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Writing Project: A Brave New Internet

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So I have been working on a new major writing project. I have pretty much abandoned my previous work on a novel. It was ridden with cliches and conceptual problems since most of the core structure was composed when I was in High School. No point in rewriting Lord of the Rings.

So, the new project is futuristic, and you can get glimpses of it in the ScrasTech and Cthulutech stuff I have written for the Citadel.

I am looking effectively at what would be either the third or fourth generation of the internet (We are currently in the first generation)

I want to mix some of the following elements into it:
The Matrix: An entirely online virtual world, but without brain spikes, or dipping over into the Max Headroom zone, or the cliche of being trapped in the magic chair. School would be an online environment, teachers would basically be computer programs. Malls and shopping centers are online environments, and ditto for employees working in said stores. Online shopping becomes a hands on approach and as much as a way to kill time as to buy things. It's about 1/10th Matrix, and 2/5ths Amazon and Google, 1/2 Star Trek Holodeck.

Total Recall: Artificial vacations, no need to go to the airport when you can jack into the net and go anywhere you want, provided you have the money and can deal with artificial scarcity (The Martian Tahiti beach vacation is super popular and while the servers can handle 10,000 users a day, they are limited to 100. The vacation becomes exclusive and expensive.)

Tron: Instead of Light Cycle you can load and actually participate in games, be it RPGs (WoW) racing sims, FPS games, etc. Entire leagues exist for playing digital sports, and fighting games and war games can take on a gladiatorial note, be the subject of betting, etc.

Surrogates: The Bruce Willis movie wasn't all that great but the idea of piloting a robot body via remote but have it be a first person experience is fascinating. Works for handicapped people, the terminally ill, people in danger of assassination (is that the real president, or just him operating through a proxy body) The network allows for using these types of machines for easily dozens of applications (underwater work, mining, working in toxic environments, dealing with horrible horrible diseases, and in the darker applications, remote piloted infantry fighting along side robot tanks, UAVs and smart bombs.

This idea I feel has a lot of merit, but it needs a name, something better than VR or 'online'. The idea I had was that it is a Cognizant Network, the master computers that organize and control the system are self aware, and most of the software has an organic organization and it self correcting for the most part. So, the idea I had was that it is commonly known as the CogNet or simply 'the Cog' as in we're going shopping at the Cog, or gonna go run a few rounds of MW25 on the Cog this afternoon, or that guy spends most of his time slumming eWhores on the Cog.

I could use some input on this project, and thanks

John C. Wright's trilogy "The Golden Age" features a far-future Internet with variations of the things you mentioned. There it's called the Mentality. What about "the Cognition"?

I highly recommend the novel, by the by. If you're interested in this sort of thing, it's right up your alley.


--- Quote from: Dozus on April 09, 2012, 10:31:07 AM ---John C. Wright's trilogy "The Golden Age" features a far-future Internet with variations of the things you mentioned. There it's called the Mentality. What about "the Cognition"?

I highly recommend the novel, by the by. If you're interested in this sort of thing, it's right up your alley.

--- End quote ---

I'll keep an eye out for it. I don't like the word 'Mentality' because it just makes me think of a bunch of British kids doing handbrake turns in their $1000 hatchbacks.

Here's a little tidbit - the original meaning of "online" had nothing to do with the internet. It was about information being available electronically. Until its old COBOL-driven bones were retired a few years ago, our old mini computer (mini as in only the size of a server rack rather than a big mainframe) still referred to its built-in documentation as "online help." I bring this up because old terms will often get repurposed without the upcoming generation being any the wiser. It is purely within the realm of believability to take some existing terms and change how they're used. There are plenty of other examples of this, such as "hacker," which used to mean someone who could come up with clever solutions to problems rather than the malicious souls we see today (see the jargon files.) So I wouldn't give up on the terms we use now; instead, I would focus on how they could evolve and what could come after.

Of course, the marketing droids will always be looking for buzzwords to use. A few years ago it was Web 2.0; now it's "The Cloud" (taken, by the way, from the cloud shaped picture used to portray everything outside of a diagram of a network.) Some names come from large corporations or standards bodies with no personalities and are generally descriptive. Others come from creative types, often in education, and are meant to be jokes or geeky references. I'll spare the details (unless some masochistic soul wishes to know) but the point is that there is no monoculture that gives names to things and it can be tricky to predict what will ring a chord with the population at large. The important part, though, is to dig a little deeper for a name. I like the sound of the Cog but it doesn't ring true in my mind.

On the other hand, I do think the ideas portrayed are certainly valid and I would love to see them developed (in reality and fiction/subs.) I do have one pet peeve about the way some of this has been looked at before. The first is that when someone is plugged into VR (as in the Matrix) their minds wouldn't go anywhere. Rather, they would be experiencing induced hallucinations. Forcefully unplugging someone could certainly cause extreme disorientation. But death? Not unless there was some sort of electrical surge that fried their brains from a forced disconnect. A corollary to this (and I'm looking at Shadowrun here) is that there is a difference between the physical layout of a computer or network and how it would be perceived, as one's mind is not physically traversing the wires and signals of the Internet. Also, the farther one goes afield, the higher the lag as signals are sent back and forth between the subject and the destination, making for slower perceptions and reactions to what transpires.

Anyway, I'll stop here.

It's that elusive name that hasn't been born yet that's so hard to grasp.

As for the Inescapable Chair it is a trope I hate, because it is so artificial. If you unplug he, he will diiiiiiIIIIIIIiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee

I think it would be more like the fall inducing waking up used in Inception, or like suddenly waking up from a dream that you won't forget.


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