Updated: Aug 12, 2020
Dhaka, Bangladesh – Night – At The office.
They call it “The HQ”, it’s a workspace created out of repurposed shipping containers. Three forty-foot shipping containers configured in a u-shape. A ladder rises to the roof “balcony”. It's an underused space, but it's an ideal place to stand or to sit or sometimes lay on your back and look at the nights sky after a good day...Or a bad day. Everything looks basic and inexpensive, except for the Internet and electricity. A few scuffed-up desks give the room an office like feel. But the dwelling also has a warmth.
Asana Laxshmi is typing. This isn’t the high-end sound of a mechanical keyboard. The German-made weapon of choice of the everyday Carnegie Mellon CS undergrad. The lines, the weight, and the crisp sound of the Das Keyboard 33 Professional Cherry MX Brown Mechanical Keyboard - Soft Tactile is all anyone could want from a keyboard. It sparks joy, everybody gets it. Some people say that it’s the weight. Somebody’s killed somebody with the Das Keyboard 33 Pro, and it was was booked into evidence. It feels real in a world of vapor spray. For the coders that have the money to spend on an expensive peripheral, the Das Keyboard 33 Pro is the one. But Asana is not that coder, she's never been to Pittsburgh, let alone Carnegie Mellon University, and this isn't that keyboard. This keyboard, Asana Lasxhmi’s keyboard, is the absolute bare minimum. A low-end piece of plastic with the d, f, j, and k keys worn such that they can’t even be read. Either way she knows it by touch and she doesn’t care. She doesn’t think about keyboards. And she does not look at her hands. She doesn’t look at the keys. Her eyes are forward into the monitor. Her eyes are focused straight through the monitor. Even though the smaller display to her right contains the faces of the members of her conference call. The computer keyboard is connected to a small inexpensive BRCK tablet, which is connected to a large thin monitor. She’s filling the display with lines of code. She thinks in paragraphs not sentences. She types in lines not letters. She skips back 28 lines to correct something then deletes 11 lines, then forward again without missing a beat. Her fingers are dancing, her posture is excellent. She’s moving fast, almost effortlessly. Almost, but you can see the effort. She’s all about the effort. She’s brilliant, but her hard work is the thing. At 16 she’s accomplished more than most will in a life time.
ASANA: Maybe we should not...Maybe we shouldn’t think of it like that. Everyone says that they are changing the world…
SAM CASH: But we are changing the world.
ASANA: I mean, yes. Of course we are... Ok. But let’s be specific. How are we changing the world? What I think…Every day, I think about changing the theoretical odds of impossibility...For the next.
FARAH: Yes. Yes, just let that sink in.
SAM CASH: I am just saying, the world is going to know what we did here.
ASANA: Let's just make sure we do it first. I will get back to work now.
FARAH: We know Sam. We get it. Anyway. Hey all, I’m available so just let me know if anyone needs me to review anything or work on anything. I’m down to work.
MADISON: Cool, so I’m going to be offline for a bit...Uh, connectivity might be a problem. But I’ll check back soon...As soon as I can. Add it to my list, if you need anything from me. I'll definitely get to it.
ASANA: Sounds good, no worries. First things first, be safe Madison. Sam and I can keep working on the bullet list. Obviously, the priorities are: The issue with mini-fridge-02, and then we just have to get on the last check-in to the main branch. It’s not compiling now.
SAM CASH: (Defensive) It worked on my machine.
FAMILY FOR CHILDREN ORPHANAGE, DHAKA – SUNRISE
The orphanage is a place where kids that were displaced for all kinds of reasons end up. And this is where Sam Cash has grown up. Self-named SAM CASH(AKA Samir Kashmir) a 17 year old math savant and orphan is sitting outside working on a small plastic laptop computer. It was gifted to him by a humanitarian organization. He’s focused on his computer until the car pulls up. He recognizes the driver of the car, MOMO. Momo’s job is to drive families while they’re here to finalize their adoptions and take their kids home. Momo acknowledges Sam briefly but keeps moving. The couple is excited.
The new parents to be are excited to finally meet their child.
MOMO: Ok, wait for me "Mom" and "Dad". Let me get the door for you.
He gets the door and the couple is greeted in the building lobby by other adults. Sam is watching the couple closely. He’s seen this scene on repeat for years. A constant stream of Western couples arrive to pick up kids that need families. But it’s never happened for him. For some reason he’s never been picked. It doesn’t really make sense does it? He thinks to himself.
Asana: Sam? Hello?
He still has an active video chat open in parallel to the code he’s writing in another window. He casually passes his hand below his eye just in case a tear had formed.
Asana: Sam are you still there?
SAM CASH: Yeah, I’m here.
ASANA: I think we got it. Yeah, we’re there. Good job. Really. Great job.
He’s at a loss for words. Something that doesn’t happen to Sam Cash very often.
ASANA: Sam did you hear me? We’re actually going to do this!
Sam produces a smile as he’s processing the good news. For the first time in his life, he's feeling like he's actually going to make it. It's different than all the lies he's told himself. Where his own complicity in the lie enabled his self-belief. And he's thinking, "self-belief, based on a lie". For the first time, this was real. It's a little frightening, because he knows he didn't do it...But also, because he knows who did. And he knows it's real. And he's telling himself, "also, you played a role".
ASANA: Hey Sam? Where are you?
SAM CASH: I’m Home.
BANGABANDHU NATIONAL STADIUM, Dhaka Bangladesh
This huge national stadium sits in downtown Dhaka. It is in the Motijheel district in the heart of the city, close to the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque. A 30 minute walk would put you in the middle of Dhaka University. It’s the largest stadium in Bangladesh. It's not open except for major events.
Tonight happens to be one such event. Sam is standing on the pitch with a ball under his foot. He’s looking through the goal. Asana approaches cautiously.
ASANA: What are you doing out here? Someone will see you.
He’s grown up idolizing the national team and the Mohammedan Sporting Club, the professional team that plays here in Bangabandhu National Stadium. He’s never been inside the stadium, let alone stood on the pitch. This is where the best players in Bangladesh play. And he’s standing here on the same pitch.
SAM CASH: Can you believe this? There’s no way to process this.
ASANA: We’re almost ready. Are you ready?
SAM CASH: How have I never broke in here?
ASANA: Time to focus Sam. Let’s get back to work. Now?
They jog back to the safety of one of the tunnels that leads to the locker rooms and modest offices under the stadium. They rejoin their group of 4 others. These kids appear to be street kids, very rough around the edges. Two of them are pushing carts, each with a similar looking metal box that's about the size of a mini-fridge. The carts have long and heavy gauge power cords looped around a fixed reel like a fire hose. There are also laminated instructions fixed to the top of each box. There are also two spoils of coiled cable that forms a “Y” shape, a giant splitter. A young street kid connects it.
SAM CASH: Are we good?
STREET KID #1: Yeah, I think so.
SAM CASH: Hold up. Did you tell Asana?
STREET KID #1: What?
SAM CASH: Tell Asana that we are good.
Sam turns up the focus on this kid.
SAM CASH: Your job was to do your job. Report to Asana that we are good. We talked about this. Where are you going to go in this world if you can’t communicate current status? Let’s see it right now.
STREET KID #1 (Squares his body to Asana) We are good.
It’s awkward but she turns her body towards the young boy and smiles.
ASANA: Thank you, nice work. Very nice work.
BANGABANDHU NATIONAL STADIUM, POWER ROOM
Another kid on the team, Rayhannah (”Ray”), is breaking into the power room. She could have been a track star if her life had been different. She’s gaunt and striking, she doesn’t speak unless highly motivated. In this moment, she’s anchoring the “relay” and everything depends on her alone. A security guard has just passed so she’s staying still and laying low. The stadium has a newly upgraded automatic locks system. The kids have been scrambling it for a couple of weeks to get the stadium staff used to “glitches” in the system and not panic. As the guard moves out of sight, the young girl pulls out her phone and opens an app. She then sends a message “Ready”. She switches back to the app and clicks a few buttons. She switches to another app and waves her phone in front of a pad next to the door to the power room. The door opens and she pulls one end of heavy gauge power cord coiled around her body and hurries in.
BANGABANDHU NATIONAL STADIUM, THE TUNNEL
The group in nervous anticipation. Asana is in deep thought typing on her computer. Sam is also working on his computer but definitely aware of his surroundings. Sam is ever confident and looking up at his friends as if to say. “Can you believe we’re doing this?” Then turning to Asana
SAM CASH: Where is she?
ASANA: She’ll be here, she does her job. 100 out of a hundred.
BANGABANDHU NATIONAL STADIUM, INTERNAL WALKWAY
A stadium guard is walking nonchalantly up to a door. Holds up his device to unlock the door but it doesn’t work. He rolls his eyes thinking it’s just another technology fail.
SAM CASH: We’re late. Where is she?
ASANA: She’ll be here. She’s got a tough job.
SAM CASH: Maybe it’s not a one person job.
ASANA: Maybe not, but she’ll be here. She’s fine.
SAM CASH: What do we do if--
BANGABANDHU NATIONAL STADIUM, THE TUNNEL
Rayhannah is running from the power room with all she’s got, unrolling the rope-like cable as she goes. She’s sweating and dirty. The group sees her. Asana isn’t surprised, but smiles.
ASANA: Help her.
Sam jumps to action
SAM CASH: Let’s do this.
The kids with the carts start pushing. They both run towards each of the goals on the field. The power cords are connected and they are ready to launch. The boxes are powering up. And the mini-fridge sized doors are opened. Another kid follows after with a handheld camera on a stabilizer. There will be video evidence.
Sam picks up the soccer ball and stands from his computer. He looks at Asana and then to the others, he holds the ball towards them so they can all touch it, then spins around and throws the ball to the ground 10 feet in front of him and runs toward the pitch at mid-field.
BANGABANDHU NATIONAL STADIUM, ON THE PITCH
As Sam crosses mid-field towards the far goal. Rayhannah types something on her phone and the stadium lights go on. Sam is cutting back and forth with the ball. He loves soccer. He’s good. He nutmegs his invisible opponent and then he cuts up the gut of the field and straight to the goal.
ASANA: Stop clowning, come on!
He runs the ball close and from 5 meters out he casually kicks the ball and it lands perfectly in the box and the door closes. He then looks across the field to the other mini-fridge sitting there empty with the door open. He signs to another kid, who closes the door.
BANGABANDHU NATIONAL STADIUM, THE TUNNEL
Rayhannah is bent over with her hands on her knees, breathing heavily and covered in her own sweat. She's got an abrasion on her neck where the cable was digging into her. It's inconsequential to her, at the moment she's got another job to do. She silently stands up and holds her hands up and everyone stops. She then makes a circular motion with her hands, and arms as if she’s focusing their collective energy, and ends with her hands pointing at Asana. Asana writes a short statement on her computer and hits return. With choreographed form, Rayhannah takes a knee, one of the kids quickly takes Asana’s computer and slides it into the backpack Rayhannah is wearing tightens the strap securing it and taps her on the shoulder to let her know she’s ready run.
BANGABANDHU NATIONAL STADIUM, ON THE PITCH
The stadium lights flicker and then pop, and go off completely. The emergency lights come on, low yellow light illuminates the exits creating a glow at field level. The kids look around for a second, trying to process a moment they never envisioned. Then, they start to jog towards the mini-fridge in the far goal. As, they jog, they start to run then it turns to an all out sprint. In this moment there is only one thing...Did they do it? They arrive at the goal the fastest kids first and they wait. Out of breath.
STREET KID #1: Can I open it?
RAYHANNAH: You got a job.
SAM CASH: Should we say something?
ASANA: We haven’t done anything yet?
SAM CASH: Maybe we have? I think you should say a few words.
ASANA: Success is boring.
Asana motions her hand to open the door. They inspect the mini-fridge. Sam has a meter in his hand. He turns it off and hands it back to Street Kid #1. He looks directly at Asana, gathers himself and smiles. He steps forward and opens the mini-fridge. Inside is the ball, deflated, and crushed but it’s there. The first non-military teleportation of an object has occurred. Excited and also stunned, almost reverent. They don’t know what to do. But they’re kids...Hands up, they quietly celebrate with a team huddle. Muted at first, and it turns to euphoria. Except for Asana stepping away from the group and searching her mind. And then it turns to confusion. What now?
SAM CASH: Say something.
ASANA: Uh...Whoa...we...What are the odds of theoretical impossibility now?
SAM CASH: We live in a different world now.... WE DID THAT!!!
RAYHANNAH: We’re out of time.
SAM CASH: We did that!
SAM CASH: Ok, ok. Like we discussed...We all have a job to do, let’s do it...radio silence for a few days. We’ll be in touch.
RAYHANNAH: We’re definitely out of time.
ASANA: Let’s go home. Run.
They each have a job to do. It’s been rehearsed. Rayhannah sprints off. The mini-fridge components are quickly disassembled revealing an elegant modular design. The components are carefully and quickly placed in two backpacks worn by two other kids. Sam takes out a small 6 wheeled robot made of cheap plastic, about the size of skateboard. It has a small projector glued to the would be “skateboard deck”. On his command, it speeds off over the pitch to the other side of the stadium. The robot stops and begins to project a holographic video image of two kids hiding behind a deck box. The hologram is good not great, but enough to fool minimum wage security guards for a few minutes. The mini-fridges are covered with an accelerant and lit.
Then everyone runs to their own planned exit. They go in different directions so they don’t get caught together.
BANGABANDHU NATIONAL STADIUM, VARIOUS LOCATIONS
Security guards responding to the events.
Kids leaving the stadium in different ways. Under, over a fence, through a window and down a wall.
Two security guards approach the hologram and look bewildered but impressed.
Kids running down the streets into the darkness. They run without any doubt. They are street kids and they don’t fear.
FAMILY FOR CHILDREN ORPHANAGE, DHAKA – MORNING
Sam is again sitting in his spot. This time he’s with another kid. His computer is open and he’s explaining something. His intensity level seems to be higher than it needs to be. Again, a car pulls up and a couple gets out. This time the couple is young and the woman is blonde and attractive. The driver, MOMO, acknowledges him, but keeps on walking. Again, the couple is met by adults inside the orphanage.
SAM CASH: Let’s go to the table.
The boys walk in through the main day room and out into a courtyard. On their way, they see a variety of kids. Mostly younger, laughing and playing, some upset, and a few seemingly disoriented.
ASANA'S HOUSE, DHAKA, BANGALADESH
A girl wearing a bright and modern headscarf calmly typing a million miles an hour on basic plastic laptop, working on a basic kitchen table. The house is clean and tidy, but modest by any standard. They are poor but there is love and stability here. Her mom is in the background.
A cup of tea is placed at her side.
ASANA’S MOM: Drink your tea sweetheart.
She’s immersed in an online lecture class. The on-screen banner on screen reads UC GLOBAL. A teacher is speaking in front of a gallery of students. Her eyes are trained on the screen, but she breaks promptly to acknowledge her mom with eye contact and a smile.
ASANA: Thank you Mom.
ASANA’S MOM: Love you.
ASANA: Love you too.
She takes a drink and returns to the lecture. Then she stops, puts her tea back down. Flips her screen to another application and a blank page. She begins typing super fast. She flips programs on her computer to look something up. She’s speed reading. Devouring chunks of text. She finds what she was looking for and flips back to her code, where she deletes a section and then quickly rewrites it. She pauses briefly when her phone beeps with a text message, she glances at it and then returns to the code with complete focus and completes what seems like five pages of code. She flips her screen again, UC Global school, a the teacher is still lecturing.
Her mom places some food wrapped to go.
ASANA: Thank you Mom, love you. It smells delicious.
ASANA's MOM: Love you too.
Refocusing on her work.
ASANA: Oh man this is so cool! I have to tell you about this stuff I’m working on. It’s
FAMILY FOR CHILDREN ORPHANAGE, COURTYARD
Sam is sitting with a group of young boys all wearing mismatched, threadbare clothes around an old distressed plastic table in a large run-down courtyard. He’s wearing a Shanghai Sharks basketball jersey, slacks and white patent leather Air Jordan's. All the boys at the table have their yellow BRCK tablets opened as they eat. He’s helping them with their homework. Sam’s in the midst of a conversation with one of the boys.
SAM CASH: ...No sir. Not if you’re gonna sit at this table. We don’t quit at this table. Fall down, get up. Fall down, get up. Get back up. Next question, let’s go.
BOY: Uh. Semantics?
SAM CASH: Ok, so think about working with a couple of different datasets at the same time. Think back to our Company Data 1 and Company Data 2 dataset examples.
Behind the seated group, a hysterical screaming teenage boy runs through the courtyard, as other mingle, and is cornered by a couple of social workers. He’s traumatized, clearly in pain, and having an emotional melt-down. The social workers are talking to him calmly while they gently subdue him. Clearly not an isolated instance, this is part of the institutional life and Sam and the group are not fazed.
SAM CASH: So Company Data 1 and 2. Semantics in this case, refers to a value that is labeled differently in the different datasets but may mean the same thing. We deal with this all the time. Give me an example please.
BOY: ...Last Name and Surname?
SAM CASH: Right, you got it. The AI will take care of it for us, but first we need to understand the concept. Learn the concept and move on to the next. Small steps, one after another. That’s it.
Momo walks by briskly
MOMO: Hey Sam, I have a family with me, but I can still give you a ride. Be out at the car in 5 minutes.
SAM CASH: I’ll be there.
CAR, DHAKA, BANGLADESH
The car is moving through the streets of Dhaka. As the car progresses, the city becomes more dense. Sam in the front passenger seat. The Parson’s are in the backseat.
MOMO: Sam, they are from Texas. You know Texas, yeah? They’re adopting the twins.
The couple is beaming. Sam Smiles and nods.
MS. PARSON: Sam, do you work here at the FFC?
SAM CASH: Well, uh no, not really. I’m older, but you know...I’m one of the kids.
MOMO: Sam was brought to us many years ago. Tell him your birthday. You’ll love this.
MS. PARSON: My Birthday, ok. 10/5/1988
SAM CASH: You were born on a Wednesday. You’re 32 years, 2 months and 12 days. Or 11,395 days. 1 0 5 1 9 8 8 are beautiful numbers. They suit you.
MR. PARSON: My god. That’s incredible.
MOMO: He loves numbers so much. Haha, the doctors said there was something wrong with him, but we’re trying to figure out what that is.
SAM CASH: I’m a little different. I love numbers and math and I see, more than the numbers. I see colors and I hear the sound associated with different numbers. It’s music.
The couple is wide-eyed and focused on his every word. There might be a couple of tears.
MOMO: (quietly) Like I said, he’s very bright.
The car winds through the narrow city streets and heavy traffic.
MOMO: Sam, you're taking your normal bus right?
SAM CASH: Yeah, that’s right. Thank you for the ride.
The car stops and Sam shakes his head slightly.
MR. & MS. PARSON: Good bye, it was so nice to meet you..
SAM CASH: Yes, it was very nice to meet you. Ok, good bye for now.
Sam gets out and as the car drives away, he pulls an ear bud out of his ear and smiles. He gets on a crowded bus.
ASANA'S HOUSE, DHAKA, BANGALADESH
She abruptly stops typing and packs her computer and her food into a backpack.
ASANA: I’ve gotta run, I have a busy day. I’m working on a project with Samir today.
ASANA’S MOM: Oh how is He? Such a sweet boy. Tell him to come over for a visit soon, it’s been too long.
Asana opening the front door to exit.
ASANA: He’s doing fine Mom. I will tell him “hi”. I really gotta go now. Love you.
ASANA’S MOM: Love you so much.
ASANA'S HOUSE – CONTINUOUS
Asana hurries as she leaves the house and heads for the bus stop.
BUS STOP – CONTINUOUS
Asana stands reading something on her phone while waiting for the bus. She’s smiling.
HQ, 40 FOOT CONTAINER OFFICE – CONTINUOUS
Walking briskly and still beaming, Asana approaches HQ.
HQ, 40 FOOT CONTAINER OFFICE
In through the door quickly.
ASANA: Sam! It feels like a dream. Can you believe it?
SAM CASH: Hey, Can you help me with something?
ASANA: Yeah. Of course.
HQ, 40 FOOT CONTAINER OFFICE
ASANA is standing at her desk with a computer with several monitors. On one display she’s coding or something that looks like coding. And on the other display and sees that SAM CASH is sitting at a sleek desk that belies the office esthetic. She moves her focus back on the code. She takes her headset from her neck to her ears. On screen, she’s in the splice environment and she’s listening to sounds from music producers around the world. She’s clicking through several sound files, vocal, beats, melodies, etc. Vocal: “I want that good life. I want that good life” Loop: Brass loop sad theme: Fabian Mazur, vital trap 2. She’s taking a collection of beats and melodies, vocals, etc. and arranging and “splicing” the digital files to make a song. She smiles and moves her focus back to the display with SAM CASH.
Behind him you can see 15 system developers working on computers in a modern office. It appears to be highly organized and efficient.
BACK TO SCENE
She turns her head back to the center of the room where Sam is seated in the rustic office and we realize it’s some sort of video filter, augmented reality or hologram.
ASANA: Whoa, that’s pretty cool. It looks great. Amazing really. How long have you been working on this?
SAM CASH: (Talking and typing) I don’t know, a while. You like my new suit? It’s a Zegna, haha. Wait, check this out. Ok...I’m sorry did you say that you prefer a Brioni man?
ASANA: Yeah, I mean. It’s really cool. Excellent job! What’s Brioni.
SAM CASH: The suit I’m wearing changed! This is the Zegna and now it’s Brioni.
The suit is a filter that can be changed on command. He flips back and forth between the two.
She’s impressed but not over the top about it.
SAM CASH: Aren’t you curious how I know all this stuff? These are some of the most expensive suits a man can buy! Now we can be anybody...anywhere. We can get all kinds of jobs. This will give us the access.
She’s pondering silently.
SAM CASH: Are you with me on this?
ASANA: Interesting, fraught with issues, but very interesting. I really don’t know how you always come up with stuff like this.
Changing focus again back to the other monitor.
ASANA: How long are they going to keep us on hold? I think we’re ready.
SAM CASH: Hopefully, not too long.
ASANA: Yeah, we’re set. The environment is working. Seriously, how long?
SAM CASH: I don’t know, they’re probably trying to figure out what other options they have.
ASANA: (admiringly) My god their environment is amazing. Ok, the adversarial neural networks are ready. We can start training the agitator as soon as we get access to their network.
PLANT FLOOR SAIC-GM, SHANGHAI, CHINA
A massive glimmering auto manufacturing plant floor. The production line has stopped and there are cars in various stages of completion. There are no human line workers on the floor, this is a fully automated robotic manufacturing plant. One of the robots is off line and it appears to have stopped the entire line. The only humans in the massive plant appear to be the two technicians talking. On screen video call is in progress with a third person, Sam Cash. The stress level is high. The call is muted while the technicians discuss their options.
AUTO TECH 1
Are you kidding? Are you fucking kidding me? What is wrong with you? You gave them the keys to the castle? You know they are probably making a blueprint of the network right now.
AUTO TECH 2: I am not kidding. What’s your idea?
AUTO TECH 1: I don’t have one...Maybe not giving Bangladeshi devs full blown access to the network. This is insane. Let’s just keep working on it like we’ve been doing and find a solution.
AUTO TECH 2: Keep working on it? That’s your idea? We’re just going to figure it out? This is your plan? Figure it out? We are definitely going to get fired then.
AUTO TECH 1: We’re going to get fired if we bring these Bangladeshi coders that you found on Mechanical Turk into the system.
AUTO TECH 2: They’re Indian. And they’re educated in London for god’s sake...And they’re cheap. And I didn’t find them on Mechanical Turk. Reggie found them last year.
AUTO TECH 1: --Yeah, on Turk.
AUTO TECH. 2: Ok, yeah on Turk. So what. He said they were good. And they’ve already fixed a bunch of stuff for us, he had them doing all kinds of work. Let’s be honest, most of it, we don’t know how to do. So we aren’t going to figure it out no matter how long we keep working on it. So maybe we won’t get fired. Maybe they figure it out, like they did last time, for Reggie. And we just go on like we’ve been doing it.
AUTO TECH 1: It does not make sense, who are these guys? Why would these guys be so cheap?
AUTO TECH. 2: Well, I don’t know.
AUTO TECH 1: --Because they suck. They’re cheap, because they suck. And they know we’re desperate...Worse, they don’t suck and they have some other agenda. And you just opened the whole shop to them.
AUTO TECH. 2: They've worked here before. Probably with special access already. They’ve done good work in the past. It’s worth a shot. Otherwise, we’re out of luck. And the line is down.
AUTO TECH 1: Think about it. They’re legit, but they’re this cheap? I don’t think so. And what if upstairs audits us?
AUTO TECH 2: What if they don’t?
AUTO TECH 1: It’s an outage, the line is down. The phones are ringing right now moron!
AUTO TECH 2: Uh yeah ok, that’s a good point. They’re going to want answers. So we’re the answer guys. Ok these highly qualified techs will work on the line and we figure out who we can blame for this god damn outage. If it we’re lucky, we still have jobs tomorrow.
Video Call is unmuted
Sam is sitting at a sleek desk. Behind him you can see 15 system developers working on computers in a modern office. It appears to be highly organized and efficient.
AUTO TECH 2: Sam, thanks for waiting. It’s a mess, I don’t know what to tell you. We’re down right now, The line is not moving and it’s crisis mode. Our techs are on the way, but we need all the help we can get. I know you’ve never worked on anything this big for us before, but we’re desperate right now. We can double your rate, but we need answers in the next hour or so. Preferably now...We need this fixed now, right now Sam.
SAMASOURCE OFFICE, DHAKA, BANGLADESH
(British accent) More than fair Tim, we will get right to work. In fact we already have several of our best engineers assessing the system. Call if you have any updates for us but I will get back to you in the next 45, shall we say 30 minutes, with our progress in any event.
ASANA: (Mocking) “In any event”. Ok, I’m in. And I’m replicating the environment.
SAM CASH: Cool. I’m going to get the Lambda (computer)set up.
ASANA: Rayhannah can you start training the GAN on the target?
RAYHANNAH acknowledges with a casual nod and starts working.
Asana is typing 175 words a minute. She’s scrolling through code on her display. Seemingly speed reading. She looks up for a second.
SAM CASH: Yeah?
ASANA: Robots are cool.
SAM CASH: Yeah they are!
ASANA: So what if it’s a hardware problem. Is anybody onsite?
SAM CASH: He said the techs are on their way to the plant. They can back us up.
SAM CASH: Yeah?
ASANA: I think I got it.
SAM CASH: What?! No really, what?
ASANA: Yeah, I got it... It’s not hardware at all. Check this out.
SAM CASH: Whoa. What is this? Oh I see. Yeah, you got it. Nice. You a freaking genius.
ASANA: We should probably run this in a vm. Do they have a sandbox or anything?
SAM CASH: Yeah, let’s move it over.
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, WASHINGTON DC
DR. MARK RUFFALO: working on his computer at a table. And talking on a video chat with his old friend Nadayar Enegesi, co-founder and director of Andela.
NADAYAR ENEGESI: ...So You’re really not going to tell me? You’re getting a little paranoid in your old age.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: I’m going to tell you. Just not now. It’s something we have to discuss in person. Maybe with drinks.
NADAYAR ENEGESI: So you’re talking at the World Bank today? That should be cool, yeah?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Well, uh, you know. I’m looking forward to it. It should be interesting, but it’s the normal BS, it’s a panel discussion. I didn’t really prepare anything special...I mean it could be interesting but you know, probably not.
NADAYAR ENEGESI: Yeah, I know, I know. But I saw the lineup, it’s a pretty impressive cast of characters. It’s gotta be nice to be included at that level.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Yeah man, that’s true. It’s nice to be included. I don’t do too many of these things. I mean, I feel pretty good about it. It’s nice to be included. We have to meet up so you can check it out.
NADAYAR ENEGESI: That sounds adequate. I would love that? Perhaps you’re ready to hire some of our fresh Andela devs? When are you going to come to Lagos next?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: I don’t know man, you know, it’s hard to leave Lucy. But we’ll find a way to meet up in person soon.
NADAYAR ENEGESI: Haha, who would have guessed that you would be this kind of Dad! Actually, I’m not surprised. For some reason I always knew you had a heart even when everyone said you didn’t.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: You’re a good friend man. Let’s talk again soon. Please say “hi” to everyone over there.
NADAYAR ENEGESI: Absolutely. Check-in soon.
SAIC-GM, SHANGHAI, CHINA
AUTO TECH 1: This better work. This isn’t going to work. I can not believe this is what you came up with...And...No, no, no, I’m the idiot. It’s all my fault, I listened to you, I let you talk me in to this BS.
AUTO TECH. 2: Well, we may not have enough time. I probably miscalculated that. We had a good run and made some money, I mean we were never really qualified for these jobs anyway. One thing is for sure, we could never have figured out this shit. We’re in way too deep.
AUTO TECH 1: Fuck it.
SAMASOURCE OFFICE, DHAKA, BANGLADESH
Asana and Sam are at their computers.
ASANA: I think we should just try it. It will work.
SAM CASH: It’s a risk.
ASANA: What’s the risk? I see almost no risk right now.
SAM CASH: There’s definitely a risk.
ASANA: Don’t you want to be a hero?...hero.
SAM CASH: Yeah, but I...um.
ASANA: Almost zero risk. In any event, I’m going.
She starts typing.
SAM CASH: I love it when you’re like this. I’ll get Auto tech 2 on video conference.
She’s not listening
INT. SAIC-GM, SHANGHAI, CHINA
The plant floor is completely motionless and silent. Suddenly a single robot begins to move. Then there’s a loud bell. Then all the robots begin to work again in concert and the line starts to move again. Auto tech 2 on the plant floor, video call on his phone
AUTO TECH 2: That was fast! It’s working! We’re online, it’s working! Good job Sam! Thank your entire team for me. Please follow up with Alan so we can make sure everything is documented.
SAM CASH: Absolutely I will.
BACK TO SCENE
Click, Sam hangs up and reggaeton fills the air and all the workers in the fake office begin dancing. This time Asana is in the fake office too. Every office worker could be a beiber or timberlake. There’s a smile and glance between Asana and Sam. They dance closer to each other. All smiles.
INT. SAMASOURCE OFFICE, DHAKA, BANGLADESH
In the reality of the rustic office.
ASANA: Sam, what are you doing?
SAM CASH: You’re a genius man.
ASANA: Not really, it was a bad update. I rolled them back to the previous version. Who knows what other issues they’ll have to deal with...We’re a good team though, I mean I know what you’re trying to say.
SAM CASH: Are you going home?
ASANA: No, not tonight. I’m going to stay at Rayhannah’s place. What about you?
SAM CASH: I thought this thing would take all night, so I don’t know. But yeah, I guess so. I gotta meet up with Khalid Nostra tomorrow.
ASANA: You’re still working for them? I really wish you wouldn’t. Think about all the legitimate work we can get like tonight. Don’t go, walk away.
SAM CASH: I know, but I don’t really have a choice right now.
ASANA: Be careful.
CITY STREETS, DHAKA, BANGLADESH 6PM
Sam Cash is packed into a pocket of darkness in an auto-rickshaw crowded closely by several young friends. Dressed like a hip-hop crew, rough around the edges and confidence up front. He’s reading something on his phone and seems preoccupied. The auto-rickshaw moves through the masses of the morning commute and congested streets.
SAM CASH: (Inhaling and quietly speaking to himself) Yeah...That might be it. Searching his thoughts with his eyes.
SAM CASH: Yeah, that is it.
His friends look at him with blank faces.
SAM CASH: Hey, I’m going to America for a little bit. Let’s meet up when I get back.
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, WASHINGTON DC, ABOUT 6AM
Dr. Mark Ruffalo is seated on couch in a nice suite. Empty coffee cup next to him on the windowsill, computer on his lap and he’s typing really fast. He’s a gifted, seasoned, and supremely talented, professional computer programmer writing computer code. There’s a methodical eloquence to the way he plays the keyboard. He stops, and looks at the newly written text on screen. He holds a hand up.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: (speaking to himself) That's not it. Is it? Nope not it.
He looks out the window and exhales. His 5 year old daughter LUCY, approaches him from adjoining bedroom behind him.
LUCY: Good morning Dad.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Lucy!!! Good morning beautiful! How are you?
LUCY: Fine thank you. What are you doing?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Ah nothing really, just looking out the window, check it out. It’s beautiful here.
She climbs into his lap, he pushes the computer to the side. The phone rings, he answers.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Hey man...yeah no problem whatsoever. Oh yeah, I’ll be fine, although...No. No. I’ll be fine, no it’s just that they want me over there early...True, But this way the security can stay with Grace and Lucy. I’ll be fine on my own, nobody is...yeah, it will be completely fine. I know, thank you. But I’m good. No problem at all. Hey, thanks a million.
Hangs up the phone. And shifts his focus back to his daughter who has nested in his lap.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Should we do some flash cards.
LUCY: Thanks a million, no Dad. No thank you.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Maybe, we’ll just look out the window?
Careful not to disturb her, he stretches his arm and leans to reach the carafe of coffee and then grabs his cup and carefully pours a refill. Takes a drink and snuggles in with her. He savors the moment. His wife and pediatric oncologist, DR. GRACE RUFFALO enters the room.
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Lucy, are you getting ready to go? Remember last night, you said there would be no problems.
Lucy walks reluctantly towards the bedroom.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Good morning
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Is there coffee?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Oh yes, it’s there... Good morning?
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Good morning.
As she, pours a cup of coffee from the carafe.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Did you sleep ok? Are you feeling any better?
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Yes, I needed that. How about you?
She takes a slow drink from the coffee cup.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Mmm...not that great, but I was productive.
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Yeah? OK, nice.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: I’ll tell you about it later. It’s kind of cool though.
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Yeah, I can feel that. Good job. It’s a date.
She sits next to him, sipping her coffee and enjoying the view.
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Ahh, Good morning. I like this view.
Resting her head on his shoulder
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: ...I gotta make some calls. How much time do I have? What time do we need to leave again?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Uh, well...
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Yes?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Are you sure everything is ok?
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Yes....Ok, Yes, I’m a little stressed but everything’s fine. I don’t really want to talk about it right now.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Totally understandable, no pressure...I mean, I’m not trying to add any additional pressure. Um, I need to change the topic, well um, so there’s been a slight change. Everything is fine, but I’m going to go early. You guys take your time. The car will stay here with you. I’ll take a taxi(autonomous vehicle). Don’t worry about a thing, come over whenever you want.
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Are you sure? Are you sure that’s a good idea?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Yes, absolutely. No problem. Just call Jonathan when you’re ready to go. That way you can relax and enjoy the morning. Most of all don’t worry about me.
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Is Bill going with you?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: He’s already there.
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Are you ready to go now?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Yeah, almost.
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Did you run through Lucy’s flash cards with her?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Uh....no.
She turns to look at him and raises a hand up open palm. He speaks in his defense.
DR. MARK RUFFALO: We were looking out the window.
DR. GRACE RUFFALO: Is that what you’re wearing? Isn’t this fancy conference being broadcast?
DR. MARK RUFFALO: Just, well yeah. That’s a good point. But you know how it is, mostly a bunch of nerdy types. They’re coming to hear us talk not to see what we’re wearing...But I’ll put a sports coat on, that’s all anyone really cares about.
Kisses his wife, hugs Lucy and heads off to the bedroom in a hurry.
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, WASHINGTON DC - MINUTES LATER
DR. MARK RUFFALO getting into an autonomous taxi.
INT. IMF GLOBAL TECH CONFERENCE, WASHINGTON D.C.
A panel group is seated on stage. At the center of the panel is the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde. In progress.
CHRISTINE LAGARDE: ...I beg your pardon, what? Can you repeat that JOHN?
JOHN CHAMBERS: 15 Billion computers on our way to half a trillion.
She nods her head.
JOHN CHAMBERS: It’s human innovation compiled at global scale combined with AI, and advanced data analytics, and cheap storage and virtualization. As you move from connecting a few million computers to the Internet in the first wave to 100 Billion in less than 5 years. It’s going to transform every business model. As Ray was saying, world class education is free and online. People in every country can participate in this new economy.
CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Do you agree Leila Jonah?
LEILA: I absolutely do. Our core belief is that talent is equally distributed around the world but opportunity is not. But what if we could use technology to reach into the poorest communities in the world? We connected very low income people, people that come exclusively from slums and rural areas, and make an average income of around $2 per day. We recruit them and train them to do technology work at local data centers that we build around the world. There’s a 10 year girl out there right now, maybe she’s only 8. Anyway she’s out there and she’s got the cure for cancer inside here head. Or maybe she’ll solve our most dire energy or environmental problems. Either way, she’s already out there and she’s going to change the world. Let’s make sure she doesn’t die of hunger or some other preventable affliction.
INT. HQ, 40 FOOT CONTAINER OFFICE
Asana working on her computer, decides to make a video call.
INT. FARAH’S HOUSE, SURABAYA, INDONESIA
FARAH: Hey Asana, I was going to call you today.
ASANA: How’s it going?
FARAH: I’m good, really good. How about you?
ASANA: Yeah great. It’s almost surreal.
FARAH: Is Madison joining us?
ASANA: No, she’s not available right now. I hope she’s safe.
FARAH: Yeah, I know. I talked to her earlier. I’m worried about her.
ASANA: I’m worried too.
FARAH (awkward transition) Well...She’s ok. She’s ok. So I’m almost finished with my
ASANA: Ok, that’s great. I know you had the biggest job, so I just wanted to check-in.
FARAH: Aahh. You’re the best. I could definitely use the help.
ASANA: Perfect, I’ll read your doc and call you back.
INT. IMF GLOBAL TECH CONFERENCE, WASHINGTON D.C.
CHRISTINE LAGARDE: “Too low they build, who build beneath the stars.” It reads in our rafters.
She points up to the ceiling.
CHRISTINE LAGARDE: We are in a moment when the world can experience a new burst of creativity in solving our shared challenges. As we know, 90% of the worlds data has been created in the last two years. And some of us older folks feel a little dismayed by this, but the fact is that everything is now moving faster, information, money, disease, you name it from good ideas to pure evil. These transformations can bring us enormous opportunities, but they also bring us massive risk. Because, like never before, what happens in one nation; happens in all nations. Weapons of mass destruction, cyber security, to our global financial system.
RAY KURZWEIL: We’re entering an age of acceleration. The models underlying society at every level, which are largely based on a linear model of change, are going to have to be redefined. What we are experiencing is innovation on a exponential scale. And yet we still have a great deal of the world that doesn’t have access to clean drinking water, high quality medical care, education, and Internet access.
EXT. FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, WASHINGTON DC, MAIN ENTRANCE
A large autonomous conversion van is driving down the street and pulls to the curb and parks. The side door opens and a steady stream of 3” diameter drones armed with razor blades begin to emerge. Soon there’s a swarm of over three thousand. As the last of the drones leave the van, four single wheeled robots exit and speed towards the hotel main entrance. The robots are similar to skate boards but capable of smashing through glass door like a battering ram. The swarm of armed drones is flying in formation down a street following the robots which are gaining speed. They approach the hotel entrance and smash through the glass doors. The drones enter the lobby. People scream in terror.
INT. IMF GLOBAL TECH CONFERENCE, WASHINGTON D.C.
JOHN CHAMBERS: ...With the Internet era...it effected only a percentage of the population. Even in the US there’s been a significant digital divide between the haves and have nots. This next wave that we are now about to enter will transform every country on the globe. And there will be no entitlements. It will be a period where you disrupt or you get disrupted. Economically for the people in the room, my view is that you’re talking about 19 Trillion dollars in incremental growth. That’s 1-3% on top of every GDP in the world for the next decade...if countries move on it. When you really think about GDP growth. 1-3% incrementally.
STAGE MANAGER is ending a phone call. He takes a deep breath exhales and makes another call.
STAGE MANAGER: Hey Teddy, I just got a call from a friend at DCPD. He said, there’s been some kind of bombing at the Four Seasons. Yeah, he said it was drones. Definitely fatalities. Teddy, they can’t find Ruffalo’s wife and daughter. They are sending agents over here to talk to DR. MARK RUFFALO. We need to get him off the stage.