This isn’t looking good…
“Smart Assistance Minibots,” or SAMs as the advertising displays, are the newest product of Blyth Industries, shown off at the press conference this morning that I didn’t hear anything about.
I came back here to the Blyth section of the Atlanta Annual Tech Expo because of the absolutely villainous levels of suspicion its CEO Donald Blyth gave off when I met him last night. That dinner party at the Le Pêcher restaurant had many a moment that gave me pause, but seeing him flanked by bodyguards obviously hired out by Yuri Motokawa’s mercenary company, as well as that terrifying mohawked man, I am now a thousand percent certain that something terrible is in the works for this convention, and whatever it is, Blyth has to be behind it.
These new SAMs cement that for me. They’re tiny metallic robots, not automated enough to be given their own designation, but smart enough in one specific way– information searching.
Here, let me try it out with this display model.
“SAM,” I say, “tell me about Egypt.”
Its robotic, boyish voice answers, “Egypt, a country in Northern Africa, home to the Great Pyramids and the Suez Canal. What would you like to know?”
“What’s its population?”
“86 million people,” the SAM says.
“What was its population in 1965?”
“30 million people.”
And while this may have been a silly way to test it, the point is, these robots have massive databases of information that they can pull from almost immediately, almost as fast as Lamar.
And the Lamar connection scares me with the fact that we still don’t know exactly what kind of AI is connected to him, but also that this robot was one of the military hardware designs that Jones has posted on the research server we uncovered the other week.
…You see what I mean?
I’ve got to go report back to R8PR on everything I’ve found so far, because it’s a treasure trove.
It’s still the early afternoon, so I have plenty of time to get down south and contact him.
With all of the shit going down right now, is it really safe? Someone could be watching me right now, and that someone could be someone other than Marge. R8PR has all of his fancy anti-tracking technology down there at the abandoned church, but leading someone unscrupulous even in the general direction of his location might be really dangerous.
I’ll have to be really careful.
This convention is so crowded, though, that there may really not be anyone who can successfully track me. I can just slip into the bathroom or something, wait an excruciatingly long time in a stall, then walk out along with a bunch of other people at the same time. Even the most seasoned tracker would fail to recognize me, because of my hidden power: I am physically unremarkable! (As long as I cover up my beauty mark, that is.)
Rather than my dumb fantasies about fooling people, what am I ACTUALLY going to do to get out of here? The old “wander around an extra 2 hours and bore them to death” trick usually works, but I don’t want to spend any more time at this stupid tech expo. So I’m just going to risk it and keep my eyes open for any potential jerkwads.
I exit the Blyth Industries section of the tech expo and walk past the giant mecha still on display, and I still geek out about it because it means that the future is finally going to come and kick us all in the ass for taking so long. But I can’t stand and gawk at it again, so I go on by.
Then, I go by the seller booths, where Chuck Araragi sees me and gives a wave. I wave back, but also walk away at a brisk speed so that he doesn’t run up to me and try to start a conversation. Sorry, Chuck. I can’t do that today, either.
And now that I’m in the main hall, I see tens of thousands of people walking around, chatting, hanging out at the food court tables, but most of them slowly herding themselves over towards the conference hall, where the Seftali press conference is set to begin shortly. I have no interest in that, so I am just going to leave out the main entrance and–
There’s two men and two women standing there in front of me, all wearing suits, and three of them holstering swords on their backs.
The Blade Runners are in front of me. Their leader looks right at me.
I ball up my fists and prepare for a fight.