Fiction: Tomorrow’s World, today!

Note for all except British readers of a certain age.  ‘Tomorrow’s World’ was a popular BBC TV programme about science.  It was famous for presenting scientific breakthroughs in a relentlessly cheerful manner, painting a future of a bright shiny technological tomorrow.  I’m still waiting for my personal jetpack.  Also famous for unconvincing banter between the presenters and wobbly sets, like most British TV of the 70s and 80s.

Here’s a 70s domme to put you in the mood, then on with the story…

[Sarah] Welcome to this special edition of Tomorrow’s World, where we’ll be reporting on what might be the most significant scientific breakthrough since the theory of gravity.  Researchers at the Marie Curie centre for female science have announced a new discovery that could revolutionise the way we live, work and spend our leisure time.  Karen’s been looking into it.
[Sarah] So, Karen, what’s all the fuss about?
[Karen] Thanks Sarah.  Well, details are still a bit sketchy at the moment, but we’re beginning to hear some fascinating hints about a new technique that’s been discovered called “slavery”.
[Sarah] “Slavery”, eh?  So what does it involve?
[Karen] The technical details haven’t yet been published, but if I understand the basic principle correctly, the idea is to force male humans to work without pay, complaining or stopping for breaks.
[Sarah] Sounds wonderful if it’s true – the sort of ‘free energy’ source scientists have been seeking for years.  But how can you make men work for free?  I can’t get my husband to wash the dishes even now.  I’d love to make him a slave, but how can I?
[Karen] Well, Sarah that’s where the science comes in.  (Turns to look at the camera) There are two basic elements to the breakthrough – lust and pain.  Lust comes in because it’s been discovered that men have an area of the brain that provides a strong sexual urge to be dominated and to serve women.  In a very few men, it’s already developed but in most it is merely nascent.  The researchers at the Marie Curie Centre have found a way to stimulate it in all men, so that we can use its effects.
[Sarah] Sounds great.  But you mentioned two elements – what’s the other?
[Karen] The other is punishment.  You see, if there’s only the lust developed men want to spend the whole day looking at porn or just gently licking women’s leather boots.  Pleasant enough, but not particularly productive.  But then the researchers tried whipping these men – and things turned out very different.  Let’s hear from one of the scientists involved.  (looks off to the side)
Cut away to a confident-looking blonde woman in her early forties, wearing a lab coat.
[Scientist] Well, we had a new form of male life – slaves – and that was very exciting, but we couldn’t find a way of getting any useful work out of them.  We tried various combinations of diet and chemical stimulants, with a small degree of success but not the large-scale useful activity we were really looking for.  Then it was one of our young interns, actually, who tried thrashing one of them on the buttocks with a stick.  We were all just amazed: he was cleaning around the lab, washing up some of the test equipment and making tea without a word of complaint.
Camera pulls back to reveal a range of implements on the lab bench beside her.
[Scientist] Following that breakthrough, we conducted a rigorous and comprehensive sequence of tests on different materials – mostly leather or wood, but some plastic and metal too – lengths of material, part of the body beaten, duration of the beating and so on.  We’re still making progress, actually, getting some very exciting results with new and exotic materials.  But it’s quite clear that very acceptable results can be achieved by using a willow cane or a leather strap or whip, as long as the beating is repeated on a fairly regular basis.
A clip is briefly shown of a man being flogged briskly with a leather riding whip, dancing frantically as he dangles from his shackles and howling in pain as each stroke falls.
Back in the studio
[Sarah] Amazing.  And these materials – willow, leather and so on – they’re quite cheap and easy to obtain?
[Karen] That’s right.  In fact, most of our viewers could probably fashion something workable just from old materials they might have lying around the house.  An old leather belt, the rubber drive belt from an old washing machine, or even some nice whippy twigs from some varieties of tree will all make perfectly adequate instruments of correction, and get your house spic and span in no time.
[Karen] Sounds almost too good to be true.  But will it really change the way that we live?  What will life in the future be like, when slavery is cheap and plentiful?
Karen gets up and walks over to where a “living room of the future” has been mocked up, mostly using shaky cardboard. She stands in front of it, talking directly to the camera.
[Karen] Well, a lot of things in the future will still look much the same, but the underlying technology will be very different.
She sits down in an armchair
[Karen] Take TV, for example.  At the moment, I have to ­– and she reaches to the side for a remote control with obvious effort – reach out for a remote control, then choose one of all these many, many buttons just to switch the TV on.  But in the future, I can simply say
[Karen] “Slave!  TV!”
A naked man scurries out from behind her chair, over to the TV, switches it on and then returns to his hiding place
[Karen] And the TV automatically switches on.  And similarly, if I want to change channels or adjust the volume…
She demonstrates, calling out different options and sending the slave hurrying back and forth to adjust the TV for her convenience
[Karen] Again, it’s all done automatically – and all without leaving my seat.
[Karen] But that is not what’s really impressive about this new technology.  After all, even today TVs could come with voice recognition, which might achieve the same effect. 
Close up of her face as she frowns thoughtfully at the camera
[Karen] But could a TV with voice recognition get you a drink?  You see a slave is versatile and flexible, and this very same slave that just made the TV work just how I want it, can also fix me a drink.  I just need to give a different command – like this.
[Karen] “Slave! Gin and tonic.”
The naked man hurries over to the sideboard, and swiftly mixes the drink, then kneels before the presenter with the finished product, ice clinking gently against the sides of the glass.  She reaches for it and takes a sip.
[Karen] Hmmm (smiles at the camera).  Not bad.  But it’s not exactly how I like it.  I prefer my G&T to have just a little less tonic, and to have a slice of lime in it rather than lemon.  You see, this slave has never made me a G&T before, so he doesn’t know my preferences.  But unlike a mechanical device, he can learn, so that in future he’ll get it just how I like it.
[Karen] And this is where the really clever science comes in.  Slave!  Fetch the cane!
The man rushes off and returns to kneel before her with a long, whippy yellow cane.  Karen reaches forward with a smile and picks it up.
[Karen] Now this (flexing it through the air while smiling at the camera) is one of the canes supplied by the researchers.  But it could just as easily be an ordinary household cane, or even an unravelled coat hanger, if that’s all you can find.  Now watch how I adjust the slave, so that next time he remembers how I like my drink.
[Karen] Slave!  Bend over the chair!
The man bends over, and Karen stands up, takes two steps forward and swings the cane hard to lash across his buttocks.  He howls and shudders, but remains bent over.
Karen smiles at the camera again.  Now I‘m no expert in the use of this thing (she flexes the cane gently) .  I’ve never even used one before today, when I had about ten minutes practice during rehearsals.  But you can see there, I’ve already produced quite a nice mark, right across his buttocks.  Now what that is doing is activating the pain receptors right across all that skin and flesh underneath that red line – do you see how it’s swelling slightly, if we can get the camera in on that? – and those receptors are sending signals all the way to his brain, where his ideas about how I like my drinks are being adjusted.  And those pain receptors are still firing away even now, getting on for a minute after the stroke.  He’ll continue to be in pain from this beating for anything from a few hours to even a few days afterwards.
[Karen] But of course, I don’t need to understand all that just to use the cane.  That’s the simplicity of this new technology.  I don’t need to know the science, all I need to know is that if something isn’t quite to my liking, I can just beat this slave until it’s sorted out.  Like this.
She proceeds to add three more angry red lines to the first, then commands the slave to return the cane to its holder and to make her another drink.
[Karen] And it’s not just drinks – the same slave will clean your house, do the laundry and iron your clothes, in fact, he will do anything in his power to make your life as comfortable and convenient as possible.
The slave has returned and kneels before her proffering the new G&T, trembling slightly.  She reaches for it, and takes a sip.
[Karen] Hmmm.  Perfect.  Just the way I like it.  And later on, I might try out his culinary skills.  I’ll see if I can – she half-smiles at the camera and raises an eyebrow – whip up something tasty!
Cut back to Sarah
[Sarah] Oooh!  Now that hurts as much as the cane!  Do you think a slave could be made to write you some better jokes, Karen?
[Sarah] No, but seriously, we’ve been watching you do all these marvellous things with just a flick of that cane, and haven’t seen any use of mechanical power – no electricity, no fuel.  Is it all CO2 neutral?
Karen walks back off the domestic set to the main studio
[Karen] That’s right, Sarah.  No scarce fossil fuels used up, no harmful chemical by-products and it won’t contribute to global warming.  Slavery isn’t just a matter of convenience – it can help save the planet, too.
[Sarah] So how much can we expect slaves to do for us in the future?
[Karen] Well, Sarah, the researchers say that right now we are only just beginning to learn the possibilities of this exciting new technology.  We simply don’t yet know all of the things that slaves will be doing for us. Slavery will be all around us, it will be part of our everyday lives.  We probably won’t even think about all the slaves there working tirelessly behind the scenes.  We’ll be flicking with a whip to get things done, with no more thought than when flicking a light switch today.
[Karen] Of course, there’s some way to go yet until we really see the full potential for this technology.  For example, slave powered transport is an obvious area of research, but for now it’s probably limited to trips around town and slow-moving bulk transport. (she looks away to the side)
A short clip plays showing first, a neat little slave drawn buggy, then a larger team of slaves being whipped along a canal tow-path, pulling a barge.
[Karen] But research is continuing, and there’s a lot of commercial interest in development too.  I am sure there will be lots of exciting new things we can do with slaves that we’ll only discover as we start to use them.  I’ve been trying out some of the slaves from the science centre all day, and I can tell you I just don’t know how I ever managed without them.
[Sarah] So there we are.  Simple, yet high tech, effective and remarkably easy to use. A future of convenience and leisure, and saving the planet too!  I can’t see anyone objecting to that.
Karen smiles at her
[Karen] Well – except the slaves, I suppose!
[Sarah] Except the slaves, of course!
[Both (laughing)] Goodnight!
Lights dim and credits roll up the screen.
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