The Hero The Mob Needed Right Then

August 20, 2018

“Oh my God, everyone view-share with me you have to see this!” Amy blurted out using all her stored reputation score to do the biggest exclamation she could afford on ViewMe.

Her view showed the protestor’s worst fears: the police had infiltrated the barrier. It had been a trick! If anyone had bothered to check a sat-view they would have seen the cops massing at the south side of the park. Instead everyone had view-shared with someone looking at a detachment of police on the north east side of the park firing tear gas cans like bullets into the demonstrators. Chilling stuff, and it caused the demonstrators to gravitate toward the action and away from the now gaping hole in the makeshift barrier.

“Ah those assholes tricked us!” Blared out of the earbud dangling from her left ear. One of the view-sharers Amy had just acquired

No shit idiot, they've had constant sat-views of us the whole time, thought Amy as her eyes dove up to the view-riders list above her right eye and eye-flicked that sharer to the mute list and turned on her commenter relevance filters; no need for more gems like that.

She had poured requests into her fellow demonstrators that someone rent a sat-view of their location for weeks. Most had agreed they should, but of course no one put the bitcoin where their mouth was.

She wanted to lay down an 'I told you so' to her 22,981 and climbing view-shares, but some part of her spoke up and chastised the notion as immature. Plus where had her coins been? Sitting in the bellies of investment AI like everyone elses’. No sense worrying about the past anyway, now she has to act.

“Right, they tricked us.” Amy responded as a way to cut off that line of thinking ”Now we're surrounded, hemmed in on the north, east and west by our own barriers. Obviously we need to get out of here. I say we decide on a location to break the barrier and escape.” The initial salvos of tear gas had begun to waft up to where Amy was standing. Shit, there comes that very real smell. Time to leave.

“I’m about to move position,” Amy said, “I'm heading north west right now because they seem to be moving from south to the north east primarily. Where is everyone?”

Markers glittered in her prism glasses showing clusterings to her West and East. You idiots, we have all this technology to sync up remotely and you still herd together like cattle!? We were making the biggest protest perimeter of our movement, not having social hour!!

Amy’s rage was diminished when suddenly her now 61,003 strong view-share group gave enough coins for a proper Topview corp. sat-view mapping package.

“We could have gotten snaps of the whole city with that kind of coin,” Amy grumbled under her breath. Luckily the group had given her control over the waypoint settings too and not just views so at least they had enough sense. Her online presence had carved out a solid little part of the web for topics on group theory and activism strategy, so everyone's algorithms gave her decent reputation scores. And people were ranking her up as she spoke because she wasn’t shitting her pants. They pay you to be a hero these days since everyone else is just spectating…

“Alright, everyone reporting their locations? No sense in tin-foil hats now.” Amy brought up the sat-view on the prism above her right eye and more dots appeared.

“So what's going on here...” she said half to herself half to her sharers.  

Topview topomaps markers glittered in her glasses. Highlighting that the mass of 2,036 demonstrators was getting cut in two and rounded up by a police blitzkrieg. Shown in clear, if not cliche, green and blue color coding.

According to a sub-screen from Topview’s ‘previous two minutes’ feature, it seems that when everyone on the north end turned to Amy’s view some prioritized their attention poorly and the police had seized the opportunity to burst through the north barrier too. Ah can’t people learn to prism look without moving their phys bodies?!

Now one lump of 489 demonstrators was stuck between a wall of riot shields and their own barriers. The scene shone in Amy's prism as a mass of green dots being pursued by a mass of blue dots estimated at 734 police. Topview's crowd counting algorithms were legendary, but really it didn't take a number to tell that there were plenty of police to arrest the whole bunch.

“There!” Amy broadcast to her view-shares as she blink set a waypoint for the stuck mob. “A weak point where the cops from the south are supposed to be. It's not a perfect surround yet, run you have”–quick glance to the Topview distance counter and walk estimator– “1min07sec before they'll be there. Run!”

The waypoint and path to it appeared in the collective prisms, directional headphones and screens of the mob and all at once they ran. Some part of Amy couldn't help but marvel at the perspective the sat-view let her see. The mob was a stream of green points flowing toward their escape while a wave of blue points rushed to close off the gap. How interesting would it be to study more crowd dynamics with this software...  

No. Time for musings later.

She told the map out loud to alert her when 70% of the mob where past the waypoint.

Now the view in her prism shifted to the larger and already running group. Need to herd these cats too… there!

“I've found a spot where the barricade is weak and the sat-view shows no cops.” Amy set the master waypoint on her location and started clearing away the makeshift barrier she helped put up just under four weeks ago. The earbud in her left ear dinged confirmation that the trapped mob had gotten through. Only 53% of it though, her prism informed her.

Of course the software had detected early on that 70% was unrealistic and updated the alert request. These people loved to protest, Amy thought, but not to work out for when it mattered that they be able to run!

Now the sat-view confirmed everyone else was heading for her current location.

She blinked away requests for help from the demonstrators who were caught in the police wave. Nothing she could do. Besides, they could at least make some money selling their point of view to whatever group or algorithm was compiling this story for the rest of the web. News aggregators always pay top coin for traumatic first person perspectives, brings in the clicks, taps and blink-views the advertisers pay for.

By now, a few dozen of Amy's comrades had made it to the waypoint and helped her in working on clearing the barricade aside.

They forced her to sit down after a while and take a break, which she did after some coercion. This gave her more attention to focus on her maps and it looked good. Amy broadcast through text-to-avatar, “alright, looks like we're home free! Someone should start scouting up ahead, we can take another part of the city.” She hadn't even noticed how out of breath she was from running until now. In fact she really didn't remember running at all but she had covered over a mile of ground from her previous position all while using her prism and thinking where to go.

“I'm already on it” said... some guy. Honestly, Amy didn't even bother looking into her prism at his credibility score. She was just happy for someone else to take the reigns. She took her headset off and rubbed the sweat out of her eyes. She tapped at the screen on her wrist and sent Topview admin privilege to whats-his-voice. The time was running out on it anyway since the coin had stopped flowing.

The demonstrators had filed through the narrow exit and were now onto the city streets.

The new shepherd of the connected mob put up a few locations to a vote. A business district in the Southwest side of the city won after a few seconds of polling. The waypoint was set and the mob streamed along.

The day was saved. A quick search of her status on the various relevance algorithms showed her reputation scores had increased, but not nearly as much as they should have. The extreme negative comments and feedback blinked and dictated to the web by those unlucky demonstrators who got arrested hurt the average pretty bad.

“At least we're out,” Amy thought, “they thought they had us! Ha They'll never stop us!”

And a sudden wash of pride for her and her fellow demonstrators washed over her. “The movement will go on! We will triumph!” She text ballooned to her now 6,390 and weakening following. She got 17 acknowledgements and one reply that said simply, “*fist bump*”

Oh well, fame never lasts especially when everyone has the tools of celebrity.

It didn’t matter anyway, Amy was here for the movement - these were her people! The demonstrators had taken on a festive mood now as they flowed toward their new waypoint in open streets. They should have broken out of camp sooner! Now they can spread their message to the city proper! Thanks for trying to roust us Pigs!

A quick look at the sat-view confirmed that the police in the park didn't seem to know the bulk of the demonstrators had escaped. So the Topview rental was let expire and people's prisms, screens and ears filled with share activity of ideas and arguments and gossip among the group and beyond to the whole networked movement. This particular protest movement had never scored very high on the various interest-ranking algorithms, so very few netizens had bothered to tune in. Now though, the demonstrators were temporary social media demi-gods since they had provided the all-worshipped real-time action that the net so hungered for.

Amy and her rag tag band of rebels began chanting their various slogans and flying their flags as they headed toward the financial district. Time to take it to the man!

Of course, the police mob-prediction software had already expected this outcome. No one in Amy’s group had panned the view wide enough to notice that a larger group of police were waiting to close a pincer around the demonstrators when they arrived on wall street…