CH. 53 «Second Job»

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01-24-2310

The sun was orange today and radiated its glow through the tint of pink skies from directly overhead. As I sauntered through the parking lot of a cookie cuter Caspian Company community, passing by the stereotypical directory map and those weird little trash cans, all affixed with their own dispensers of pet waste bags, I rooted through my pockets to pull out my texti. Well, I still call it a texti; it was little more than a glamorous pocket watch these days, though it was a time piece that could still be used as a calculator or to play rudimentary video games. I could see that it was five ‘til noon by the hour displayed on the outside of the small plastic communicator. I quickly stuffed it in my pocket and stepped up onto the crimson painted curb. If I didn’t hurry up, I’d be late for work.

I ran into Gerund’s apartment with just enough time to get ready. I’d barely be able to get my workstation set up, jacked into it’s alternating-current umbilical, and initiate the grueling start-up sequence before I had to be at work, but I sighed and took a nano to breathe in an aging chair by the front hatch. Technically, I didn’t actually have to begin working immediately.

Even if there were scheduled hours or deadlines I’d have to start and finish by, there still wouldn’t be any need to get my elastic in a bunch. Telecommuting can be a pain, but the job’s really no further than my fingertips are now. I was only hastening myself so I could get an extra hour in before I’d have to retrieve my best friend from class. But seeing as I could only log up to 20 hours each week, I definitely saw no rush in getting to work on the hours I’d reserved to toil away today. so I made myself some tea and scavenged the ashtray for a nice butt.

After my weekly couriering gig, my second job is rather mundane. I help teach robots that gay isn’t a negative thing… basically. I guess you’d call it opinion analysis, or simply data entry, but my task is to sort through user comments from uScreen, Rippler and Spacebook to isolate keywords and terms used to describe music and artist by denizens of the net. Then I compile the terms—along with their connotations and modernized colloquial meanings—in spreadsheets so they can be fed into a database to program some sort of artificial intelligence or net app. I imagine, whatever it eventually manifests as, it will be used to automatically rate and rank musicians or tracks based on the assortment of things said about them, no matter how inane or seemingly nonsensical the matter may be.

I found the job on Peakslist, a glimmer of hope amongt the dozens of other frustratingly unsuccessful gigs. I guess it pays to respond to an ad within an hour of it being posted. I got word back almost immediately. Not that any of the qualifications were all that demanding, they only required that I liked music, had experience with computers, and had enough time to give them out of my week; all of which I could confidently say I possessed. It hardly seemed that intimidating, but at first I was a little cautious of its legitimacy. Most of my doubts were quelled by the video conference orientation, where I got an idea of who I’d be working under. Everyone was excited to get started as soon as they learned that was all we were doing.

I think it’s pretty easy, too. First you establish what is given as fact as opposed to opinion. After eliminating every bit of this factual information you’re left with the user’s own thought on the matter, which you then have to allocate into different categories based on meaning. For example, if a comment reads something along the lines of “BANDNAME sux” you would place it in the sheet and note it as Negative. If it were to say “ARTISTNAME is so astro!!” you’d note it Positive. Everything in between, remarks with the words “lesbian”, “old”, “Davidian“, etc. had to be lumped into a third category because, whether it’s actually true or not, its still called a Fact, even if most are being used in a derogatory sense anyway.

Two hours tucked away, the third just begun, and already I’d had enough of the human race. At least the scummy, immature inhabitants of the internets that frequent uScreen channels. The kind of stuff said there really shakes your faith in humanity, if it doesn’t just make you feel sick. It’s like everyone became retarded suddenly, checking their common sense at the login screen. They’re just one of the frustrating aspects of this work.

It doesn’t help that humans can’t spell for slag. A lot of common terms become nearly unsearchable when query results become spammed up by people using a word unintentionally. Do you know how many Rippler users spell ‘chic’ instead of ‘chick’? It’s so infuriating I could use another cup of coffee.

About this time I notice a new bubble appeared in the top corner of the interface accompanied by a notification tone ringing softly though this section of the sphere. I didn’t notice it until it seemed like there was slight background music to my typing.

[{Wyseman, I. is Watching}]

My boss! Watching?! A cold shiver runs up my spine, somewhat typically. I may not have a working imager but he’s still reviewing my work and can still see all the progress I made and replay the way I did it. It’s still seems as if he stuck his head in to my work space, very much like having a real boss looming over your shoulder. Or peering into your life. It really didn’t bother me the more I thought about it, it wasn’t like I was doing anything inaccurate. But I still knew everything I did would be monitored. The bubble began blinking.

{[New Message from: Wyseman, I.]}

‘I like what you’re doing. Keep up the good work!’ it expanded to read.

I was partially relieved, of course, but I was still a bit creeped out by the whole thing. Afterwards, I carried on as usual for the rest of the day, but nervous that another bubble would emerge suddenly to say I did something wrong. It never came.

After I finished up my last hour of work, I saw I had about a quarter until I had to pick up Gerund. When I saved and closed I immediately brought up new windows with my social networks and my other inboxes. I saw I had a new message in my main email, and indeed it was from my boss.

“Hey, the big guys and I just wanted to let you know how impressed we were with the variety of results you’re bringing in, and that from now on if you want to, you can work more than the daily cap of four hours and still get paid for it. Keep it up, man!
-Wyseman, I.”

Great! My reward is I get to do more work! I didn’t even know I had a cap at four hours, or that it had to be lifted in someway. Oh well, it’s a neat opportunity I guess. Maybe that means I should try to slip a couple more in after I bring Gerund back home. Or do already I hate internet people enough?

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PREV: CH. 52 «Jobhunt»

PREV: CH. 52 «Jobhunt»

NEXT: CH. 54 «Job #5»

NEXT: CH. 54 «Job #5»

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