:: TECHNOIR ::
“The city streets buzz with illusory neon lines, animated, playing out just over the grimy surface. The internet’s gotten too big for any screen, so they feed it right to your eyeballs. You see it everywhere. it spills out onto the streets. It guides self-driving cars through automated intersections. it’s the cartoon some kid wears to school. It’s your personal shopper. We wear the hardware that runs it: in the contacts that let you see it, the chip sewn into your jeans, the elecctronics of your prosthetic leg. They’re all linked together in a living, thrumming network that spans the world. They call it the Interface. We call it the Big Lie.”
The internet is long gone, and an Augmented Reality (AR) Interface has taken its place.
The Interface overlays everything you experience in high definition sight and sound. It is all-pervasive. Everyone can, and does, access it through the use of relatively cheap, inconspicuous hardware called Specs. There’s no need for expensive and potentially dangerous brain surgery. The user interacts with the Interface directly in his or her own field of vision with simple eye movements and neural impulses that are read by micro-sensors in the lenses. Imagine having the power of a super-fast, high definition, fully animated and all immersive smart phone service super-imposed over everything you see and hear, creating a full augmented reality experience.
Live or recorded audio-video broadcasts are displayed in the user’s field of vision. The virtual screen can be any size or shape or volume to include total immersion. If the user wants to see the news, they simply connect to their favorite news service and watch it live. If they want to see the news from a week ago, they simply request the time index they want and it is accessed instantly. Similarly, live events like rock concerts can be viewed in real time or by viewing it at a later date. The concert could be anything from 2D Audio/Video to a full Virtual Reality environment with the user in any row desired. Any piece of media ever generated or recorded, from movies to novels to VRs, are available to the user via the Interface at a glance and a thought.
All forms of communications are tied into the Interface. A CIN (pronounced “sin” for “Cybernetic Interface Number”) is assigned to each user through his or her Service Provider. The CIN acts as an IP address and a phone number. All mediums of communication are sent to that number, which is then handled by a server. Specs can handle text, data, audio, video, and VR communications. When the recipient receives a communication, they may either respond immediately, like a phone or videophone call, or it will be saved in the reciepient’s mailbox in the form of a message, like an e-mail or voice-mail message. The recipient can then read/hear/see the message at a latter date in the appropriate medium.
Socially, this type of communication has led to a cultural “buffering” of information. Less and less communication becomes “live” and two-way. More and more communication becomes “phone-tag”, leaving messages back and forth.
Applications are generally free, or so cheap as to be accessible to anyone. And, there’s an application for everything. All one has to do is look at a door lock to enter anyplace that they’re authorized to be. They can just look over at their vehicle to start it. They can pay their restaurant bill, find products and order them, do their banking, talk to their friends as if they were standing next to them, find a new nightclub and have the GPS give them a route to their destination with an arrow pointing at the front door when they get there, keep interactive calendars, listen to music without filtering the noises of the world around you, play games… There are no limitations.
The advantage of this paradigm is, of course, simplicity. Nothing is easier than doing away with separate telephone, voice mail, internet, and cable service. Also, information has become instant. Moreover, everyone has this. EVERYONE. It is the new Blue Ray player, computer, cellphone, interactive video game, simulator, etc. In your face and invading your head.
The downside of this paradigm is, as with most things, commercialism. Not all of this information is free, of course. Information becomes restricted and must be purchased. Want to watch a VR movie at 3am? Doing so costs around 3 credits, billed straight to your bank account. Want to know the spending habits of your girlfriend? FaveBook charges for that information based upon the number of requests made. Sure, the Charlie Chaplin NETwork provides all of Chaplin’s films free of charge, but you must contend with virtual ads scrolling through your field of vision, selling all sorts of things.
Any time you search for information on the Interface or walk down the street, you are bombarded with advertising. Someone has to pay for those applications and hardware that make the Interface possible.
Hackers make it their job to defeat the security systems that protect all of that data. By using powerful applications and expensive and experimental headjacks, these hackers rely on the speed and strength of their own minds and the utility of their illegal Interface software to break into dataspheres and “liberate” the data for both fun and profit.
There is risk as well. Although all service providers have implemented advanced and powerful security measures, there are criminals and vandals out there capable of “brainhacking”. These nefarious criminals are able to implant false memories, desires or instructions directly to the target’s mind through their field of vision using sophisticated software that have been nicknamed “subliminals”. Though no one has been able to confirm that it can be done, rumors abound that there are applications that have been written to kill someone through the use of these applications.
Luckily, this type of crime is very rare, owing to the extreme sophistication of most security measures and swift judicial response. Brainhacking is considered a capital offense throughout most of the solar system. Because of the safeguards, and the extreme difficulty of learning such a skill set, millions of Interface users communicate, learn, and work everyday without incident.
See Sight to understand.