Justice Across The DimensionsChapters List
Chapter 24: A Game of Prestige [20.2]
After a string of arrests involving criminal acts committed on minors, the unreal capabilities of the Patriot Kids device once again caused another furor.
This was caused by another display of miracles which was made possible only by Patriot Kids’ next-generation technology.
Only this time, it was different. Utterly different. No songs or applause of praise came this time, for people were beginning to think that Patriot Kids’ automatic recording function was a blatant intrusion of privacy.
“It is only me who feels that Patriot Kids’ abilities are way beyond acceptable standards?! If they can monitor every second of our lives and even record them, how different is this from spying?! How are we supposed to protect our own private lives?”
“The comment above said it best. I agree with what you said; this is definitely unacceptable. For starters, we don’t even know how it judges if we had committed a crime or not. What if an adult is only being warm to his children?! What if he’s only been more intimate to his own children? Does that constitute child abuse too?”
“There are times when seniors might be overly warm or cozy to their children, especially those that are older. But they have not even the slightest evil intention, only to love and dote on the children. How wrong is that? Does that mean I’ll have to expect Patriot One droids to be banging down my door anytime?”
“You’re right! Our rights to privacy need to be defended! We don’t want to be spied on on the pretense of protection! We want our freedom!”
The voices of dissent slowly added up. In spite of Patriot Kids’ undeniable good to keep children safe, more and more people felt that the Patriot Kids system was becoming too omniscient for everyone’s own good.
Especially so when a great number of those arrested were direct relations to the children, including grandparents, fathers, and even uncles too.
It was unthinkable to most people that such close relatives would ever commit anything so atrocious to the children. Among them were also some innocent misunderstandings of wrongful arrests which had hardly helped Patriot Kids’ case.
After all, the Patriot Kids system was nothing more than a machine working on mathematical algorithms without being able to process human factors. It could not fully justify that its decision would be correct one hundred percent and to those who had been wrongfully arrested, their temporary incarceration – no matter how short-lived it had been – had caused irreparable damage to their lives.
Cynics decrying the Patriot Kids system provided sound arguments and even produced an example in one of the most recent arrests: a teacher who had won only heaps of praises from his students and a regular winner of the Best Teacher Award. Even his friends and relatives all vouched for his character and literally, no one could believe that he had just tried to force himself on his stepdaughter.
As far as the man on the street was concerned, he was nothing if not a wronged man and if anyone – or more precisely, anything – was to be blamed, then it could only be the Patriot Kids system.
The Patriot Lites had enjoyed a great run with its groundbreaking features which had too easily eclipsed all other peers in the market by stifling their market share to the point of suffocation in the past year alone. Hence, any bad news about the Patriot Kids and by extension the Patriot Lites could have not been any more welcomed by other competing brands on the market like manna from Heaven. They began to band together and helped to keep the waves of criticism and condemnation rolling.
Before long, the entire cyberspace was swept into an all-out witchhunt of the Patriot Kids system, which bonfire was fueled by another recent dynamite: the Patriot Kids system triggered the arrest of a woman thought to had tried to molest a little girl, and that nearly drove the next-generation innovation over the edge.
“And can anyone tell me how is it possible that a woman can be sexually aroused by a little girl enough to molest her?! What a bloody joke!?”
“Hope Apex should’ve just focused on their abduction prevention feature! This is what they get from dabbling with power that they don’t understand! Serves them right!”
“Perhaps they think they can play Interpol after the arrest of a few human-traffickers. They think that they’re omnipotent enough to control our lives like puppeteers. Can’t say I’m feeling sorry for them.”
The more comments about the Patriot Kids system came, the nastier they got. Sales of every Patriot-related wearable and devices began to plummet that even the demand for the new Patriot Lite 2.0 began to suffer.
And the rest of the electronic brands on the market hardly hesitated to lay another jab at Hope Apex by advertising the tagline: Zero Infringement of User Privacy and Full Access to Freedom, using it to further quash the still-glowing embers of Patriot-related products.
Qi Wang was well aware of the pall of gloom now hanging over his company even as he was on holiday. His staff was very distraught by the rumors for it was unequivocally affecting their sales and they too agreed that the company should explain itself to the public or maybe consider discontinuing the real-time monitoring function of the system.
To everyone’s horror and surprise, the usually docile Qi Wang strangely rejected all suggestions from his staff very strongly and stubbornly and instead announced that he would be holding a press conference to address the accusations laid against Hope Apex Technology.
Everyone tried persuading him but still, no amount of words could sway Qi Wang from the decision. He refused to give in despite their pleas and eventually everyone gave up.
After all, Qi Wang was Hope Apex and Hope Apex was him; he held every share of the company’s stock, he came up with the core technology behind the Patriot Ones, Patriot Lites, and even Patriot Kids, and rumors had been swirling how he could be closely-linked to the government.
For now, whoever Qi Wang’s benefactor was, the staff of Hope Apex could only pray that he or she was strong enough to weather the onslaught of bad press now battering the reputation and image of the company.
The omnipotence and omniscience are like fire; in the right hands it could do much good and if not respected and feared appropriately, it could cause insurmountable damage. At any rate, every member of Qi Wang’s staff only hoped that Hope Apex could remain a longstanding beacon of pioneering technological advancement and not just the transitory passing of a comet.
As one of the country’s most leading scientists who had single-handedly elevated the nation’s science and technology to new heights, Qi Wang became a living legend uttered only with respect and awe in the corridors of all government research labs. Whatever he wished, so long as he was not breaking the law, the government would move mountains to see it done.
After all, all he requested was only a press conference to assume his public responsibility. That’s all.
His wish was their command; various apparatus immediately whirled into motion to arrange the press conference on his behalf without him lifting a finger. He only needed to be present that day.
Word of the event quickly reached the cyberspace in the heat of the miasma now lingering around Patriot-related products. That prompted every other manufacturer of other phone brands to quickly secure admission into the event.
More than three thousand people came for the press conference, filling the hall up to the gunnels with throngs of reporters and journalists who were exchanging furtive whispers with great anticipation of what Qi Wang would pull off to dispel all criticisms assailing him and his company.
Would he apologize and admit that his product was having problems or would he just discontinue the non-molestation function?
Excited and puzzled chatters buzzed all over the hall as everyone waited for the moment of showdown.
Ten minutes later, Qi Wang appeared, standing on the dais, and donned in a suit of silver-grey.
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A Game of Prestige is nearing an end, and hopefully, we’ll be able to usher in a new arc with roaring reception.
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