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The Hysteria of Bodalís + The Return of the Operator

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Exercising with video games?

February 22, 2022

Peloton has released a new feature on their stationary bikes: gaming. Instead of pumping legs with a celebrity trainer, users can play a game and try and earn points for hitting specific targets.

From a tester: “I’m pedaling to hit specific beats, fill up breakers by pedaling furiously, or keep up a stream by maintaining a cadence, all the while using the bike’s resistance knob to switch between six lanes.”

If anyone has seen Black Mirror season one, episode 2, there’s a good chance you can guess where this story idea is headed. In the episode, members of society pedal on stationary bikes to earn credits.

But, instead of bikes (since it’s already been done before), let’s bring back a classic: the Wii Fitness. This game used the Wii Fitness Balance Board as the input.

In an interconnected future, super apps track everything from eating and exercise to spending habits. Even little things, like putting the cart back at a grocery store parking lot.

All of it goes into your society score, which affects your credit rating and how much you pay for insurance.

One man opts out of the system. Based on how he lives, he would have a very high society score, but he does everything without his phone/tracking device, so the state never knows.

His credit score tanks and his insurance costs skyrocket.

The story follows an investigator who works for the state. They’re responsible for looking into people who aren’t “playing the game” and figuring out what incentives can get them back on the right track.

His first case is a woman who spends all her money on porn, leaving very little for food and going into debt for significant expenses. The investigator reassigns her from her job as a personal trainer to a content creator to continue what she wants to do in a productive capacity.

The goal is optimization, not standardization.

His next case is the man who opted out of the system. He can’t communicate digitally since the man has gone off the grid. The investigator packs his bags and goes to the man’s address, finding him without issue.

The man lives the state’s ideal life, just untracked. The investigator begs and pleads with the man to opt back into the constant surveillance when he realizes there aren’t any incentives to accomplish the goal.

During his time in the small town, the investigator discovers that the community works together to help each other get positive scores. For example, young, healthy people exercise for those who can’t or don’t want to; in turn, they help the young people with their accumulated credits.

The man off the grid convinces the investigator to give untracked living a try, and he discovers an entire way of life he never knew existed.

There’s a honeymoon period when everything is going well that ends when the state sends a senior detective looking for the missing investigator.

The community is divided about helping the investigator, but the untracked man makes an impassioned plea and convinces them to help him escape.

The senior detective holds the entire community hostage until the investigator gives himself up. In the end, we see the investigator back at his desk in the government offices, working hard to help the untracked man and his community continue subverting the government.

Recent Posts from Latin American author Marcos Antonio Hernandez

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