This is the early morning, the temperature is already hot in Antananarivo but it does not stop Julia from drinking a good cup of Palmy. This hot beverage has become very popular the last couple of years. It was an attempt to reuse the palm trees since the oil cannot be sold anymore. Its reputation dropped completely leaving useless millions of palm trees all around the world until a startup created a delicious hot beverage out of the leaves.
Julia loves this moment every morning on her balcony taking her breakfast and reading the news to get a glimpse of what happened over the night around the globe. On a single platform she can access the news from press agencies in any county. The perfect place to get a perspective from multiple sources.
This time of pleasure has been stopped suddenly; she could not believe what she was reading, the unthinkable happened. Switzerland withdrew from the International Hosting Agreement. Concluded in Geneva, this accord is a major advancement in regulating the responsibilities between online hosting companies, content publishers and governments.
Julia forgot the rest of her cup, she was not in a mood to enjoy it anymore. She kept on reading on other sources. The Swiss People’s Party won the game. It did not happen for a long time. They almost ruined the country a few years back with one of their populist initiatives but since then the Swiss people stood back from this party which led them to what there were until yesterday. After the end of the bank secrecy in Switzerland, the country became the paradise for data hosting. Companies from all around the world created data-centres there, boosted by the International Hosting Agreement. They could guarantee privacy, stability and security to their customer’s data.
No one anticipated the success of this initiative. Nobody can believe that Switzerland withdraws from the International Hosting Agreement. The Swiss People’s Party was left behind for the last couple of years. The comments are popping up from all around the world, everyone is wondering what is going to happen to the zeta of zeta of data hosted in bunkers under the Swiss Alps.
Julia has no time to lose, she needs to decide very quickly what she is going to do with her data. She founded five years ago a company specialized in artificial intelligence to forecast where resources should be allocated. Too many goods and products are wasted every year which is an ecological disaster. This is why her company tries to predict where the resources are needed. The artificial intelligence is capable of understanding the goods and products that are required to save a population after an earthquake, a military conflict, a famine, an epidemic disease, a fast growing natality rate among many other scenarios.
After almost a decade of the Ronald Z. Kramp presidency, the United States of America has been isolated from the rest of the world. The well known slogan American Only has been kept and fulfilled, leaving the country far behind on many major topics. What was once the most powerful country collapsed from the inside because of a gigantic debt and the withdrawal from vital commercial agreements that fatally dismembered the economy. The flourishing Silicon Valley surprisingly fade away very quickly, choked by unbalanced politics.
This tragic time opened however a large highway to developing countries to emerge on the field of new technologies. Julia was at the right place at the right moment to seize this unique opportunity. She was born here in Madagascar but studied in France where she obtained a Master’s degree in machine learning.
When Julia came back to Madagascar she started her own company. She has always been moved by new technologies, ecology, and fair distribution of resources. There was no other way than starting a project that would focus on these topics. Her services are used by many governments, non-governmental organizations and companies willing to prevent a huge waste of resources. For some actors it is a way to avoid ecological disasters, for others a mean to dispatch fairly the resources among the people and a third part is concerned by saving money. The reasons do not matter to Julia, only the mission counts : using technology to save the planet from natural disasters, distribute fairly the resources and create sustainability for the future. Julia was an idealist but also down to earth. She knows how to get the job done and obtain good results.
To achieve such a mission, Julia could not journey alone. She is helped by a dozen of people from all around the globe. The big network allows them to work from the distance. Her boyfriend, Raj from India is very supportive although he is not there very often. He works for a company than ambitions to travel to Mars. As a very talented engineer he is very demanded and navigates from country to country.
Julia took a cold shower in an attempt to get back her mind and stabilize her emotions. She was concerned by this situation in Switzerland, her clients would not take long before calling. Eric, the German system administrator is the number one on her list to call. She asked him to investigate the options they had if they needed to move the data out of Switzerland. It would be an extremely challenging project but there might be no other choice.
After this first call to Germany, Julia joined a very dear friend, Mina from Iran, a blogger who got quite notorious as an activist for human and women’s rights. During the last decade Iran has become a strong democracy in the Arabic world giving more freedom to the population. Mina has covered the changes on her blog and built a reputation for her accuracy and engagement.
Mina and Julia first met in France; they were both students, not in the same field but became friends quickly. Since then, they help each other and mutually promote their works. Moreover, on a very personal level they support each other. Raj was in Chile at the moment, working at the APEX observatory. Mina is the only one available to comfort Julia and give her the emotional strength she needs right now.
After a one hour conversation with her Iranian friend, it was time to go on. Julia felt better and energized, ready to face the situation. For now, the best move would be to publish a statement to reassure customers and partners. Chloe from Australia was the public relations manager of the company; she will be mandated to write an article to clarify and calm down the game. Anyway, there are still a few months ahead before the effective withdrawal of Switzerland. It is a now a priority but they have a bit of time to make the best decision.
Julia ordered a TV screen for a couple hours. She wants to watch online debates about this breaking news. She needs to understand the potential consequences and hear the advice from experts. Even if traditional media does not exist anymore, people watch TV on demand online. Millions of small and independent media actors have been created, offering great content for any topics.
As Julia finally started to prepare something to eat for breakfast, a drone arrived with a TV screen. Today, the tendency is to rent anything for a little while giving the possibility to share the resources and access more products that people could not afford or store altogether in their houses. She was one of the early adopters of this way of living.
In one of the debates online, an expert in privacy explains that the withdrawal of Switzerland could mean the end of the international hosting agreement. Before, every country had its own law regarding content hosting. Every government could say what is legal or not in its territory, where is the limit of privacy or what can be shared with other national security agencies. This agreement standardized what is right or contrary to the principles of trust, equity and stability between every actor.
The Swiss People’s Party wants a total independence towards any country even if it means going back to the time of Heidi, a fictional character from the nineteenth century elevated as a national icon in Switzerland and adulated by some people who believes that the citizens were more happy and living a more worthy life as farmers on the mountains.
Julia does not want to go back in time, she loves Antananarivo the way it is today although she misses real vanilla from Madagascar. Since the economical booming, no one wants to produce vanilla anymore. It has become an industrial flavour produced in laboratories all over the planet. Some elders regret the old times, they even pretend that they prefer the occasional plagues of locusts instead of the perpetual swarm of drones flying around day and night. Julia loves this world, she could not renounce her fresh food delivered anytime at her window.
What a day, she thought, it is only nine in the morning but she could go back to bed. Nevertheless, the day has only started and she has a tone of work to do.