300-word story: A busy species requires a lot of storage.
The Coders were discussing a piece of software which, despite being immensely popular for billions of years, had lately developed an unanticipated technical issue.
Universe™ was an immersive experience that could be viewed as closely as desired through a powerful zoom feature. With the system confined to just three dimensions, the Coders' species experienced its activity from a higher plain without being noticed. It really was a remarkable form of entertainment.
The problem was located in a section named Earth. Though only one of countless populated planets, its inhabitants were rather unique. Initially they had acted just like the rest, discovering things like fire and farming that were well within predefined parameters. However, in recent centuries they had multiplied at an astonishing rate, manufactured all sorts of clever stuff, and even started scattering machinery around their cosmic neighbourhood.
Whilst the Coders greatly respected the ingenuity of their digital creations, the system lacked sufficient processing power to handle this volume of information. With heavy hearts, they decided to temporarily limit the available memory and apply WYSIWYG with immediate effect.
What You See Is What You Get meant that each human only had access to what they could see at the moment the restriction took hold. Dave MacDougal of Glasgow, for instance, finished preparing his pregnant wife a sandwich, only to turn toward the lounge and find an apologetic error message stretching to infinity.
The Coders are working diligently to accommodate our insatiable appetite for data. It may be days before the bandwidth is upgraded, but in the meantime it offers us the opportunity to put everything into perspective. Whilst fame and fortune have always been highly coveted, the most blessed people are now those who, when their unseen surroundings blinked out of existence, just happened to be looking at a toilet.
Copyright © 2021 Rich Sutherland