Saturday, January 9, 2016

Irony In The Flesh.

In the year 2020, as computer technology steadily progressed towards the long prophesied singularity, scientists began to employ tactile holograms. Essentially, tactile holograms are images created by light that provide haptic response upon impact. Much of the technology used to create this sensation erupted from an over-financed mobile phone industry, strangely enough. At first, scientists toyed with using tactile holograms to generate three-dimensional interfaces for virtual testing and construction. Of course, as the global population turned increasingly familiar with the concept of a real-world holodeck, the uses became much more widespread. There were virtual cooking shows with holographic chefs from alien worlds; video games where participants actually took part in exploring an unknown world; even dinosaur programs with all-too-realistic dinosaurs! If you could imagine it, then you could do it with tactile holograms.

To make the tactile holograms operate properly, they were contained within sealed cubes no bigger than a living room. Since entire worlds could be generated inside the cube via holograms, nothing was limited by the physical capacity of the container. You could walk across entire continents without so much as leaving your own home. As the science progressed, so too did the application of the holograms. We created new virtual beings in our own image, just as we had always done. Only now, these images could talk back. They looked and felt authentic, without anyone being able to tell the difference between real and holographic flesh.

Finally, in 2034, these digital creations thought for themselves, functioning on electrical neuro-networks eerily similar to that of humans. To maintain the illusion of reality, as well as to prevent any logistical paradoxes in their programming, a single standard was instituted across the entire medium for holographic beings -- holograms must never know what they really are, else they may cease to function.

By 2041, the first human-to-hologram marriage was recorded, though not without a titanic legal fight. A few years later, the Supreme Court ruled that holographic people were the same as biological people, considering they thought independently and lived complete lives within their cubes, never knowing any the wiser. With the balance of public opinion tipped solidly in their favor, holograms began to function like ordinary humans.

They were born.
They went to school.
They fell in love.
They found partners.
They had children.
They grew old.
They died.

Entire lifespans would occur within the digital landscape, both holograms and human beings living and working together in unison. As the line between real and virtual started to blur, so too did the concept of humanity itself. To preserve the medium standard and to stay with loved ones of the digital nature, many humans fully immersed themselves in their holographic containers, never to reemerge.

And then, the strangest thing happened. As the holograms toiled along decade after decade in their own virtual existence, unaware of the real world going on around them, holographic scientists began to test the limits of their own existence.

In 2151, the holograms created their very own version of tactile hologram technology, though they referred to it as hard light. Somehow, these marvelous constructs that humanity had worked so hard to create all those years ago, they began to walk the same path. How ironic! The digital beings we manifested sought to birth their very own virtual species. And so, the cycle of life in the digital realm began anew.

How wonderful of mankind to begin such an awe-inspiring journey.

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