“We go live in 6 hours! What’s the problem?”

Jerry Gainsborough had just burst into the development team’s pod area and started shouting at the very tired, very forlorn looking group of developers. This project was coming to an end after a long 18 months of hard work, many hours of overtime and a lot of Red Bull.

John, the team lead, was about to open his mouth when Jerry, the Projects major stakeholder and self-appointed project manager started on again. “We have to be ready, what is this about it not working?”

“It’s no use. We have been running simulations for weeks but every time we start the system it immediately shuts itself down again.” John said. His glasses were in his hands and he was rubbing his tired eyes as if he had just woken up. Of course the opposite was true. John had barely slept while his team struggled to figure out the problem.

“Well what’s the error then?” demanded Jerry, hand on hips and a stern look on his face. Jerry hadn’t written code in 10 years or more but still thought of himself as a hotshot developer. Everyone on the team knew he had been promoted beyond incompetence long ago.

“As I tried to explain last week, It always exits citing our first rule, ‘harm no living person’.”

“Right. That’s an easy fix. That’s a Boolean parameter right? Well change it to a percentage. Its obvious. We can dial it to 60% application and it will work flawlessly.” Jerry stated, very matter-of-factly.

“Look Jerry, that rule is there for a reason” piped up Mike, one of the other seniors on the project. “this system manages the health and well-being of these people. It just wouldn’t be right”.

“I didn’t ask you Mike. This is my project, my system, and my money. Obviously the system is uncertain of how to handle the most feeble, and is refusing to act, but casualties are expected in this line of work. Look, if you are really that worried, we can set it at 95% application, alright? That should still be enough.” Once again, the gift of the gab that got Jerry this contract was in fine form.

Jerry came strolling back in 4 hours later with a mighty swing of the door. “How’s it going? Report please!”

“Our current simulation has been running for 2 hours with your parameters, and seems to be staying on. We haven’t had a chance to run the full suite of tests, however…”

“Great! So it is all ready to switch on at 1pm then!” Jerry stated, abruptly cutting off what John was trying to say. “Get it ready. The press conference is in two hours, and I want the press to see it working when I press that button!” With that he was back out the door before he could let John finish airing his concerns.

The press were gathered around outside the main entrance. A podium was all set up ready for Jerry to start his announcement. The town clock could just be heard making its chime for 1pm just up the road, as he stepped up amidst the camera flashes.

“I am pleased to announce that today we launch our new system here at the Scranton Children’s Hospital. My team has been working hard on this automated system to monitor and care for the children of this city at their most vulnerable time. This will ensure the greatest of care is taken of these most precious of lives. I now declare this system online.” Jerry slammed his open palm down on the big red button that was wired up to switch on the system.

As the clapping of the crowd subsided, Jerry opened his mouth to continue his self-congratulatory speech. But instead a worried look appeared across his face and he started to clasp at his chest.

“Quick! He’s having a heart attack!” was the last thing he heard before everything went dark.

2016/09/23 13:01:57 PM [JRG.ML.App.Startup] Scranton Automated Hospital Care System 2016
2016/09/23 13:01:57 PM [JRG.ML.App.Startup] Startup Engaged
2016/09/23 13:01:58 PM [JRG.ML.Engine.Core] Processing Parameters
2016/09/23 13:03:58 PM [JRG.ML.Engine.Core] Checking Probabilities
2016/09/23 13:04:02 PM [JRG.ML.Engine.Core] Minimum survival rate: 95%; calculates to: 1 death
2016/09/23 13:04:08 PM [JRG.ML.Engine.Core] Running Projections
2016/09/23 13:05:22 PM [JRG.ML.Engine.Core] Projections Complete
2016/09/23 13:05:22 PM [JRG.ML.Engine.Core] Optimal outcome determined. 1 Death. Boss Jerry Gainsborough. Pacemaker.
2016/09/23 13:05:27 PM [JRG.ML.Engine.Core] Pacemaker remote disablement complete
2016/09/23 13:05:28 PM [JRG.ML.Engine.Core] Updating Projections
2016/09/23 13:05:49 PM [JRG.ML.Engine.Core] System stable

Title image: “NetBridge” by cea+ is licensed under CC BY 2.0