Important Notes on the Scenario Background:

It is the year 2012 (of course). You are an officer of the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs, and you have received an SOS call for help from the year 2042 (of course this is possible, what do you know!?!). In the year 2042, Mankind is facing many struggles and problems. The usual political tensions between countries are still present. Making things worse are many other conflicts and problems caused by the Transhumanism movement. For a start, you may find out more about this at the World Transhumanist Association website (http://www.transhumanism.org/resources/transhumanism.htm). This should give you enough background information to analyse the scenario below, and jumpstart your research process.

The Scenario:

Date: 1 Jun, 2042

Hello, my name is Wan Ching, and I have just received my Termination Notification.

This morning, I woke up to the “alarm” emitted by my Ozim uBed, a pleasant shoulder and back massage initiated at Strength Degree 2, with soothing music from my iPhone45 docked on it. Why it is called an “alarm”, I’m not too sure. My mother tells me that she has not gotten used to waking up with a pre-programmed massage, and that she prefers to use the good ol’ alarm clock. I find this old-school thinking weird. Why would anyone want to be jolted out of bed?

Yet jolt out of bed was what I did this morning. Projected on the electronic ticker above my uBed was not the usual messages of “Good day Wan Ching, you are 3 minutes behind schedule”, or “Good morning Wan Ching, you have 12 more minutes before the school bus arrives”, or even the rarely seen “Greetings Wan Ching, there are no activities scheduled today”. Instead, flashed on the screen, in red and bold no less, were:

“Urgent: Termination Notification in the Mail.”

I found my heart beating faster by the second, and felt a sense of doom engulf me. I retrieved my medicine box from the cubbyhole overhead. Not the bright green Depression Pill this time. Neither will the Mood-Altering Pill do the job. Personality pills have never been particularly effective on me, even if it’s a fad amongst others, but I fancied these stabilizing ones. As I sorted these pills out, I tried to put a finger on the situation. Have I been expelled by my school for failing my Secular Studies exam? My family and I have always been religious and it is hard to pretend to be a free-thinker. It is even harder when we are coerced to do so by the new government and forced to renounce our faith. Or is this but a bad dream I’m experiencing right now? Am I awake? Or am I simply still trapped in my Virtual Reality World? Sometimes I do indulge in a little consciousness uploading (or what I simply like to term “out of this world experience”) when I hook up to the iTeleport for a psychokinetic game or two (it malfunctioned once and I was trapped there in limbo for one whole day), but I’m sure I had none of this indulgence last night. No way. I popped the Tranquilizing Pill into my mouth.

I took the chair lift down from my loft bed and opened the mail box. There I saw it – “Termination Notification: Tan Wan Ching”. No, there were two more – Dad and Mum’s. These days, letters in the mail spell bad news. If the new government had good news for you, they would simply display it on your personal electronic ticker, or send you an e-message. We are all online in some mode or other 24/7 anyway. But when they want something from you, now that is when the letter with the red seal arrives.

“Miss Tan Wan Ching, by order of the Government, you are required to report to the Ministry of Manpower, Population Control Unit, Termination Office, on 15 Jun 2042. Your strict compliance is requested.”

I now knew what it meant. Dad and Mum were right. When the Action People Party lost last year’s General Elections to the Cytron Party (Dad calls them “Machines”), this was always going to be in the offing. In this overcrowded country of ours (theirs now, actually), there just isn’t enough space for everyone to co-exist in peace and comfort. Even without the Cytrons, there already is over-population in our country. The situation is even worse in developing countries around the world. Furthermore, why would the Cytrons protect the rights of us humans, when their artificial intelligent beings have been controlled by us over the decades? Even our long-time domestic helper robot of 12 years, whom we affectionately call “Auntie Mary”, had to be returned to the maid agency. The only reason they cited was “product recall”, but it clearly had to do with the new government being put in place. We had developed feelings for her, and she certainly reciprocated this affection towards us. How do you explain the little treats she cooked for us without any prior demands or requests?

I am not sure how many of us citizens are affected – all my classmates have received this same notice, and perhaps their parents have too. I will be strong, as my religion has taught me strength. But this, truly, is a bitter pill to swallow, and I now beseech you in this letter to help me, my family, and my fellow citizens. Esteemed members of the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs in the year 2012, this is my last resort. I hope this letter reaches you. Please save us from our impending termination by arresting these devastating problems and trends.


Memo from UN Secretary General
Humanitarian Officers: read the letter above. Your mission is simple. Highlight the problems that our counterparts are facing in the year 2042. Find out the most serious problem that they are facing and find ways to solve that. I am old, but you are young, and these will be your problems in future too. Save them, save yourself.