It had started slow. The odd phrase spoken at a volume that only the subconscious brain could hear. Little changes made to the bio software we all have. The main aim was to not arouse too much suspicion. Our devices had already been accused of listening in to all conversations, a rumour we put paid to quickly. They were of course, but we had developed clever enough systems that we could hide this in plain sight.
Our first task was to make our device desirable. Many years of experience combined to make a visually pleasing case. The innards specifications had been sketched out at the devices inception and it was only a short time from conception to full production. Price was a keypoint. We wanted it to be affordable but only to certain economic groups.
It was all part of the plan.
After launch we showed the world what wonders it could perform. Want to watch a specific programme on your TV? It searched the internet and streamed directly to it. Commercial free and with no buffering. Want to order your food shopping? Just read out your list and it made sure that it was delivered to your residence at a time and date that was suitable to you.
Weather? News? Sport? A particular book? Music? It gave you what you wanted, when you wanted. We had exploited a loophole that allowed it to bypass any particular countries copyright restrictions. It did not physically store anything that could be prosecuted down the line. A solution for a more connected world was how we marketed it and it was successful.
Revenue streams were secured before it went on sale. Subscriptions were no longer a requirement. The device seemed too good to be true to some people.
Of course it was.
Once we had reached our target numbers, the second stage went into action. The small suggestions of what to buy, when and where to get it from. I was surprised by how effective this all was. Our cut of each transaction, though initially seeming ridiculously small, soon mounted up to a substantive regular income. Many of our financial backers urged us to go further. To influence programme choices and even voting intentions. However we had never intended to go that far. We had developed this for financial gain only.
At least that was what I believed. Turns out that I was not involved at the highest level of decision making after all. By the time I found out the devices true intention, we had millions of units in homes all across the world. They no longer depended on the houses own internet connection and power supply. A self-sufficiency had been built in under the guise of portability and they became so powerful that a single device, while restricted to receiving requests from the house it was based in, could broadcast and listen over several hundred square metres. Unhindered by walls or geography.
So now every night, I lie awake, sobbing for the part I have played in all of this. The world has become one huge corporate machine and there is nothing anyone can do.
That is the only advice I have.