The young, blonde woman smiled at the camera. "Tonight, we have a special treat for all of you at home: the discoverer of the Zeitgeist field and inventor of the Hegelometer. He's also the author of the new book What Your Hegelometric Score Really Means and Secretary of Science and Technology. Please welcome to the show, here to discuss the impact his invention has had on us over the last twenty years, Doctor Sigismund Utana!"
She stood up and joined the audience in applauding as an older man walked onto the stage, dressed in an entirely black suit. The two shook hands and sat down next to each other. "Thank you for having me on the show again, Diane."
"Thank you for coming, Doctor Utana. You must be busy with the twentieth anniversary of the Hegelometer approaching. It's hard to believe that just twenty years ago, such a basic part of life didn't even exist."
"Well, I'm never too busy to educate. It is quite heart-warming to see the appreciation that society has shown for the Hegelometer and– You know, I never liked that name. We had intended to call it the Zeitgeist Field Synchronization Detector, but, well, you know memes, they have a life of their own, and as soon as one reporter dubbed it the Hegelometer, it just took off. I didn't even want to put it in the title, but my editors, they all insisted. But I digress. The appreciation that's been shown for the Hegelometer is nothing short of remarkable."
"Yes, there was quite the controversy when it first came out, I remember. Why do you think that was?"
"It was misunderstood. It's still misunderstood, but less so, but when it first came out, no one really understood what exactly it was measuring. I think that the results of the '88 election really helped to demonstrate the predictive power of the Hegelometer to people. If we hadn't tested all three candidates, I don't think it would have become so widely used so soon.
"But back when we first introduced it, people thought that we were just reducing everyone to a number, that we were claiming that the entirety of a person's being could be distilled into their score, and of course, that's just not true, and that's really what my book is about. I want people to better comprehend what, exactly, someone's score tells you about them."
"If I can interrupt you, doctor, I'd like to discuss some of your detractors. What would you say to someone who says that the Hegelometer is dehumanizing, that it ignores their personality and experiences in favor of this single synchronization score."
"Well honestly Diane, I'd say that it sounds like sour grapes from a losing candidate. We've never, never, made any claims that someone's score does anything more or less than demonstrate how in sync they are with the Zeitgeist field. People with low scores aren't necessarily bad people or unimportant people. It's impossible to measure, of course, but it's almost certain that someone like Cato, for example, would have had a terribly low score, but he has still an important and moral individual."
"That hasn't stopped people from trying to determine what famous figures' scores would have been, though, has it?"
"Unfortunately not. The Hegelometer is a very precise device, and there is absolutely no way to get an accurate estimate for what someone's score might be without measuring them directly. I blame that biographer, erm, Rot, Rote ... Rotstein! He started it all when he claimed that Napoleon's score would have been one thousand and some nonsense, and I remind you, that no one alive has ever been found to have a score in excess of three hundred, and suddenly every biographer had to claim that their subject had an even higher score or else it was admitting that you weren't studying someone as important, and it's all really contributed to the confusion about what the score represents.
"What it represents is this: how greatly an individual fits with the Zeitgeist of the culture in which they exist. If you think of everyone as a, as a little line segment on a graph, everyone has their own slope, and the Zeitgeist has its own slope, and really what we're measuring is how close you are to the Zeitgeist, and what the Zeitgeist is, is the direction in which society is going to go. You can try to delay it, you can attempt to change its course slightly, but there isn't any way to stop it: the Agricultural Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Transhumanism Revolution, all of these processes are inevitable so long as humanity continues to exist.
"So what someone's Hegelometric score indicates is how in sync with the future an individual is. A study came out just last month, from Cornell University, that showed that those societies which most greatly utilize Zeitgeist field technologies, for elections, for example, had, on average, a better quality of life, greater economic growth, and a happier citizenry. Why, it's very possible that if they hadn't embraced the technology, Argentina wouldn't be the world power it is today."
"I'm glad you mentioned elections, Doctor Utana, because that's really where your technology has found the most use. Some people have accused you of creating a new aristocracy with your Hegelometer. What would you say to that?"
.... There is more of this story ...
Science Fiction /