I went to visit my friend Mike in the Futura City, about two hours away from mine. I hadn’t seen him for over two years even though we conversed several times every day over the video phone and it was like a real face-to-face meeting. “Mike, I need an item of equipment for my office.” “Why don’t you visit Mr. Eyesee?” he said questioningly. Now I am beginning to understand the new language. I picked up my magazine-like tablet, flipped it open and said to it, “Mr. Eyesee, are you there?” “Yes Dr. Ben,” he replied, as his picture popped up in front of me. ”Is this your office,” I asked. “Yes,” Eyesee replied and added, “You want to buy Combigan.” Startled, I asked, “How do you know what I wanted? This is dangerous! You are reading my mind.” “No. It isn’t dangerous, Dr. Ben, you have a Thought Activating Transmitter (ATC) in your bracelet. You forgot to switch it off,” he replied. I remembered that I had requested for it two days before. So, Clive forgot to turn it off after the installation. I wonder how many people have been able to read my thoughts since then. “I have the record of two and only because they are wired like you and I.” Why can’t I read your thoughts?” I asked. “Wait a minute,” Eyesee said. I saw him fumble with his bracelet and then he said, “We can now talk without speaking.” “You mean a speechless conversation? You reading my thoughts and I, reading yours!” “Yes,” Eyesee replied, without opening his mouth and I understood very well.
My thoughts wandered at the uniqueness of his office. A large space like a dining room and a central table with a special computer. I have never seen this type of computer before. There were no books on his table and not a single piece of paper. How can someone do this type of business in this small room? “Don’t worry, there is enough space for me to display anything you want in this office. I use a virtual display technology.” As he swivelled in his chair, a panel appeared instantaneously in front of him. I could see varieties of Combigan machines. My mind narrowed to two. Still thinking, “Which shall I choose?” “The one in the centre will meet all your needs. I can see that you like it.” I nodded in agreement. “It is just four thousand dollars.” “I am not enjoying this speechless conversation,” I blurted out! “I know. You may switch off your mind-reader,” he said and pointed at my bracelet. I switched off my transmitter immediately.
“When may I collect it?” I asked, quite relieved to be talking again. “Just you wait,” Eyesee, replied. As he pressed a button on his chair, a brief humming sound followed. It will be ready in five minutes. He guessed correctly, my next question as he went on to explain, “I am using a 3D printer. 3D printing is made possible by fusing layers upon layers of materials made from a mixture of durable plastics and metals based on a template, designed with a 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. With this technology you can create designs and print 3D-Models of anything under the sun, provided you have the templates.” True to his words, the Combigan machine was ready in exactly five minutes. The cost was deducted directly from my wallet.
The Combigan was delivered to my driverless car, waiting outside Mike’s house within 15 minutes. How it got inside I couldn’t tell. The car opened automatically for me as I approached it. I entered and said, “Honey, please take me home.” In a jiffy, it was on the move, stopping at every traffic light and obeying all the traffic rules without any interference from me. As I was about to enter my house, Mike called to inform me that I was the last person to speak to Eyesee? What happened? I hope he is alive! I exclaimed frightfully, hoping nothing untoward had happened to him. Mike burst out into a hilarious laughter! When he came out of it, he said, “Eyesee is a robot not a human being. He’s a product of artificial intelligence and robotics. And you know what? Both were designed by Nigerian gurus of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. I opened my mouth wide in disbelief.
Truth or Fiction
While the story is a fiction based on the writer’s perception of what things will be in the advanced countries of the world by the year 2022, just three years away from now. The technologies described are real or undergoing development. Incidentally, a few days ago, I met one of the leading gurus of Artificial intelligence at a conference. Dr Stephen Odaibo, a Nigerian, based in USA, is the founder and CEO of Retina AI Health, a company building Artificial Intelligence to improve healthcare. He is an ophthalmologist who subspecialised in Retina care. He is also a mathematician, a computer scientist, and a Full-Stack Ai Engineer. Dr. Odaibo is the only ophthalmologist in the world with advanced degrees in both Math and Computer Science. RETINA-AI Health has built a system to screen for diabetic retinopathy in the community and the company has expressed clear interest in partnering with Eleta Eye Institute’s Centre for Eye Health & Retina Care to help eradicate blindness due to diabetes in Oyo State and other parts of Nigeria. I am yet to meet the robotic engineer. If anyone knows him, please tell him that Nigeria also needs him. -eye