the president


the president

Good morning.

783,692 people were reallocated yesterday. This should balance the equation.

Have a nice day!

The President

This is the message I read while sitting at my table eating my morning oatmeal. It is the most logical food to help fight against starvation. I like oatmeal, but a lot of my colleagues dislike it. The President says it doesn’t really matter what we eat, as long as we have enough to eat. I take my bowl and spoon to the dishwashing machine and turn it on. It is a new model that conserves water and recycles any of the food waste to be used by an energy burner.

I get into the shower. I don’t bother moving, the water just turns on automatically and sprays you in strategic locations. Then a soapy foam comes out and you have 10 seconds to wipe it around you. Then the water sprays in a strategic location again. This water spray was analyzed by complex AI systems, and it is 99.9% guaranteed to wash off any excess soap (though nowadays, the soap doesn’t cause irritation if left on).

I put on a suit. It is the same suit I wear every day. It covers my top and bottom in a professional way. Undergarments are also provided. Everything is comfortable and made from recycled synthetic materials that are also not damaging to the environment. Fashion is considered unnecessary at this point. Everyone wears the same thing.

The bell goes off and I realize that it is time to go. I go to open my door, and it opens into a long corridor. Other doors are also opening. These are my colleagues. I have been working with them for about 3 years. Re-election is coming up soon. We are especially worried about being re-elected with the famine issues. Unfortunately, the world just isn’t like it was when I was born.

At the age of 62, I am nice-looking and respectable. I know just how to wear my hair and glasses. Laser eye surgery was an option, but I haven’t had a prescription change for over 20 years. I still hold onto these old frames and lenses. I protect them and do my best to prolong their life. That is a good metaphor for my job.

In 2040, the world entered the extreme stages of global warming. Of course, some governments prepared and took the science seriously. America did not. American politics permeated all aspects of the culture. Ideas, thought, and education became political. Certain beliefs became political. Certain actions that weren’t political before became political. Your actions were dictated by which political sphere you walked in. Eventually, it wasn’t people who were voting for politicians, but politicians who were molding the thoughts of the people to match their interests.

I started to walk down the hallway, in single file behind the others. Some looked weary, others looked like they still had a bit of “American patriotism” in them. Most were without emotion. Everyone got the same email.

As temperatures rose, the fish in the oceans began to die out. Countries that depended on fishing went to deeper and more contested waters. War broke out in the South China Sea..

We walked into the meeting room and took our seats. It was a large round room, with enough seats for the 50 of us. We sat in desks facing each other, and each of us had our own screens as well as a microphone. These screens could pull up information or help us to communicate directly with other members by message. I saw I had a private message. “Can you believe it? I thought this was only supposed to happen once.” I didn’t respond. All messages were read by the President.

After 5 years, most of Asia, the shining beacon of the future, became a wasteland. Surviving nations closed their borders and depended on regional economic trade with their last surviving allies. Famine led to multiple diasporas. Ships filled with starving people entered and overflowed South Korea and Japan, taxing their resources.

An announcement was made. “Thank you for coming in today. All are present. As usual, a vote is held to see if any tweaks will be made. The floor is open for discussion.” Everyone began to speak and fight for their voices to be heard. “A tweak needs to be made!” Said the tweakers. “No tweaks, stay the course!” Said the non-tweakers. It was like this every day. Tweaks were uncommon.

Land that was capable of growing crops shrank while ocean water levels rose. This water perpetuated salination of lands along the coasts of North Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Europe. Refugees of the crisis fled to Central Asia and Europe. European countries built walls along their borders to slow immigration. Russia welcomed the new potential labor. Those who moved south and survived the trek across the Sahara met with violent hoarding of resources.

“Votes have been tallied. A tweak has been approved.” This made the room hush. Again, tweaks were uncommon. “A new vote will come up, tweak for mercy, or tweak for efficiency.” The floor again rose in volume. Everyone was screaming again. The emotional ones pushed for mercy. The logical ones pushed for efficiency.

In South America, populations along the border fled south. Chile and Argentina became unlikely allies and walled themselves off from the northern countries, dooming many, and forcing others north into Central America. Canada, Mexico, and America joined to make the North American Alliance and walled off any land south of Oaxaca. War ships were placed on all coasts to prevent immigrantion.

“The votes have been tallied. There will be mercy.” The merciful cheered and shook hands with the other mercifuls. The logical ones looked as though something terrible may happen. As though they were in a room full of fools. After the voting took place, the meeting was over. We all filed out. It lasted in total about 30 minutes.

By 2050, the global population had dropped to 8.2 billion people – a 33% drop due to famine, deadly weather patterns, and disease caused by global warming, ballooning populations, and increased CO2 production from unsustainable consumption. The air was almost unbreathable, and the summer temperatures were oppressive.

We returned to our rooms. Some of us looked tired, though there wasn’t much we did besides this. Of course, we met and socialized, but in terms of real importance, these votes were our lives. This is what the Congress did now.

For most Americans, there wasn’t much of a big change. They managed to keep their lifestyles, and went on believing that they lived in the best “country” in the world. But politics continued to divide the populace, and presidents continued to benefit from these problems. That is, until the big change.

After I went to the exercise room, I came back home and turned on my television and computer. I watched the news. More food was being handed out today. Lines as long as 6 miles were stretching outside of warehouses. Here, food was packaged. All food delivery and production was eventually controlled by one organization. This organization was nationalized, and food became politicized.

Illegal immigrants began streaming in over the walls and past the border patrols. Scientists said that the food would run out soon. The government decided to round up a large amount of these immigrants and place them outside the border. Some of the people placed outside were not immigrants. This created outrage, protests, and riots.

By 2048, AI was very advanced. It could make objective decisions that would benefit the greatest number. In 2052, overwhelmed by the climate emergency, the President transferred their power to AI, now the new President, with an executive order. Those in the opposition party were outraged. Those in the now former President’s party hadn’t realized yet that this was what they really wanted and felt conflicted.

The members of Congress sat on their beds at night, and thought again about how they could save more lives. Should they feed more today, or expel more to have more food tomorrow? Life had come down to these two outcomes. It came down to mercy or efficiency. The President would act in the way that it felt best, but it altered its behavior with these tweaks.

Good morning.

458,302 people starved to death yesterday. This should balance the equation.

Have a nice day!

The President