Having rubbed the gray stubble on his chin, Rick, sitting at the computer in his rickety chair, opened the third can of cheap beer and included the next issue of “Destructive auto-video”. Outside, a crimson evening sun was breaking into the house, imprinting on the wall a shadow from bent blinds and a trickle of melting summer air. The empty kitchen-living room froze in the darkness. The cars that participated in the survival race flickered on the screen — a figure-eight track with a ramp for jumping at the central intersection forced the participants to perform risky maneuvers: those who could not accelerate for a normal jump collapsed on the roofs of cars traveling across. The audience at the stadium and Rick at the monitor were waiting for a spectacular accident.
He watched and thought that such shows are now one of the few vents where a real driving drive has remained. After all, this happened ... so quietly, about the way some car models disappear from the roads. Suddenly, you look around and understand: there are no longer those buses that you used to drive during your school years, or some inexpensive passenger car that half of the students and office workers had ten years ago. Only this time, not the cars were lost, but the drivers.It seems to be not so long ago that the first peppy telecasts were reported on the introduction of unmanned vehicles on public roads. A couple of years ago, his neighbor on the street, who was always going somewhere to rest or to relatives with his wife and three children on his permanent minivan, sold it and said that it was safer to travel by autopilot. Earl's school friend, who had a workshop first and then a car rental, went broke and lost his job. Unmanned taxis so desperately shared the market with rental services, unless they themselves did not pay customers for the trip, and no one needed cars from small private owners. Here, handsome Edward got himself well: he used his charisma to become a limo driver. Under the guise of an expensive service for discerning customers, he continues to do what the soul lies to - dissecting the city while driving, satisfying your passion for stylish cars. However, Rick is a sin to complain - he also stayed with his beloved business, in time having received certification for the repair of unusual electric vehicles. The workshop near the house brings enough money, in addition, it remains the basis for his hobby - to restore old cars.
A sharp sound came from outside, causing Rick to flinch and turn around - a long, continuous, something between the ringing of those old home phones with a pipe from his childhood and the siren of a police car. The sound did not stop until Rick, swallowing from an unpleasant chill of fright, looked around for a source. Going out into the hallway, he froze for a second from the sight of a large black figure behind the curtained glass of the front door. But the sharp blue LEDs on a black silhouette and a silent artificial signal reassured him. The damn robot did not recognize the doorbell button, so it rings itself, as it can. Thank you, even though I didn’t knock on the door with my fist, tearing off the paint from it. But what does he need? He was waiting for the delivery of the ignition switch for his Caprice in 1995 a week later, and he would have been brought by a dog or a wheeled robot, and not an android.
The man abruptly opened the door outward, and the android obediently staggered back, letting the person exit. From the threshold he saw that not far off on the side of the road an impressive black autopilot truck was parked with a logo in the form of a silver letter “H”.
- Richard Dale Bennet. Hello, - said the android with uncertain, mechanical intonations. He lit a small bright diode, obviously for the convenience of face recognition by the camera. “I am a full-fledged representative of Hudsonbot.” Please confirm your consent to the processing of personal data.
In the pocket of his shorts, his smartphone flinched. Rick pulled it out and with two sharp movements of his thumb, he scrolled through the standard agreement, only for a moment looking away from the robot to digitally sign it. He did not like this dubious practice of “first agreement, then conversation,” but, like many, he believed in the replicated myth that it’s enough not to confirm your identity out loud under the camera. He only silently looked at the android.
“Thank you,” the android continued. “I, as a full-fledged representative of Hudsonbot.” I want to invite you to conclude a contract with us.
- What contract? - Rick was surprised, not going to talk to the robot at all. These words were a complete surprise to him.
- You can read it again. With the terms of the contract, - the android answered under the short buzz of a smartphone in his pocket. - Our business proposal, electronic contract, details of the business plan in the amount of three times. Monthly sent to your email. Adjusted for current economic conditions and forecasts. However, due to some circumstances, you did not open the letter. As can be seen by the absence of a positive or negative response to the script for opening the letter. Therefore, it was deemed appropriate to convey information personally.
“Describe briefly the essence of the proposal,” Rick said, and felt a little uncomfortable, as if he, likening himself to a robot, had turned on the conversation mode with the same dry and simple phrases.
- Richard Bennet, according to the IRS. You are a car master by occupation. According to the Ministry of Transport. You are the owner of the standard certified equipment of a car repair shop. And. A set of qualification certificates for the manufacture of metalwork and bodywork. For cars up to 119.9 cubic feet. Our Hudsonbot firm offers a buyback for your business. For the conversion of a production unit under our franchise. With a reward to you personally each month in the amount of 50% of the current profit. Given your previous taxation for this type of activity. For life.
- Stop stop. - Rick looked away, blinking, then stared at the android. - What is the franchise? Why do you need my workshop? Who wants to buy it?
- Our company is one of the automated robotic network companies created within the framework of the state program “AI-optimization of medium-sized businesses." We are sponsored by the state to conduct innovative business of increased productivity due to the lack of people in the structure of the company. All profits go to the further development of the company ...
Rick heard about it. It seems like business projects are appearing all over the country under the control of computer centers and with robots instead of employees. The state generously subsidizes these projects to get entire industries without people. Maintenance, cleaning, delivery, driving - everything is automated, because it is profitable. The salary of a robot is its timely repair, which is much cheaper than working with a worker to buy his house, car, children, insurance, trips to the resort ... Is everything logical, but so that the robots themselves come to people to buy out the business? Rick glanced at the black truck, which stood aside. Suddenly there are a dozen such robots, ready to break into his house?
- You see, I do not want. I am satisfied with my income and my work. I like to repair cars. And why will I sell the workshop to you? - exclaimed Rick, spreading his hands.
- According to market research. The franchise is known throughout the country. Branding will increase recognition. - Rick rolled his eyes, pursed his lips, but the robot, which responded to the question “why,” could not be stopped. - According to the Internal Revenue Service. You do not have employees. Robots can work around the clock, unlike you. According to the Ministry of Transport. It is planned to build an interstate exit and transport interchange 10 miles from you. Start of work within 8 months. Increase in car traffic at the end of work by an average of 27%. Given the increased efficiency of work by robots, geolocation and improved transport accessibility. Your workshop is a promising place. If you enter into a contract with Hudsonbot, your average monthly income will increase by an average of 57%. For life.
“Listen, robot,” Rick said impatiently. I understood everything and do not want to sell the workshop. This is my hobby, understand? I do this not only for money. Not just for income. I repair cars for myself! I like it, understand? No, you don’t understand! The conversation is over! - He turned his back to the android, opening the door of the house.
“Thank you, Mr. Bennet, and have a nice evening!” - came after him.
Having barely turned around and stepped to the truck, the android connected to the freelancer database, in a tenth of a second formed and sent an email. Rick was still watching after the car was driving away, when, fifty miles from him, the successful marketing psychologist David Sanders got up from the table after a family dinner, kissed his wife and went into his office for a working tablet. Sitting in the chair, he slowly read the last message.
Dear Mr. Sanders,
Hudsonbot needs your psychologist to help our future partner Mr. Bennett sign a contract with us. The client was informed of his prospects and benefits of the contract in personal communication with the android. The client expressed interest by wanting to get acquainted with the details of the agreement. But refused further communication and contracting. The neural network has registered an emotional reaction of rejection. Possible reasons: stress from interacting with robots, the traumatism of business alienation, loss of life prospects. A competent marketing and psychological approach to communicating information about mutual benefits to the client is required.
A business proposal, an electronic contract and the details of the business plan provided to Mr. Bennet, a video of communication with him (for possible psychological profiling and other tasks), as well as an agreement on the processing of personal data with the right of limited transfer to third parties, certified by his digital signature, are attached to this letter. Wishing
all the best and hoping for a successful collaboration,
the Hudsonbot Company was
already almost dark, and Rick, breathing deeply a little cool air, strode to the garage near the house where his workshop was located. Glancing nervously at the road, where a black truck with robots ready to take his workshop away was standing in an ominous form recently, he went inside.
“A promising place,” he snorted, shaking his head. The conversation with the android slightly inflated him with such an unexpected and uncompromising invasion of his quiet life.
In search of fresh batteries on the shelves, he froze for a minute and looked around the garage from the height of the stepladder on which he stood. The Caprice of 1995, which he was recovering a little, was already covered with dust, but the two Model A's standing next to them would not repair themselves - they should be delivered tomorrow night. On the other hand, what is there to repair? Enumerate the battery assembly in search of inoperative elements and make computer diagnostics of motor wheels? Really in our time, people even can not do this themselves?
“A promising place,” he repeated soundlessly, with his lips, removing a weighty box with pink batteries from a shelf.