The Jiqirens of Shenzhen

10 Nov

Zheng Wei was a newcomer to the metropolis twenty million immediately to the north of Hong Kong. Shenzhen was the bright, shining Silicon Valley of New China, the leading hothouse of electronics, nanoscience, and robotics that drew both the scientifically educated and the rural masses to its industrial frontier.

Trained in Shanghai as a subatomic specialist, the tall, thin young technocrat came to Shenzhen in Guandong Province with experience as both a research chief and a corporate manager. Motobot Electronics had a crying need for an executive with his experience at the cutting edge where electronic physics and robotics overlapped.

Wei was quickly astounded by what met him in the southern center of industrial pioneering.

Of the total population of greater Shenzhen, over ten million were non-local migrants who had to be housed in temporary factory barracks. Most of the newcomers, like Wei, spoke Mandarin rather than the regional Cantonese.

What had once been a number of sleepy fishing villages in the Pearl River Delta had now grown into an industrial center of world importance, trading through the adjacent port of Hong Kong.

This appeared to Wei to be the perfect location for him to realize his hidden, personal ambition to bring about radical change in how industry functioned.

Few persons anywhere shared his magnificent vision of how far robotics could leap forward in his time.

The headquarters offices of Motobot were located in the Science and Technology Park of Nanshan District. Many high-tech companies were neighbors: Konka, Gionee, Huawei, and Tencent. Motobot was a small, venturesome start-up.

Wei arrived by cab at the blue glass building to meet the corporate president, Hu Chen. The latter worked in a tiny, cluttered corner of a common, crowded designing chamber.

The surprisingly small, spare executive shook the hand of Wei with hearty vigor, then asked him to sit down beside his messy, unorganized desk.

“How do you like our bustling Shenzhen, young man?” grinned Chen.

“It is an impressive city. There is much going on that has all the looks of the future. This is the future center of a reborn system of industrial production that will transform first China, then the entire world. That is what I have come to believe with all my heart, since having come here and picked up the spirit and excitement of today’s Senzhen.”

The executive’s almond eyes began to turn distant and dreamy. “There are even greater changes ahead in industrial robotics, and I foresee how Motobot can become a leader in technical progress. There are unimaginable prospects ahead in the application of the new weiguan technology based on the harnessing of sub-atomic energy.

“I believe that this firm will open an entire new frontier as we assemble complete humanoid jiqiren that operate on sub-atomic particles. This is a development that no one could have predicted just a few years ago.

“We are about to take over world leadership in applied robotics. Our industries will leap ahead of Europe, Japan, India, and even America.”

Chen focused his eyes sharply on his new employee. “I will depend on you to give us a humanoid android that runs on sub-atomics, Dr. Zheng.”

Wei felt a whirling sensation deep within his brain.

The new head of research received a positive impression from the primary assistant waiting to serve under him, Lin Huan. This was a large, heavy Northerner from Manchuria who was an experienced, knowledgeable expert in the construction of industrial bots of all sorts. From his first day with Wei, he displayed a firm dedication to the success of the project concerning a completely humanoid jiqiren.

“Our new bot must have as much human renxing as it is possible for today’s science to give it,” declared Huan with fervor in his baritone voice. “There can be nothing of importance left out of its repertoire of factory skills.”

Wei was exhilarated by the hard work and ingenuity of his laboratory staff and main associate, big Huan. Everyone was willing to contribute extra hours and harness their minds to the tasks involved, without exception. Corrections and improvements in design and assembly were frequent. Innovative aspects of a new type of industrial android started to appear.

Wei himself took special interest in the sub-atomic jiguans that were to energize and power the new level of robotics. “This unit must possess the look and the movements of a human person, an actual ren. It cannot remain but a technical mechanism, like the ones inside China’s factories today. We have to strive for something far beyond that, a synthetic organism that looks, acts, and thinks like a living human being.”

Huan frowned and wrinkled his wide brow. “There is an enemy who shall try to frustrate and defeat us. I have deep fear of Xu Feng, the president and main investor in Xiaomi, a company many times larger than us. They have enormous resources and technical possibilities, as well as close connections with the Ping Bank of Shenzhen. Rumor has it that a gang of Hong Kong capitalist investors are giving Feng all the backing he asks them for.”

The two men stared at each other in silence for a short time.

“I am not at all worried,” finally said Wei. “We will beat them and anyone else in the field to a sub-atomic humanoid.”

Xu Feng was a man whose personal talents would have taken him far had he sought a career in politics. He had from the beginning used his membership and connections within the ruling party for the advantage of his robotic corporation. His methods of operation were widely known to be cruel, ruthless, and often illegal. The one and only value he worshiped was business success.

Hu Chen accurately characterized him as the number one enemy of Motobot and its plans to build a new generation of jiqiren.

The corporate headquarters of Xiaomi lay only a few buildings away from where the unprecedented humanoid, independent mechanism was being designed and built.

Feng, an obese man from the Upper Yangtse, had secret informers inside the ranks of his competitor. He liked to meet and listen to what they had to tell him in obscure coffee and tea houses in various sections of central Shenzhen.

The big businessman came in ordinary work clothes, not a formal suit of any kind. What he picked up usually had value in his strategic and tactical decision-making.

“This new head of research, Mr. Zheng, has turned everything upside down,” whispered one of Feng’s well-paid spies. “He is an expert in sub-atomic particles and has brought with him much secret knowledge that he us using in order to build and exploit an enormous number of micro- and nano- devices in the new version of jiqiren the company is seeking to create.”

Feng listened carefully, absorbing and considering every word told him. A sly, evil grimace spread over his rotund, flabby face.

“Thank you so much. What you report has been most helpful to me,” he muttered.

Motobot started to have difficulty in purchasing and obtaining needed parts and instruments. Hu Chen told Wei where he thought these troubles originated.

“I have discovered signs and indications that business agents from Xiaomi are traveling all around China interfering with our orders and requests for components and equipment of all kinds. That is a customary method by which Xu Feng hobbles and blocks the work of his competitors.

“I am not surprised at all, my friend,” he said with clearly suppressed anger.

“What can we do about his tricks?” asked Wei. “Could we take the man or his corporation to court with a suit of some kind?”

Chen made a sad frown. “Feng knows how to drag out law cases endlessly. I’m afraid we must stand our ground and expect even more abuse from him as we proceed toward our goal, Wei.”

Weeks of hard, unending work went on in the laboratory, with Wei making periodic reports to the president of Motorob on how tests were going.

“I believe that we have finally determined the right path to take,” declared the chief of research one foggy morning in autumn.

“What will it be?” asked an anxious Chen.

“An area that has not yet been explored in detail is that of super-positioned bosons that physicists have given the name of charginos. We know that such bosons carry a large charge of an undetermined amount.

“I want to explore the potential of such nano-particles for applications in minute energy engines. This avenue may not turn out the way we want, but I have come to believe that the attempt to use it must be made.”

“Then, go ahead,” decided Hu Chen. “We will concentrate personnel and resources on these chargonos that you speak of.”

Wei smiled with confidence and hope as he left the president’s office.

Xu Feng was a worried, frustrated man, growing angrier with every secret report made to him by his informers within his main competitor, Motobot.

Was the new research chief recently hired there on the verge of solving the problems involved in applying sub-atomic forces in industrial jiqirens?

He had to take the risk of immediately taking the path that his rivals were on.

The president of Xiaomi called a meeting of all his top executives in order to make an announcement to them. They had to take radical measures to outdistance their competitors in the field of android bots. He had decided on a concentrated, focused program to develop a humanoid jiqiren that no one in the world had yet created, one to be powered by sub-atomic particles called charginos. When it was assembled and operating, the mechanism promised to take the company to the industrial heights of China and the entire world.

“We have never had a goal or target of such elevated urgency,” proclaimed the president to his top managerial and scientific staff.

Like every other important technological outfit in Shenzhen, Motorob had a secret contract with a security company that was supposed to protect it from all forms of industrial espionage. Hu Chen received periodic reports from its surveillance agents. He was dismayed by an unusual, alarming e-mail from the group that monitored all employees of the firm, among its numerous invisible duties.

He instantly decided to fire and prosecute the trio within Motorob who were identified as spies for Xu Feng and Xiaomi. His own company security team made the necessary arrests. When Wei was summoned to the president’s office to learn the details of the affair, Hu Chen was fuming with rage and indignation.

“Feng has no sense of honor, but is a man who will do anything that he believes will bring about victory in this business. But I think he has been thwarted in what he was trying to do: steal our plans to assemble a humanoid jiqiren.

“I am so glad that we got the drop on him and his underhanded trickery. But the lesson is that we cannot afford to let our guard down with such a dangerous foe out there.

“We shall now double the number of hired agents protecting your research secrets, Wei. You can proceed ahead with greater confidence now, my friend.”

He beamed a radiant smile at the one building the new kind of industrial bot.

In the weeks and months that followed, the research program met new and increasing troubles and roadblocks.

“If Xiaomi is now working on designs stolen from us, they must be finding themselves in a similar quagmire as the one we are sinking into,” reported a worried Wei. “It is a very hard decision to make, but it is becoming necessary to rethink what we are trying to do.” He paused for a moment. “In the near future, we may have to decide whether to take another path forward.”

“What would that be, though?” asked a confused, desperate Chen. “Is there the possibility of an alternative sub-atomic technology for us?”

“I have studied the subject of plasmas that consist of nano-particles. Many theorists have seen amazing potential for energy generation in such sub-atomics. For example, quarks and gluons have been combined to form a very dense and hot state of plasmic matter that possesses unbound quarks and gluons that have tremendous power as a sort of soup. These massless particles have enormous spin to them. The strong nuclear atomic force involved has the possibility of being harnessed in the future, say many leading physicists.

“It may be the way to construct the nano-devices to run and control an advanced jiqiren. This method may turn out to be more fruitful for our purpose than what we have tried to do with the chargono.”

Chen bit his lower lip as his mind turned over and considered this new alternative.

“If such a change and correction is called for, then go ahead and make it. This will be extremely costly to our company, but the facts appear to warrant us taking a new direction with the humanoid jiqiren.”

Wei left the office with full authorization to go for a different sub-atomic system for the projected bot.

Every aspect of the development supervised by Wei had to be reorganized and revised from top to bottom. The effort was laborious and costly, but Chen backed it completely, borrowing needed funds from Shenzhen banks in order to pay the enormous bills that resulted from making the radical change to the new sub-atomic plasma.

The day of proven triumph arrived in nine months.

Hu Chen was present to observe the first model walk about and carry out complicated movements. He turned to Wei at his side and congratulated him on the marvel being demonstrated.

“It looks and moves just like a factory worker would,” smiled the president. “You have given me, our company, and China a jiqiren that no one in the world has even come close to matching. It was your brave change of direction that did it for us, my dear boy. History will never forget what you have achieved.” His face suddenly seemed to freeze. “You have learned about the disaster that occurred yesterday at the proving grounds of Xiaomi? Their chargino-based nano-engines failed to function. Rumor has it that Xu Feng intends to resign as president of his firm and be replaced by a new, younger chief in charge of the corporation.

“He stole your plan and design, Wei, but it resulted in an expensive disaster for the industrial thief. There is nothing to show for what were the crimes he was responsible for. There is a deep lesson there, I believe.” He looked at the research chief with a glow in his dark eyes.

“Yes,” replied Wei. “We have all learned a lot in constructing our jiqiren here in Shenzhen.”

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