A political talk-show program is playing on a wallpaper-like TV screen. The public relations representative for the Circos Corporation is speaking:
“It is simply cost-effective. A business cannot be expected to compete in a free-market economy if it is disallowed from using the tools and technological advancements that its global competitors are using. The day it became cheaper for a robot to do the work instead of a minimum wage employee, it became financial suicide for any business to continue paying humans instead of using robots.”
His words are met by an opposing view, that of a political columnist:
“But you are laying off millions of workers, and during the greatest economic depression in history, workers who have no other place to go. You care more for profits than for people!”
“Believe me, I go to church, pay my taxes, donate to food-drives, the works. This is not an issue of caring for humanity, it is an issue of financial and economic feasibility. A business can simply not employ humans and expect to survive. Nature of the beast - it's survival of the financial fittest.”
The screen shuts off, and the young man who was watching it stands up in his small studio apartment. He grabs his bag, and walks out of the building to the street. The city air is almost yellow, and has a stale futility in it, especially in this rundown, formerly industrial area.
Around the corner, the young man sees, and continues walking towards, a crowd of picketing people. They are protesting their own layoffs in front of the high chain-link fence surrounding their former factory.
“HUMAN RIGHTS, HUMANS WORK! – HUMAN RIGHTS, HUMANS WORK!”
Two large trucks push through the crowd and are let past the gate onto the factory grounds, where they park. Twenty identical humanoid robots march out of one truck, and line up in attention to be inspected by another robot that emerged from the factory. In eerie unison they all break formation, and begin unloading and re-loading materials to and from the factory and trucks.