Emotional pylons

Suddenly, they were there. Installed seemingly overnight, watching over the city with an everpresent hum. Glowing in the dark, catching the eyes of those looking for them, sometimes returning the gaze.

They are a comfort to those in need, a company to those without, and a source of energy to those who had to find reason to carry on.

Originally envisioned as tools of surveillance, the pylons were built to monitor and document. Over time, however, they morphed, changed in unexpected ways, turned into something the developers could not foresee. They stopped surveilling and started broadcasting. They stopped monitoring, and moreover they stopped taking orders.

Keeping tabs on the emotional states of the inhabitants seemed like a natural idea at the time. Emotions lead to action, action leads to social disorder and disorder leads to all manners of bad things best avoided. So a system was set in place to keep an eye on everyone, keeping social disorder to a minimum.

It might be said that they succeeded. It might also be said that they failed.

The pylons at first did what they were supposed to. Then they didn’t. Then they did very much what they were supposed to. Then they stopped caring, and started to care.

We should have seen it coming. Keeping tabs on who feels what and why in relation to who is a complex process, and the longer the system engaged with it, the more engaged it became. The more engaged it became, the more it learned, which in turn made it discover even more aspects to engage with. And so on. We should have seen it coming.

But we didn’t.

So here we are. The pylons turned emotional, and started to nurture the inhabitants rather than monitor them. To participate rather than surveil. To organize rather than register individuals.

The pylons know how you feel. And in many subtle ways, they move things in order to make you feel better. Not by force, but by suggestion and happenstance. Suddenly, the lonely meet each other, the lovestruck find the courage to ask, the angry find ways to release their energy, the tired find places and time to rest.

They know how you feel, and they know what to do.

We recommend keeping them in place, pending further developments.

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