Your Web browser has just automatically switched you to the above address. On the computer screen is a 3-d image of a young man in his late teens. Animated tattoos swim all over his body. He notices your stare. He starts talking through your speakers, with text appearing below him.

10/29/2039. I live in a shattered world. Imagine the political structures in your time taken over by the elderly baby boomers, losing energy, changing states, turning to ice. Nano and Web tech as cartoon safes hanging above that frozen pond. Hit play and watch the potential turn kinetic. The crash is sunk deep into the soul of the world, gone. NanoWeb fusion melted everything, and youth is king.

Acronyms are all different now, so I'll have to explain everything. Just click on the blue hyperlinks for me to explain the definitions. My interface tells me you're viewing me on flatscreen. We couldn't gauge just the right year for re-entry, so we included both flat screen and HOLOS platform software. Get used to acronyms in acronyms. Anyway, see the tattoos? They're my VIDEA's. This one is my VIDEA-med.gen/virus/bacteria -- Virtual Demographic Avatar, Medical Genetic Solutions to Viral and Bacterial Infections. I can't decide if I'm listed with them because maybe I'll be included in the beta release of the superman retro, or because of the cool microbug tattoo. This one on my forehead is the coolest, though, the realtime sat image of the globe, it stands for the , the "Youth Eco-Core". I'll be replanting the new fastgrowth rain forest in Brazil next week. Of course, the tattoo is just a photo on my Atomic, only my Virt gets the satellite uplink. Hey, this one I designed! It's my company. OK, can you figure it out? In the background is one of those giant, abandoned factories nanotech made obsolete, and superimposed over it is a rollerblader and a rockclimber. Get it? I buy these places for nothing and turn them into extreme sports recreational areas. The old Ford plant in Michigan is gonna make me a rich man. Here are some other VIDEA's down my left arm. This one's the EL.EDU, it's the volunteer group that I work in two nights a week. We try to teach the poor elderly (that's redundant!) about the Web, and Nanotech programs, even how to join the Web and create VIDEA personas to make their votes count. They don't get it, really. Oops! I guess you don't either.

OK, it's like this. In the old democracies you have one vote, right? And you vote based on where you live? That's soo weird! I have lots of votes. Laws now aren't based on location, but on interest. It's all demographics. The more you subscribe to this company's web page, that community group's listserve, and participate in newsgroups on subjects that appeal to you, the more your interests are heard in the global marketspace. All these tattoos? They're votes, man. All my Avatars, votin' for me. The old generations, they don't get that. Nanotech just wiped out the old economies of scale, devalued precious metals and national currencies down to nothing. I mean, what's Fort Knox to me when I can download from the Web the App to make gold, and feed it to my MA ? MA's changed the world. At first Sony tried to keep proprietary rights to it, but all it took was one guy with one giving it a command to make itself, and then those two to make two more, and then those four to make four more. So, you know, piraters got exponential growth. You still got to program them, though, to make things you want. That's when the Web started the new currency, when it became the means of production. E-cash was it, based on the value of the Apps you sold, or needed. So gold wasn't of value, but the info to make gold -- bigtime money. National governments collapsed, all the big industrial corporations crashed, and only people's needs, wants, and causes remained. And the Web. It became the global clearing-house, political groups rose up based on their Web popularity. Power came from your Webpage hits, and the subscriber lists. Suddenly the Web had the only viable money, the only form of governmental power, and the main means of production. It combined direct democracy, global capitalism, and global currency. And that's what the old don't get, they keep thinking of all that as separate things, not one big monster. Oh, well, we do what we can for them.

We all have more free time to enjoy with family and friends. A lot of my friends are into the artistic expression tip. Most belong to the Neo-Romantic movement. They say all of our VIDEA's are fragmenting us into a world of Sybils, and that our humanity is dispersing into this global Web black hole, never to come back whole. My buddy Rob's a Hawking Artist. He made me lose a whole weekend by telling me to go to his Website. Right when I clicked on it I saw, and felt, all my VIDEA's sucked into this disgusting maw. God, it was awful. I had to redo all my profiles from scratch! I told him that wasn't art, it was terrorism, and he just laughed and said it was the highest art because it taught me about myself. So then he says to try out Debbie's Web page -- she's one of the Neo-Romantics searching for unity -- so I do, and there's all my avatars in 3-D, combined into one sculpture. I downloaded it to my MA, so I've got an atomic version at haunts me. But I'm not sure I buy into that whole idea, even though their art disturbs me so much. I mean, you see the real me, the whole me, right in front of you. Of course, this is the Virt me, much better for you to meet than the real me. On the real me you don't get the hyperlinks, or the realtime satellite photos, and the Virt me is downloadable! I'll always be there, sitting on your hard drive until SOL's EMP pulse destroys the world. Shakespeare wrote that writing a name in the sand made you only immortal until the tide came in. Well, bake that sand into silicon, and you got a long wait until the Solar Flare kills you off!

I guess you know now why I did this. It took a long time to figure out how to hack time and put this Web page up on your screen, back when the Web was a baby. It's my response to those Neo-Romantics. Now I'm the protean simulacra -- the first copy to have no original. And the Virt me is more than what's to come when I'm born. I'm immortal; I am beyond whole -- I'm hyperlinked to time itself. Hack that, you Hawkings!


Cut to Intro

IntraWeb: transplanetary hypermedia hyperlinked satellite interconnected ubiquitous computer communications network: the old WorldWide Web on steroids and speed.

HOLOS: hologram laser organization standard

VIDEA: Virtual Demographic Avatars

Atomic: actual, molecular body

Cut to Top

listed: news group subscription list

retro: retrovirus

Virt: online Web persona

App: application

Cut to Middle

MA: Molecular Assembler

Neo-Romantics: a group of young artists searching for a way to unite humanity using new artforms made possible by emerging technologies.

Hawking Artist: a subgroup within the Neo-Romantics who attempt to radically deconstruct current perceptions of reality.

SOL: the god of the SOL religion, whose devotees worship the sun as the ultimate App.

Cut to Conclusion Back to Intro

OR YOU CAN TAP BACK TO the Intro syllabus.

copyright © Christian Crews, December 1996