Futurenautics: The Rime of the Future Mariner


From the FutureNautics website (http://www.futurenautics.com/)

 

In honour of the UK’s National Poetry Day. The Rime of the Future Mariner, with apologies to Coleridge. And everyone else.

 

The Rime of the Future Mariner

 

I thought him an ancient mariner,

When he LinkedIn with me.

His profile pic showed crusty beard,

And picture of the sea.

 

Let’s start a conversation”

Quoth he, ‘for I bring,

A tale of shipping’s future,

via LinkedIn messaging.”

 

Said I, “I’m LMFAO,

Oh crusty bearded loon,”

But as his rime unfolded I saw,

That I had typed too soon.

 

Heavy was my workload,

I had no time for chats,

Upgradeth I to Windows 10,

For videos of cats.

 

But sayeth he, “This rime of mine’s fantastic,

It enthralls,”

Then describeth he, what seemed to be,

A total load of rubbish.

 

A mariner, he claimeth,

He had surely been,

On board an LNG carrier,

Back in two-thousand fourteen.

 

A satcom link, predictive text,

And gas 161 below,

Together caused the accident,

That begat his tale of woe.

 

Predictive algorithm,

combined with cryogenic freeze,

Propelled him to the future.

And buggered up his knees.

 

“I have seen what you see now,

And what is yet to come.

I can now vouchsafe to you

Shipping 2051.”

 

“Begone, you fiend,”

I typed at speed, but nary checked before,

Predictive text corrected it,

Begin, friend,” ‘s what he saw.

 

He did, “The future’s different,”

The Mariner did warn,

“No Ballast Water Management, no slow steaming.

Or porn.”

 

“No Mariner, it will not be,

As long as we have tankers,

We’ll still have ballast water,

And crews will still be reading the magazines for the articles.”

 

“Men and ships are now as one,”

The Mariner replied.

“All of us connected,

With technology inside.”

 

“Cargoes are intelligent,

Supply chains all holistic,

We talk no more of shipping

We are all now blue logistics.”

 

“But Mariner, look at us today,

Look at what you see,

Speculation in tonnage,

And overcapacity.”

 

“The industry is struck with gloom,

In almost all its facets,

The liner guys are struggling,

For a return on their net assets.

 

“Dry bulk is a basketcase,

And tankers on the slide,

How do we get from here to there?

Where is the upside?”

 

Quoth he, “The fate of shipping,

Is entirely your decision,

But if you desire any lucrative hire,

You’re going to need a digital vision.”

 

“But people always will need ships,

The IMO says it’s true.”

Pauseth did the mariner; then came the answer,

“Who?”

 

“Leave not this in your inbox,

Nor save it up for later,

You need more linkativity, connectitude,

Big Data.”

 

“Focus ye on customers,

Industry four-point-o,

Collaborative platforms,

Analytics, data flow.”

 

My mind was filled with wonder,

As the tale was told to me,

Of shiny things and slimy things,

And new technology.

 

When it was done I raised my hands,

And typed upon the keys,

“Mariner, you have to share,

Your visions such as these.”

 

“You must go out into the world,

Get on the conference circuit,

Do some social media,

Shipping Podcast; Holly Birkett.”

 

The silence from the Mariner,

Came straight from Davy Jones,

T’was chilling, as the knowledge

of it echoed in my bones.

 

“Oh Mariner, will you confess,

Your person is a lie?

This flesh’s pretence: you’re intelligence.

The answer came:  “AI, AI.”

 

He had no beard, nor head,

Nor heart, nor notion of the sea,

But he knew all of shipping’s past,

And shipping yet to be.

 

He’d earned no love, nor honour,

Nor he to any owed.

For the future Mariner I’d known,

Was nothing more than code.

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About Craig Jallal
A shipping analyst whose feels the need to comment on the industry.

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