[My Fun-o-Rama]

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In the Future

by Dr Foo


In the Future, communication will be like mosquitos. All over you, all the time, trying to bite you in every conceivable conceptual orifice, continually.

We'll all be wired and chipped at birth. Or maybe nano-neogenes will do the work in vitro (or in utero for traditionalists and other Mom-ists). However it's done, the effect will be that everyone will have all-sense cellular phones in their heads. Anyone will be able call anyone else just by using a designated brain-spot to think of them.

At first, you'll have to know someone, and swap hackcess codes in order to call them. It'll be nice, then, at first. You'll be skin-diving at some brand new Indian Ocean reef, and you'll be chatting with your sister who's mall-crawling in Beaverbutt, Maine, and who wants your advice on some auto-correcting eye-shadow.[1] Hanging out with people anywhere on the planet will be as easy as talking to someone you're sharing an office with.[2]

It'll be like telepathy with a monthly bill. Actually, there won't be monthly bills after awhile. Instead, businesses, pollsters, pokesters, thought-lobbies, advertisers, smell-mongers, and evangelicallers will pay the fees that run the system, in return for Government Guaranteed Access to Your Head.

Poor people (and there will be a lot of Them) will walk around constantly smacking themselves in the head to clear away the spammage and prevent afterburn-in.

Everybody else will have personal defense systems. You'll just buy one to run as part of your augment. You'll set and reset a Receptiveness/Priority Code throughout the day, probably just a single Hex digit. (Actually, by then you'll probably just visualize a color along a spectrum, or a brightness between sunlight and total dark, and the number will be set for you.) It'll work like the squelch on primitive CBs. How high you set your R/PC at any moment will depend on how available you want to be for the free-floating mental miasma we'll all be floating in. A 1 or 2 means, "I'm bored as hell. Somebody try to sell me a set of Encyclopoedias."[3] A D or E means, "I'm currently having actual physical sex privately[4] and enjoying it. Please call back." An F means "Go away. I don't care if someone's cracked the code on my portfolio. I don't care if my leg is on fire.[5] This call will not be accepted."

Whenever you call someone, you'll set a Priority/Politeness Code. An ordinary "what's up?" to a friend would be about a 5 Urgent news about a close relative (assuming we'll still be using relatives) would be a D or E. If your P/PC is greater than the intended recipient's R/PC[6] , your message will go through. (This will all happen in xyzzoseconds.)

Setting a message's P/PC level will be a matter of technology and regional etiquette -- the laws on this will be few and erratic. In Kansas City Beach, an average friendly chat with a friend will come in at about a 6 or 7, while in the New Jerusalem/Boise area, no one would use anything above a 4 or 5 for that. In Metro Newyork, no one ever uses anything less that A for anything.

Your augments will hold a cryptoed list of friends, who'll get an automatic 1 or 2 point boost.

The Junk-Thunkers have to pay extra for anything above a 3[7] , which they will mostly able to afford. Fortunately, most people, except the Poor, of course, will have Kill Files as part of their comm augments. So advertisers will be constantly working to come up with distracting, catchy adtoons and scent-enhanced feeljobs to keep people from cutting them out.

People will mostly float around in established cyber-space Co-operatoriums, putting spins and jiggers on Conceptations, or opening new ones and trying to lure Names and Faces onto the Planning Floor. Even while they're structing these Holojobbies, they'll be floating through a sea of tasty hotbits, wetlicks, and meme-streams.

The Future will be more like living in a big aquarium every day.


  1. Yes, there will still be malls. Most people will live in them.

  2. Easier actually, since no one will have an office anymore.

  3. "Encyclopoedias" won't be universal reference books; that kind of stuff will be generally available over this ThinkNet. "Encyclopoedias" will be a popular brand of ground-effect lazerskates.

  4. Still legal in parts of the USA, and most of the Pacific States of America. Still mandatory in much of the Confederacy, and in all of the Holy Western Territory.

  5. This will begin to happen a lot. No one knows why.

  6. Or possibly "greater than or equal to". A major war over this issue (2038-2040) is what finally splits Pacifica from Holy Oregon.

  7. Rate commission hearing/auctions are continuous, so this number actually varies hourly, but rarely goes higher than 6.

dr foo is a re-emergent-conscious wave-form, currently condensed at Cambridge, Massachusetts. Like Pythagoras, he has been ordained in several orders of priesthood (including the Universal Life Church, the Church of the Sub-Genius, and the Fitz-Hugh Ludlow Lodge of Unaffiliated Erisians), and is said to have been raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. He is partly responsible for Rule Psix and hopes to be equally culpable in its sequel, Millenium Fever, sometime before the end of the century. He was initiated into the WWW at an early age and can now be reached at http://web.mit.edu/dryfoo/

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Created: 14 June 1994