“Welcome to Anthrocube,” said the computer voice as the couple entered the restaurant. Hoping to save a failing marriage Misha thought she and her husband would try something new.
Anthrocube was a different kind of restaurant. Instead of sitting privately to oneself, couples, groups, or even single persons were invited to have dinner with another couple, group, or single person in the restaurant that neither had ever met before.
It was not known at first, but Anthrocube restaurants were in fact part of a grand social experiment to rehabilitate a failing society. They were integrated and funded by an online social logistics company who also ran their own social network (also not known to patrons).
Scientists behind the grand experiment poured over databases of material from their social network and those of others before building the nation-wide restaurants. Patrons had no idea what they were really volunteering for when they hit the “I Agree” button on the social sites they visited as many never read the Terms of Service which included all kinds of phrases and clauses technically allowing scientists to stalk them.
Social data revealed trend-setters and active conversationalists. There were those who influenced many and points on the social ladder where chain-letter-like conversations died on the vine. Charts and labels were numerous by the end of the first stage of the project and funding was in place to open the restaurants.
People who worked at the restaurants were also scientists, primers they were called. Selected patrons were sent special membership cards with no real knowledge as to why they were selected. The reality of a nation was that relationships were growing stagnant, productivity was falling, crime was rising, something had to be done to shuffle the cards in the deck.
The first reviews of the restaurant were amazing. People reported social conversations like they had never had before. Requests for memberships cards came flooding in, but only an elite of selected patrons were allowed to enter the doors, at first.
As anticipated within a few years divorce rates among patrons began to skyrocket, as did the number of the jobless. People wanted the experience in the Anthrocube to last forever. For some period of time there was a rash of mental illness as society pivoted away from doing what society “felt” it had to do, as opposed to doing what society really wanted to be doing. At first there were many single parents, but the nation continued and after almost ten years it began to flourish once again.
Scientists were so pleased as to the way things were going they titled the process the Social Bomb and operatives within the intelligence industry began to drop them through networks in other countries to both disrupt and identify those they wanted in the program.
A president many years before had spoken of a new order coming to the world, but even he had not anticipated that this is how it would occur. Not only were the operating systems of computers getting yearly and sometimes monthly upgrades; through the Anthrocube, so, too, were social relationships within societies.