2709. What a party!
© Bruce Goodman 29 April 2023

Quite frankly it was extremely confusing. Siobhan and Paddy had invited everyone under the sun to their 25th wedding anniversary. It was one of those things, in this year of 2041, which rarely occurred. Few these days reached a 25th anniversary in anything. So it was particularly intriguing to attend such an event.

A large crowd (I guess it was about fifty people, but all crammed into an average house made it seem particularly large) had arrived to celebrate the occasion.

The trouble was in knowing who was real, who was some sort of artificial intelligence, who was a hologram, and who was an extra-terrestrial. The extra-terrestrials were easy enough to identify once you saw two of them. They seemed to have only the one model when it came for them to look like Earthlings. You’d think with their advanced technologies that they’d be able to assemble different looking models. But they seem stuck with the one template and so they all looked the same. Of course they weren’t real. Extra-terrestrials are renowned for staying at home and plotting a takeover, while they send robotic machinery to simulate their presence.

The Earth robots with artificial intelligence were difficult to tell until you spoke to them. They were rude and haughty. For example, I struck up a casual conversation with someone by simply saying “What a splendid occasion”, and I got such an insulting and foul-laced response that I knew I was talking to an AI.

The hologrammatic manifestations were perhaps the hardest to gauge. You knew quite quickly when you encountered one simply by a surreptitious peek at you mobile phone behaviour. Holograms seem to inflict phones with a wee bit of white noise. The difficulty lay not with identifying who was a hologram but with not knowing if there was a real person somewhere else on the planet actually manipulating the hologram like in real life, or if you were talking to a pre-recorded hologram that was set on repeat. Usually if you came back in about half an hour and they repeated the conversation then you could be pretty sure you were conversing with a machine.

By the end of the evening I had ascertained that I was the only human being celebrating the occasion. Not even Siobhan and Paddy were there. In fact I learnt from a robotic AI know-all that they’d split up about ten years earlier and this was all a charade. A farce. A façade.

It was quite disorienting at first. Before I left in my electric car I went out into the garage and switched off the house’s electricity mains and turned on the Cloud Blocker.

Ha! Ha! What a party! As far as I know all were stuck motionless at the party till the wee small hours.

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