On top of the Telegraph Central,
in the hand of Hermes

48°12‘50.7″N 16°21’59.6″E
48.214078, 16.366565

He had already experienced a lot in his life. Since 1886, he had been watching over this place, which he actually liked quite a lot. There were a great deal of trees and bushes here. Consequently there were also quite a few pairs of birds that had set up their nursery around the park. 

Ever since people had a telephone in almost every household, however, far fewer came here than in the olden days. This was the place, where you could talk to someone else over really long distances for the first time. The first telephone line from Vienna to Brno was a sensation and also a bit of magic, and it had been set up in this house. Later of course, it was also possible to “telephone” within the city of Vienna and to the suburbs. That had been the time of his life. He heard the most electrifying news, heard about Aunt Rosi’s bad leg or Uncle Werner’s good cake. Or who had been frolicking in the pools at the spas, freshly in love. 

But when the telephone became more and more popular, that put an end to things. Since everyone now had their own set, it had become rather quiet at Börseplatz. 

He had experienced a brief high point again when SHE became the director of the laboratory here. He liked to watch her sit in the park during her lunch break. Most of the time she brought lunch from home, but every now and again she would get a snack from the sausage stand. But of course that was not the exciting part of her daily ritual. 

As soon as she sat on a park bench, she started taking notes, leafing through her various papers or silently adding up some numbers. Unfortunately, from his high vantage point he could not see what exactly she was doing. Boy, would he have liked to know! 

On a particularly windy day in April, however, it happened. A gust of wind had snatched him from Herme’s hands and carried him straight in the direction of the fascinating lady. He fluttered once or twice with his letter corners and then landed directly on her notebook. Warm hands reached for him. Turned him around, and, a cheerful face smiled at him. 

He cleared his throat shyly and greeted the woman in front of him with a quick nod. He knew exactly who she was. This was a unique opportunity to find out everything he had wanted to ask her for years. And so the two struck up a conversation.

She told him how she was fascinated by teaching machines to think. She liked it when things made sense. When she could put the world in order by means of mathematical formulas. An order that machines could also understand: A sentence could be true or false. Today the sun is shining and I have a letter in my hand. The AND is a logical combination of two statements that can be represented by a simple formula. The sentence is true if both things are true. The sentence would be false if it were raining, for example, because one of the statements is not true.

And this can also be represented in a machine using circuits. An electrical current either flows or it doesn’t. 1 or 0. True or false. In this way, mathematical calculations or instructions such as light on/light off can be implemented mechanically. It becomes fascinating when you have more complex statements or calculations and you don’t want to build a metre-long circuit, but find shorter and elegant shortcuts. 

The letter was amazed at what Hansi, as he was allowed to call her from now on, knew. One hour later, the two said goodbye and he flew back up to Hermes, up to his place at the top of the building. 

It wasn’t long though, until the last time that he could wink at Johanna Piesch from up there. She was spending more and more time in the library of the Technical University. There was little time to visit her new friend. He felt lonely and a certain feeling started to creep up from deep within him, black as night. The Viennese Grant (grumpiness) dragged his mind into the deep darkness of existence. He was alone and felt forsaken. The area around the stock exchange seemed deserted and no one took any notice of him. 

One day though, a young woman on her bicycle skidded to a halt in front of him. Zeynep had decided to visit a few monsters on her way to the hackerspace. After her conversation with Georgina, it had become clear that they were likely to be monsters of information technology, who had just been infected by the Grant. All abandoned by the genius inventors to whom they had been confidants. ZeN>.<Zen knew immediately where to look next.