The RoboTeacher - transient glimpses of a future society

Posted on: March 16, 2018 by Peter Kalmijn

His kids named him the RoboTeacher. In fact he earned his income as a 'Machine Learning Specialist'. But he still considered himself a 'Business Technologist', a description that nowadays was almost forgotten. He had grown tired of explaining it over and over again and eventually stuck to RoboTeacher. That was easier. The important thing was that he knew his roots and that brought him his deep understanding of machines, society and business.

Long ago he had started out earning his living by 'programming' machines. That was centuries ago actually. Things that would do the same thing repeatedly. These box-like things needed 'screens', a one-sided illuminating physical obstacle on a table that you sat in front of. Unthinkable now, as all-dimensional visual is commonplace. Youngsters would listen to his 'fantasy stories', only to start giggling at some point. The older ones thought of him as a lunatic when he talked about his past experience. So, he kept his past mostly to himself.

Things were different now. In the past, you actually did ‘go to work'. A place where you and others belonging to the same commercial interest group met every day. Resulting in troublesome travel and ecological waste on an enormous scale. Earning a living nowadays is about contributing and creating value. With holography the need to travel is in any case minimized. Only when working for a long time on one big project do people relocate. Leaving behind their community and social life. Integrating again deeply into another social community is never easy. He had experienced his fair share of that.


The ones called Nomads follow their work and their work projects. He saw himself as a Nomad, as he re-located every couple of years for another big project. His job: to teach the robots to cope with the ever-changing physical environment.

With the controls in his pocket, he slightly adjusted the warmth of its intelligent jacket and changed the color pattern to blend into the environment, so he would be left to his own thoughts and not be drawn into some casual conversation. He had no social roots left, he was a Nomad now.

Once in a while, he contemplated creating himself a robot-spouse. But even the most advanced modern robots would not fulfill his inner-most longings for companionship. And with a wry smile, in his mind passed a fleeting thought of the long forgotten 'film' called A Beautiful Mind. Only people with the best skills, income and the right connections could buy rejuvenation of their bodies. Gloomy and guilty he thought of his wife and soulmate whom he had seen aging and eventually die. He had loved her deeply, but she would not accompany him to the center and go through the unpleasant treatment. It reminded him of long ago when his mother had 'chemo'. She would have lived through now and would be probably his best friend.

He walked absent-mindedly through the tube of the bluish lit Transport-Transfer-Station and stood in front of the buy-wall. With three blinks of his eye, he silently bought some basics for spending an evening with a project colleague. With his face recognized and his account charged, the goods would be at the destination that was on his agenda. While not always flawless, this technology was very convenient. No hassle with the Taxi-pod as it would recognize you and your destination without interrupting a conversation or a train of thought. Privacy anyway was something from the past, he thought with a smile. And the Taxi-pod – or actually the decisioning software – would route the pod through the vertical farms, knowing his preferences and his pleasure in seeing the salads, tomatoes and other vegetables grow. He took pride in working on the intelligent decisioning and routing services, now used even in Taxi-pods. He knew it was being implemented in several vertical cities now. Each a highly balanced ecosystem on its own, connected through a fast hyperloop-pod system, arranging the individual Taxi-pods to a chain of pods shooting together to the next vertical city. Familiar with the intelligent decisioning algorithms, picking up the travelers just in time, routing through to the passenger routes. In his mind he smiled proudly every time he saw his contribution. It was good to see the Pods arriving and forming the Pod-Train effortlessly like zipping up your intelligent jacket.

Once he had arrived at his apartment, he switched on the transparency of the windows, revealing a splendid view over the natural environment, cleaned up over the years as humanity collectively realized the unbridled ecological waste of resources would, in the end, lead to their destruction. Quantum Intelligence had convinced the leaders and the common population gradually to give up their political quarrels. Everybody would have suffered in the end.


Grateful he smiled at his dog, coming to greet him. Some things fortunately don't change too much over time, he sighed. He loved his dog. And he was lucky to be able to afford his apartment with the small open-air lodge, as most people he knew could only afford the images projected on their walls. He really could feel the evening breeze and enjoy the natural scents and natural sounds drifting up from two thousand feet below. Well, that was not entirely true so he had managed to hook up a couple of sound-pickups through the hypernet into his own sound-wall in his open-air-lodge. But it did its job and really did impress people.

Silently, he waited for his project colleague to arrive with the soft hiss of the sliding door opening automatically after processing the facial recognition and the appointment in his schedule at this time

It would be a wonderful evening – with synthetic meat – and human company.

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About Peter Kalmijn
Business Engineer of the Digital Transformation and member of the Scientific Community
IT Consultant at Atos, Netherlands. Peter is a visual-spatial thinker with an international multi-cultural background. He has a special interest in IoT, Automated Decisioning, Enterprise Decision Management and Business Rules. And combines his interest in creative ways with over 30 years of IT experience gained with business- and software engineering. Peter authored various papers and articles and speaks at events. Additionally, he is lead-trainer of the Atos EDM related courses. He dedicates his time helping organizations with Digital Transformation. Peter is thought-leader of the Atos competence Business Information Analysis (BIA) and Guild Master of Atos "Enterprise Decision Management". He is a member of the Scientific Community and the Atos expert network with a focus on Model Driven Development, Business Information Analysis, Process Modelling, Decision Modeling and Automated Decisioning.

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