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3 Minutes

Adam Walker is a designer, coder, and journalist from Cardiff who has written lots of first drafts and crafted hardly any final drafts. He hopes to change that and is currently collecting as many rejection letters as he can. He lives with his wife Mari and as many cats as they can possibly own without it being too weird. This is his first story in Daily Science Fiction.
When the app dropped it was downloaded 12 billion times in the first hour. By the end of the day everybody had it.
No one could resist the chance to find out what the future held, even if it was only 3 minutes into the future.
Nobody knew how it worked. It had been a while since anybody knew how anything worked. Algorithms wrote algorithms, nobody knew what they did. We were no longer in the realm of reason and logic; this was a world of magic. The magicians communicated with us through the app store, releasing bundles of code designed to help humanity.
Sometimes it was just a meme engineered to inspire as many people as possible. Sometimes a game that would relieve the boredom of our automated lives. This was different. This took all the data available, from the satellites in the sky to the underground cables connecting the continents, it took data from the nanobots coursing through our veins, from the cameras you couldn't escape, from the undeletable personal history of every single one of us and constructed an exact picture of the world. A picture so precise it could predict the future. Each prediction came with an accuracy level, this held up for 3 minutes before disintegrating into a stream of possibilities with accuracy levels no better than conjecture.
It turns out 3 minutes is not that much. When you stared at the app with its running commentary of your future, mostly it said you'd still be looking at the app in 3 minutes time. Some got obsessed, hypnotized by the stream of predictions. After a while, most people got bored and just set the alert to warn them if danger loomed on the 3 minute horizon. Accidents became a thing of the past.
After a while the app, with its magical abilities, became just another process running in the background. But 2 minutes ago everybody got the same message: Prediction accuracy 100%: You are going to die.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019


I have a habit of checking the weather app on my phone whenever I'm planning something to see if it will be raining--I live in Wales, so the answer is usually yes, it will be raining. I started thinking how you could predict what I was going to do using the one data point of weather and the idea of an app that had access to all data predicting my personal future started to form. Even with all the data available, these predictions would only hold up for a very short period of time so I imagined what an app that could see 3 minutes into the future would tell me if I was looking at it on my phone right now, the answer was obvious, it would tell me I'd still be looking at my phone.

- Adam Walker
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