It is Christmas season again. I wonder how different the communication systems would be if Jesus Christ were to be born today, in this 21st century.
We start the story nine months ago, when the Virgin Mary has just received the good news that she is going to be the Mother of God through an immaculate conception.
Joseph, her appointed husband, is frantically searching through Bethlehem for a room to settle in, prior to an upcoming population census ordered by the Roman emperor.
He is actually not physically moving around town, but is logged onto the internet and has just visited the popular site Booking.Com for a list of the common hotels.
Unfortunately, all of the hotels are fully booked.
Luckily, he knows about Airbnb.com, the not so new information service that connects travellers to homeowners willing to lease out rooms. He discovers that most homes in high-end zones are also fully booked and so he settles for a home in the lower-income zone.
He books and pays for it through mobile money and instead of riding a donkey to the home, he boards a matatu with his expectant wife, the Virgin Mary.
Given the bumpy ride across town to Bethlehem, Mother Mary arrives at the rented home exhausted, but more is yet to come. That very night, before Joseph would get an ambulance, the Mother Mary delivers a baby boy, the Son of God and they call him Jesus.
Through divine intervention, the neighbouring shepherds or what we would today call the common man or ‘Wanjiku’ gets to hear about the good news and are the first to pay homage to the future King.
But they are not alone. Several miles away, some three wise men have just received a message about the birth of Christ through their closed WhatsApp group.
They are upbeat and keen to make the trip to pay homage. But they are also wary of the local King Herod. They know he wants to eliminate infant Jesus, thinking he is a threat to his earthly kingdom.
Luckily, the WhatsApp is encrypted and so the government of the day is having problems trying to sniff data from the closed ‘Wisemen’ chat group.
Before embarking on their journey, the wise men search through several online shops such as OLX and the most recent additions like Masoko.com. They then select the best jewellery and perfumes - worthy of a King - for subsequent delivery.
Since they are conscious of being traced, they decide to pay for the goods using the more anonymous bitcoin currency.
And rather than use the bright big star to locate baby Jesus, they have received a pin-point location of where baby Jesus is, as sent by Joseph through their WhatsApp group.
Obviously, in the 21st Century, camels would not be their choice of transport. The wise men therefore decide to summon a taxi through any of the many taxi-hailing apps, such as Uber, Taxify or Little Cab.
Ten minutes later, the taxi arrives and they are on their way to the holy family’s humble location.
Meanwhile, Joseph is monitoring their movements on his mobile device in order to be able to tell exactly when they would be arriving. He has also Googled their background and knows precisely their choice of diet and has updated the Mother Mary accordingly.
The guests finally arrive to pay homage and are pleasantly surprised to find that their most preferred meals have been prepared and ready to be served. Thanks to the wonders of technology.
Airbnb, Google, Uber and WhatsApp, amongst others, is what baby Jesus would have been born into. It would be interesting to see what technology he would deploy thirty years later as he starts to preach and administer to his ministry.
May you all have a Merry Christmas and a happy new ICT year.
Mr Walubengo is a lecturer at Multimedia University of Kenya, Faculty of Computing and IT. Email: [email protected], Twitter: @Jwalu