Rosie saw a problem.
Rosie was a well respected leading scientist in her field of research. She had the smarts and ability to devise a solution to the problem. So that’s what Rosie did.
After years of research and trials, late nights with numbers, schematics, experiments, other research scientists, and numerous volunteer test subjects, Rosie had a solution. Rosie had an invention.
Rosie had an invention that could change the world.
Rosie was proud of her invention. So were her family, friends, and the colleagues that helped her along the way. Rosie’s invention could revolutionize the world. It could change everything.
But she knew, deep down, that the world wasn’t quite ready for her invention.
Rosie had invented a way to make all people look the same. All people. Her invention was based on a simple question, what if we all saw everyone the same way? No gender, race, or other visible identity but instead, what if we saw everyone as a generic human?
Rose invented and emitter that created a holographic image that turned the user into an “Everyone”. It eliminated color, size, physical differences, and gender by creating an image of a gender-less blue person with blue eyes and blue hair.
Rosie and her team knew it was a risk, choosing blue. But they wanted to avoid any natural skin color and the biases that come with it, the good and the bad. They also thought about offering a variety of skin and eye colors – all crayon boxy, rainbow like colors to eliminate any resemblance to actual skin color – as well as a variety of hair styles.
But the research indicated that giving people options might defeat the purpose of an “Everyone”. If groups of people started associating themselves with a particular color or hairstyle, new biases and prejudices might be created. So they stuck with one, albeit slightly unusual image, a blue gender-less “Everyone”.
Rosie wanted to go into production, but she wanted a patent to help her team get funding. Even if her team used a fundraising platform to generate their start-up capital, they still wanted a patent to protect their design and the work of all the scientists who helped Rosie along the way. So Rosie applied for a patent.
But the patent office had questions. Lots of questions.
How would people know…
Who to hire?
Who went to a good school?
Who is the most qualified for a job?
Who gets paid more?
Who is good at math?
Who are the gifted students?
Who needs tutoring?
Who is violent?
Who should go to college?
Who should go to trade school?
Who needs reduced or free lunches?
Who are the bad people?
Who are the good people?
Which neighborhoods are good?
Which neighborhoods are bad?
Who is up to no good?
Who is athletic?
Who should we sit next to on a bus or in a crowd?
Who is a shoplifter or thief?
Who gets seated where at a restaurant?
Who to hold a door open for?
Who should get a loan or a mortgage?
Who is a drug addict?
Who is a drug dealer?
Who is an alcoholic?
Who owns their home?
Who rents their home?
Who is homeless?
Who is creative?
Who is a leader?
Who owns their own business?
Who is a CEO?
Who is guilty?
Who is a good parent?
Who is a single parent?
Who is married?
Who is from a single parent home?
Who is from a traditional family?
Who is heterosexual?
Who is not heterosexual?
Who is transgender?
Who is musically gifted?
Who is a good cook?
Who should do the laborious work?
Who works in an office?
Who is a criminal?
Who is working illegally?
Her thoughts and answers were almost as swift as their questions; data, observations, results, track records, and talking to people. All things that scientists like herself use to draw conclusions. All things that could, and should, be useful ways to answer all of these questions.
And the questions kept coming. Hundreds of them. As they became more and more ridiculous – like how to tell who can swim or who needs a haircut – Rosie stopped trying to answer.
Yet, they were still asking questions. The patent review board had stopped looking at Rosie when they asked their questions. They had circled up into their own group; they were frantic and panicked. Rosie could see it in their gesticulating, and hear it in their voices.
She sat there and watched. She watched as this group of people worked themselves into a frenzy worrying about who was going to do what and how that would challenge their idea of a perfect world.
Rosie stood. No one noticed. They were to concerned about their world shattering. Rosie slowly, methodically, packed up her presentation.
“Sorry to have wasted your time. I can see now that my design has a few flaws.” Rosie said sweetly.
“That’s ok, hon. Maybe you should run the design past Dr. Smith. He might be able to help you make a few improvements.” One of them replied.
Rosie shook her head and sighed, “Who do you think advised Dr. Smith on his last research project? Who do you think runs the research facility that hired Dr. Smith?”
Still smiling as sweetly as she could manage, Rosie continued, a touch of sadness in her voice. “You know what. I told her she was wrong. I told her to have faith. Faith that the people making these decisions would understand how amazing this prototype is. I told her to believe in it – that it really could change the world.”
“But, I can see how wrong I was,” Rosie straightened up and faced the panel of people before her. She tapped the name tag on her lab coat and began to shimmer like someone in a science fiction movie about to teleport. When the shimmering stopped, Dr. Smith was standing before the patent review board.
“Dr. Smith!” the review board exclaimed, “You’re invention is amazing. We’ll review the plans you’ve given us and get back to you as soon as we can!”
“That’s ok Gentlemen, Dr. Rosie is withdrawing her application for a patent.” Dr. Smith sighed as he turned and left the patent office.