitarian workers out to these areas. Sometimes it would be due to location, and other times because of conflict in the area. Then, even at the refugee camps that bordered South Sudan, there was just not enough man power to get to everyone in need. Locals who volunteered to help would be trained to use the AIs to manage resources, facilities and just about everything in the camps.

As Andy steps outside, he’s just glad to be in this quiet rural community away from too much hustle and bustle. Here, the biggest issues are water supply, irrigation and soil quality. Once he has the AI set up and plants the transmitters in the field, the AI will be able to give the farmers immediate feedback on soil and water management, the best planting practice, tillage systems, irrigation and so much more that will help their farms flourish with the resources available. Data would also be collected and sent to the HumanitAIrian HQ for further analysis. Combined with information across all regions, this will allow for the most effective allocation of resources to areas with the greatest need.

Andy crosses the area from his tent to the makeshift office where for the next few hours he sets up the AI interface. Then, as the sun begins to wane, the locals gather and learn how to interact with AImy.

“It’s just like speaking to a person,” he says. One by one they greet AImy and long past sunset they listen to her describe to them new agricultural methods. Andy watches as they pause to listen carefully when she speaks, and put their hand up to ask questions. A little camera allows AImy to acknowledge this gesture so that a fluid conversation can be held when conversing with a group.

… One year later…

Andy returns to the rural village to report on the progress first hand. No one had guessed that the introduction of AI into these communities would create such positive change. With quick minds and an eagerness to learn, the community had long since moved on from learning about agriculture to learning about all other walks of life. They’d even requested for several other AI interfaces to be installed to be available for different purposes throughout the day.

At the school, some children were doing mathematics well beyond the difficulty expected for their age, and one woman had successfully published a book. The AI had helped her to contact the appropriate publishers and from there the book kicked off as one of the many phenomena resulting from the introduction of AI into these rural communities.

For the first time, Andy can see a not to distant future where extreme poverty is scarce. Suddenly, it seems possible. These new HumanitAIrians are set on a course that could disrupt worldwide inequality.

A (W.T2.F.) Series

By @scifiannemarie

*WTF: Welcome to the Future

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