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Offline: Chapter 1

Powering On

By Karli HealeyPublished 6 years ago 6 min read

"Powering on. Welcome to Future™." A monotone, synthetic female-like voice echoed through the surround-sound. The genius mind and the face of Future™ smiled invitingly on the loading screen. He was one considered to be photogenic with his hair neatly groomed and his dimples deep. His name, Philander Pierce. "We are living in a time, where the lines between man and machine are blurring. Future™ is the future." His confidence in himself came off as rather charming than arrogant when paired with his mild-manneredness. The image of him faded and in bold letters the word future was spelled out, and under trademark, as if the future didn't belong to everyone. "Loading Future™." The female-esque voice reverberated.

"Space is not the final frontier©." As Mr. Pierce unveiled Future™, it had such an impact that his words became a copyrighted slogan as soon as they left his lips. His slicked back hair became the latest in men's fashion. The release of Future™ was ground-breaking in the world of technology. His sphere of influence expanded over into the realm of political affairs. Overnight it seemed, Pierce went from being a tech-nobody to becoming the most powerful man on the planet. His smile was one capable of disarming his enemies.

"We have the Man of the Millennium, Mr. Philander Pierce himself, here with us for a rare interview today to talk about the future of Future™." The interviewer and Pierce laugh together. The contrast of his suit powerful against the white furniture, as was fashionable. Void of color was trending.

"You aren't one to grant the public many interviews."

"I like my privacy," he tried to say with a straight-face but the interviewer and him both laughed at his joke. They were living in a post-privacy era. "No, but in all seriousness, I prefer to let others take the spotlight while I like to just roll up my sleeves and work from behind the scenes to make things happen."

"Word is that Future™'s unprecedented popularity and rise is predicted to make real-life obsolete."

"Future™ is opening up a world to us that I think we have dreamt of but now finally have the advancements in technology necessary to make it a reality. The technology that we have available can allow us as a species to surpass our bodily limitations. I do believe that Future™ is the technology that we have been waiting for to change the world and recreate in our image."

"Are you suggesting Human 2.0's?"

He looked slightly uncomfortable, "I prefer not to use that term because of all the negative connotation associated with it thanks to all of the fake news that's been going around surrounding my project. I prefer to see things this way," he paused, choosing his next words precisely. "I believe that Future™ is ushering in the next evolutionary step of the human race." He spoke while talking with his hands. "Future™ melds the realities of the virtual and the physical, man and machine, so to speak."

"What makes Future™ different from other VR projects?"

"Before Future™ VR was just on a screen in a headset with a hand-held remote, but you can't live in the future while living in the past, so I overhauled the entire concept of VR. I changed the definition. Now I know that this may be a bold statement, but I guess we can just allow for Future™ to speak for itself. However, I can tell you this much, it is truly going to be something the likes of which has never been seen before."

"There's a lot of secrecy surrounding the Future™ project, is there anything you can tell me about that?"

"Well I think at this point, since it's so close to its release date, people will just have to wait. So I'm not going to comment on that, I don't want to give away too many surprises." He answered politely. "I will tell you this though, later on down the line we'll be implementing a way for enhanced control of the system." He thinks for a moment, then continues, "To make the Future™ more seamless."

"There's a lot of hype going on online about the highly-anticipated Future™ saying that this is going to be one of the greatest games of our time."

"Game?" Pierce laughed. "It's not a game." Pierce leaned in, in an assertive way, "I don't think you're quite comprehending how revolutionary Future™ is." He acknowledged the camera briefly, "How game-changing it is."

"We received a question from someone watching our live-stream, dying to know, 'What's the longest anyone has stayed in Future™ for?'"

"The way that I see it, in a decade people are going to be spending more time in the future than they do in the present."

"Well that's all that we've got time for tonight folks, you heard it here first. Exclusive interview with Philander Pierce for the grand-release this weekend of the highly-anticipated Future™."

The interview then broke to commercial. Funnily enough, it was a commercial for the upcoming release. "What if you could unleash your full potential outside of an inherently flawed form." It was Philander Pierce's all-too-familiar voice. "When I was growing up, I used to think that anything was possible, so I wanted to prove myself right and that's why I created the Future™. In Future™, your avatar is so real, and so indistinguishable, that during testing we often found ourselves referring to them as our bodies. So that's why we decided to name the avatar, Body™. In a Body™, the crippled can walk, the deaf can hear, and the blind can see. These are the times that we live in."

Pierce's eyes were able to follow you everywhere because it was his face that lived in your television screen, and his voice that came through your radio. Plastered on electronic billboards were half his body and the other half his Body™. Sneak-peaks and teasers of Future™ were spreading like a virus all over the internet. The future seemed almost inescapable.

Upon leaving the interview, in a rare moment in the public eye, Philander under private security escort was bombarded by the camera flashes of a horde of paparazzi and journalists. "Mr. Pierce, a word?" "Mr. Pierce!" "A moment?"

"We are alive at the right time to witness the impossible as it crumbles before our feet. I don't mean to be rude but with only days until the project releases, as you can imagine, I am quite the busy bee. I'm not taking any more questions from the press until the release date. Now if you'll excuse me, I have work to do."

"Mr. Pierce!" "Mr. Pierce!" Philander adjusted his neatly-pressed suit and climbed into a bullet-proof, self-driving car that whisked him away to the headquarters of Future™.

artificial intelligencescience fiction

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