Rosella Tolfree Installment Stories
A series set in the politically dystopian future of the U.S.A.
Featuring a blog that explains Rosella's World
In various short stories I’ve written, I keep mentioning this thing called the “Social Media Net”.
I know it sounds like some future internet, and it is. Experts have been talking about Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and even Web 3.0. But such things refer to a process to which information is handled on the internet and given to end users more so than society’s image of the technology.
The Infopad and Tactical Infopad
Today we have apps that do different things. One for email, one for a social media program, and one to watch shows. The devices that can use them vary, but most are using smartphones. In my future America, the smartphone is still around, but many people use what’s called an infopad, which is a cross between a tablet and smartphone.
Like today, people will use the social media net for productivity for work and still call these features “apps”. The most common workhorse for productivity is the much larger and technologically robust “tactical infopad”. We commonly find these infopads in military and police work, along with any industry demanding on site robust computer power, like a construction site. These machines are the equivalent of what people used to use laptops of old. Except college students now just use a regular infopad for their schoolwork. As for PCs, these machines exist but are only found in offices and are networked into dumb A.I. machines. The actual PC box is a lot smaller and acts more like an interface for I/O devices.
If you turned on an infopad or tactical infopad, it automatically places you into the social media net. An array of mini screens is in front of you, like app icons of old. Each showing some live or recorded broadcast, a prerecorded message about a program you have loaded, a video of a new game uploaded to your game account, and so forth. You can swipe your finger across the screen to access other panels of vid icons. Think of it like YouTube on a combination of a megadose of steroids and growth hormones. There are network shows you can watch, private videos to subscribe to, video phone calls you can send and receive. All this happening across a massive Wi-Fi infrastructure that’s been improved to levels way beyond our current technology.
The Social Feel of the Social Media Net
While most people enjoy the social media net passively, like how television used to be watched, there’s still some interaction with viewers. News shows are notorious for doing viewer polls people can take part in. Then there are the various gambling apps that can show participants for card games, or you can watch a live sporting event only to pull up the bookie on the same screen to place a bet on the game.
What’s missing from the Social Media Net is the toxicity and rage that typically happens today on mediums like Twitter or YouTube. Gone is the ability to post comments, feedback, likes or dislikes about shows and products. The artificial intelligence of Web 3.0 takes care of these features based on user interactions.
Gone are the days where every person could be their own pop-up journalist who could post an image that could go viral. Because of advance Web 3.0 structure, this kind of stuff is inherently controlled to keep society in a peaceful and orderly way.
So, that would mean videos showing cops killing people would only be seen through vetted news sources. And some news outlets pay bounties for vid clips for them to build stories. Again, because of advance Web 3.0 technology, you get news and information fed to you, the social media net end user, based on your viewing usage. If you are gravitating more towards stories about violence, then you’ll be fed more stories about it. If you like news about finance, then its more financial networks. Start playing certain games, then it targets those games for you until you get bored and start looking for some other game to play. The whole social media net is reactive to the end user.
Meanwhile, covert attempts to plant false and/or deceptive information into the social media net by individuals, governments, or companies are typically scrubbed by A.I. systems that are routinely scouring the whole of the net. With authorities being alerted for prosecution later. This one aspect killed off the meme culture of the 21st century.
All this A.I. net scouring doesn’t mean politically radical groups can’t use alternative tech to communicate between members, but governments have ways of monitoring such electronic traffic. Therefore, many groups by Rosella’s time resorted to old fashion pen and paper with a courier to deliver messages between members.
Thus, by Rosella’s time, the internet as we understand it has evolved into an A.I. monitored and controlled passive version of social media. While it was true humans controlled the input and output of the information on the social media net, society kept the term social media. This was to remove the fear factor that their lives were now being fed a diet of information by autonomous machines.
What about Virtual Reality?
It’s present. But typically requires cybernetics to fully appreciate it. There are some sleek gaming glasses that simulate a V.R. experience, but it’s not the same. What really killed the V.R. industry was the L.A. cyber riots where some A.I. brain enhanced actors went on a killing rampage. After that, nations around the world passed laws restricting cybernetic applications in humans. By Rosella’s time, the technology is too expensive for common people to own. So it’s not that ubiquitous.
Image: Hacker binary attack code. Made with Canon 5d Mark III and analog vintage lens, Leica APO Macro Elmarit-R 2.8 100mm (Year: 1993), By Markus Spiske. Source Unsplash. Unsplash License (Processed using Adobe Splash)
Seth Underwood writes hard science fiction and political dystopian science fiction. His future political dystopian U.S. world features decades of despot presidents, a flooded world, and new para-military force known as the Ranger Marshals. He has freemium stories at www. sethunderwoodstories.com