The Leg as a Sensory Organ: Toh TOH ENJOE
April 6, 2015
This is the third short story from author Toh EnJoe, imagining the future in 2036. The human body has not evolved along with the progress of technology. What kinds of choices will we have to make?
Work on the Move
A small wheel bicycle stopped in the entryway to the tea shop where I was waiting. The rider skillfully folded up the bicycle, carried it into the shop, and took a seat next to my table.
He sighed and explained, "I might actually spend more time moving around than I do getting work done. Though I have set it up so I can work while in transit." He pulled out a laptop. "We've got more ways of traveling, more ways of communicating, more ways of backing stuff up, more ways of setting up security…But we only have one body, and that's limiting. We're old media, I tell you."
He listed the names of several cities: Tokyo, Osaka, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Dubai, Mumbai. "I wouldn't know which house was mine without apps for managing shared resources," he griped. He explained that he and his friends shared their houses in each city. "It's cheaper than living in hotels."
"Of course, you can turn anything into data, as long as you can measure it. But there are lots of things where it's hard to tell which metrics you should use. So we have to meet in person. You want to see?" As he spoke, he turned the laptop screen around to face me and then drummed his fingers.
"So," said the man across the top of the screen, "we continue to meet in person to try to build a system where we don’t have to meet in person. Hmm." He glanced at the screen to check something. "So for you to come to THE ISLANDS, that'd be next week – oh yes, Tuesday, right?"
Unfolding his bicycle, he continued, "Traffic problems, starting with traffic jams, can't be solved just by increasing engine output. It might be that an unexpectedly low-tech solution is the most effective. For instance, planning out the terminology to use in negotiations and business arrangements."
As if noticing my gaze, his eyes turned to the additional bike seat attached in front of the regular bike seat.
"It's a child seat." Pointing toward his scheduler, he explained, "My next stop is picking up my kid from day care."