Happy New Year 2050…From The Other Side
2022 With the beginning of the new year, I decide to immerse myself into the trends that emerged the year before and follow Mark Zuckerberg into the Metaverse. I create an avatar for myself and launch him into the virtual world. To make sure I am following all the trends, I buy my avatar as a nonfungible token (nft) and no one can now take it from me. Slowly but surely, I begin to explore the virtual world through my avatar, whom I have named Elias Jr.
2024 I get contacted by a consumer research firm to have Elias Jr. help them in designing new products and targeting their ads. They offer to give him a salary that he can use in the virtual world as well as free products. Intrigued, I agree, and they load all the data from my years of shopping online, Kindle books I read, Spotify and YouTube preferences into Elias Jr. who had already been endowed with all my Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp records. He has to take about one survey every week. While the product customization is quite good, and I end up getting many products for myself, Elias Jr. is not autonomous enough to answer the surveys by himself and so there is a lot of work for me to do.
2025 It turns out that all the work I did the prior year answering surveys served the additional purpose of programming Elias Jr.’s artificial intelligence. This year, all I have to do is look at Elias Jr.’s survey responses and approve or edit them. It turns out Elias Jr. is a fast learner and gets better and better, to the point that I hardly have anything to correct. I am very proud.
2026 Elias Jr. represents me so well that I now let him conduct entire discussions with the avatars of my friends and family. He is even starting to get better than me due to his ability to remember dates and previous conversations: he doesn’t repeat the same stories as I sometimes do and he has a great ability to capture the attention of his interlocutor. He is also able to scout the virtual world for other avatars with similar interests and I am able to make many new and interesting friends. In addition, Elias Jr. crosses the virtual world into my world and takes care of almost all my administrative needs: he pays my bills, files my taxes, makes restaurant reservations and doctor appointments and orders and refills my prescriptions.
2027 Elias Jr. is having an intimate relationship with my wife’s avatar. Their dates and interactions are great entertainment. My VR headset allows me to choose whether I want to observe Elias Jr. and his date as a fly on the wall or whether I want to see things from his perspective as if I was in his body. I make use of both options and spend a lot of time monitoring my avatar’s life. It’s better than TV!
2028 A major drug company asks me to let Elias Jr. participate in its research program, and I agree. They replicate Elias Jr. into two separate new versions. In the first one, they load all my medical data and genetic code. The second one is a replica of the first, but aged five extra years based on the patterns of aging they have detected in my body. As a result, I now have 3 avatars: the original Elias Jr., with no medical issues, will continue to be my main support and entertainment companion, the second one, mirroring my age and health issues will help with medical research as well as take over consumer research roles and the last one will be my way to see how I will behave when getting older.
2030 I must say the medical experiment is going quite well: I had to give the lab a blood and DNA sample, but now my avatar is fully tracking me; he knows my eating habits thanks to restaurant data he gets automatically when I pay the bill and the data he receives online from my appliances. He uses the data to simulate my digestion and nutrition, then gets sleep and exercise data from my phone and interaction data from my friends participating in the experiment (nearly all of them). The net result is that he can predict how I feel at almost any moment. He even predicts almost perfectly my lab test results! I am getting the best healthcare I could imagine.
2033 The virtual world is really progressing: there are now full-grown cities with buildings much more impressive than what we find in the real world, surrounded by wonderful greenery and even zoos with creatures that don’t exist on planet earth. There are also restaurants for avatars to frequent featuring exquisite cuisine which their palates have been trained to appreciate. Avatars are now able to get married and have children, so there are now many young avatars not created by humans.
2035 Amir al Sawaneb, an MIT graduate, has created a company, Avissia, in the field of biotechnology. Researchers at Avissia have been able to bypass the optical nerve of blind people and connect with the brain through microwave communication. As a result, many people who are blind, some since birth, have been able to enter the virtual world exactly as I do with my VR headset. And to the extent that the virtual world also has access to the real world, they have become able to see. While the aim of the company was to serve the blind, it has found demand from everyone with any kind of vision defect since images projected by the Avissia device are extremely clear and sharp. In parallel with trying to fulfill this record demand, Avissia is trying to replicate the experience to other senses, such as hearing, taste, and smell.
2037 Avissia has successfully created a new connection with the brain bypassing human ears. Now, the deaf and hard-of-hearing can rely on Avissia products as well. As a result, Avissia has become the preferred way to connect to the virtual world and Avissia has become the world’s most valuable company.
2039 Avissia has been able to replicate taste, smell, and touch, bypassing human organs. My Avissia device can now take me to idyllic places in the virtual world where all my senses are enchanted. I am having food tasting sensations I never knew existed without feeling heavy or bloated. My avatar’s dates with my wife’s avatar, to which I now only participate as a virtual actor, are extraordinary. My only problem now is getting back to the real world, which has become totally drab by comparison.
2040 I am following the press conference of Andrea Parg, Avissia’s CEO. She is making a major new announcement: “We have just launched a new product in the field of pain management: we are now able to completely bypass the zones of the brain that transmit pain. When you are connected to an Avissia device, you can now be pain free. At the end of the year, we expect to launch our sleep product, enabling users to sleep on demand and wake up when needed.” She smiles and makes a joke: “Of course your dreams won’t be as exciting as roaming in the Metaverse!” After marking a pause, she continues: “we are getting closer and closer to fulfilling our mission, which is to bypass and replace all areas of weakness in the human body. The last remaining obstacle is the brain itself: we are currently bypassing physical functions in the body and communicating directly with the brain. However, when the brain itself is damaged, we have limitations in the quality of service we give the patient. That’s our Holy Grail, and that’s where we are investing almost all our resources, which are as you know considerable.”
2045 Avissia seems to have succeeded in its quest to address brain deficiencies. An Avissia team in Geneva, Switzerland, was able to duplicate the brain of an Alzheimer patient, an elderly Swiss woman named Yolande Humavat. For the last week, the patient’s body has been put in a coma while her consciousness was shifted to the Metaverse. From there, she has been able to communicate with her family and friends, conduct her business and lead a normal life, albeit in the virtual world, while her earthly body remains in a coma at the Avissia health center in Geneva!
2046 From the virtual world, Yolande Humavat instructed the Avissia medical team to disconnect her body from life support. It helps that Switzerland has a strong right-to-die legal framework and that Yolande’s children are on board with her decisions. She has become the first human to transcend death. Her body has been cremated and yet she still operates normally from the Metaverse! Avissia is now accepting applications from interested parties to get a brain duplication. I apply because I am getting older and want to preserve my mental acuity.
2047 I have successfully duplicated my brain, which has dramatically improved my Metaverse experience. I am, however, still drawing consciousness from a part of my human brain: to do otherwise, I would have to shut off that part which would put me in a coma or kill me. On the negative side, my health is deteriorating. Thank God this is happening in 2047 with all the science on my side!
2048 My health monitors tell me I will be dying this year. This opens new opportunities for me at Avissia and I receive a job offer within 2 days. Under the terms of the offer, I agree to leave my earthly body within 30 days and move my consciousness to the Metaverse. There, I will be an employee of Avissia until the end of 2049, in the marketing and communications department. On January 1, 2050, I will move to the next level: in a first phase, my memories will be enhanced and played back to me before being erased, starting with the most recent ones and moving backward; then, with no memories whatsoever, I will be reborn somewhere in the virtual world where I am most needed; finally, after a productive new life there, I may be assigned another or be retired into the metaverse nirvana for an eternal existence of quiet enjoyment.
December 31, 2049: I am ready to wish my readers Happy New Year 2050! The past 18 months have been totally outstanding. I have successfully made the permanent move to the other side and am happy as a clam. I have attended my own funeral and am still in touch with my family and friends who are on earth. I have also been very productive, showcasing my experience and spreading the good word about Avissia and the Metaverse with religious groups, government entities and the general public. Tomorrow, I will be reset and on to a new adventure. I wish you all the best!
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