Differential calculus | The Ink Well Prompt #25

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Recently my Differential Calculus professor gave me a piece of advice or was it following that path.

"For things to get better they must be quantifiable."

Truth be told, he said it for everyone in the class, with more than 20 students ripping through their notebooks with their pencils. So don't pay much attention to his philosophical moments, but to solving differential equations by Laplace's method. His sentence was said two weeks two days and six hours and 15 minutes and three seconds ago to the day.

That's when I thought, if everything can be improved by being quantifiable, even the simple bus where I go every day to college can be improved. "But in what way?" I thought.

Then as if it were a modeled differential equation I thought of the variables that could be improved. First the road, second the driver's maneuverability, third the percentage of fuel expenditure, and, of course, there were more variables, the stops I made assiduously, the unevenness of the route, the weather, etc. But I focused my problem with those first three variables that at first glance were difficult to calculate at first sight. However, as an engineer, it was possible to build devices that could measure these variables.

It was at that moment that my mind wandered 3 years into the future. And I mentally designed a bus that at first glance looked average, but in its wheels and fuel tank were electronic devices capable of measuring terrain, driver handling, and fuel expenditure. They already existed, so I just had to buy them abroad. However, with these instruments, transportation could be mathematically improved. Knowing this data we could improve the roads, know how long it would take the driver to arrive, and according to the programmed route how much he would spend on the trip, so in the future, we could design a more efficient and higher performance engine.

No, it wasn't boring. As I rode the bus, squeezed by an obese, sweaty-smelling female passenger, I kept mentally crunching the numbers. Attractive equations circulated through my brain.

So a 30-minute trip with a 20- or 10-second interval could be reduced to five minutes. Five minutes of more time for the user. And if it went further, if it encompassed more variables.

Then the bus would be in 10 years, it would have cameras to monitor the weight distribution of passengers as well as any eventuality like a street fight, it would have monitors on the roof to record rainfall, its built-in GPS to record the bus's round trip.

Oh! I began to shiver with excitement that it would be a futuristic bus in my country. Surely in others, there was such technology, but in mine, we still had no air conditioning.

I continued to collate the consequences of the calculations. A bus with AI, able to foresee car accidents, to count the voice tones of the passengers and attend to each one separately, and also to be able to be driven in automatic mode, without a driver.

And yet, I had not introduced the design of the bus itself into my ideas. Just thinking about the numbers excites my mind.

It was there that I realized that futuristic movies were lies, at least in the sense of flying cars. At the level of numbers, it was not profitable to fly, yet, of course. Least of all for average people like me or my obese companion. The cost of such enjoyment was too high. So I concluded that for at least another 15 years, low-income people will continue to use the bus, but they would only improve the comfort and speed of the route. Only when the company will pursue that goal because if they take other variables different from the ones I have taken, my futuristic bus could change somewhat to what I had foreseen.

The variables to improve were never going to be in short supply. How tasty it was to think about numbers while on my way home!


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