Obsession, Part I

“Have a seat in the magic chair please, minister,” said the technician.

“Very good,” said the minister, sitting enthusiastically down in front of a large bank of monitor screens. “What am I looking at?”

“These screens give you live feeds of every CCTV camera in London. The microphone in front of you allows you to talk to the computer using every-day language, as if it was a person. It will understand you and talk back. For example,” the technician leaned towards the microphone, “show us Waterloo station.”

Images of trains and platforms flickered onto the screens.

“It can do much more,” said the technician. “Ask it to follow someone. Be as vague as you like.”

“Err… follow the first person to step out of the train,” said the minister. “On platform four.”

Target one is female, late thirties, blonde hair, five foot four,” said the computer. “Brown skirt, dark blue shirt.

“It describes the target so that police on the ground can find them in a crowd,” said the technician. “Try another one.”

“Follow the bald man on the right of screen five,” said the minister.

Target two is male, early fifties, no hair, six foot one. Blue pinstripe suit, brown briefcase. Web search confirms identity as Jeff Madison, CEO of Associated Banks.

“Very impressive.”

Target three is male, mid-twenties, dark hair, six foot six. Well built.

“The computer can identify potential threats,” said the technician. “Threat assessment of target three please?”

Target three is zero percent risk.

“What?” said the technician.

To be continued…

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