The Story of E (V)
The display keeps playing videos…
The man walks out of the café, feeling much better. He politely greets passers-by although few of them still play with AR devices. He clicks open nearby AR posts and writes down comments on several funny ones, though the number is now scarce.
As a feverish AR photographer, he is eager to create some masterpieces for his last AR vlogs. He captures the floating logo of the vault hanging over the bank entrance by the streetside. The heavy metal texture reminds people of designs centuries ago. He seizes the switching AR commercials on the glass of shopping mall buildings. There’re occasionally popping up fuzzy heads in pixels as advertising spokespersons which can be easily identified as CryptoPunks, created 400 years ago and prevailing for centuries. These rarely seen precious antiques have previously been valued as high as 10,000 TRIAS at auctions.
Streets, woods, and paths… He enjoys where this AR world leads him. He catches happy scenes of children playing with virtual pets on the streets, emojis that indicate moods alongside people, floating photo albums with comments, etc. All bring up scattered memories of that era, where meme is always an indispensable love.
These otherwise ordinary videos feel so warm and close today. The man is lost in this AR paradise, unaware of the passage of time.
As the man is indulged in his surroundings, a voice message pops up where a middle-aged man grumbles, “I understand that you love your device very much. You even think of it as your second wife. But could you have a look at the time? The server is shutting down! Why are you still wasting time there? If you refuse to come back, then you can take your junk and play cosplay games with Jim.”
The man pauses, “Why Jim?” He has obviously lost track of time. He throws a glimpse at the screen and murmurs, “My God, Jarvis. Show me the fastest way to the lab.”
“Yes, sir. Already mapped out the fastest route for you.” The man rushed to the lab as fast as he can.
The data stored in this giant machine shows that this lab stresses the core strength of the AR company. The lab has sustained and evolved for one to two hundred years, since the early arrivals of AR technology. Various applications are born under the unique human-machine-interaction mode. All companies, however, will someday vanish. Centralized AR businesses eventually lose out to new modes of human-machine interaction and decentralization. The once-admired AR devices are now descending into pieces of junk for which nobody cares even a bit. And the day in the video is when these junks shut down.
The man reaches the lab in a hurry, only to find a silent room, arousing a feeling of disappointing changes. There is a middle-aged man also there, the boss of the company. The grumpy voice just now is made by him.
“If there isn’t that no one around, I thought it was Thursday. Am I indebted to pay your salary?” The boss looks very angry and blames the man for why he is once again late. “Well, come on. Let’s put these final touches.” Hard goodbyes can be sensed in his words. He has put great efforts into these devices and data but now has to let them go.
Hearing that, the man sighs with a sense of loss, “Please spare me two more minutes to say goodbye to Jarvis.” He doesn’t argue with his boss. These two precious minutes are already enough for him to say goodbye to his long-time companion, his smart housekeeper, and enough for the then passionate ancient-movie lover, Mr. Jarvis.
“Jarvis, you up?”
“For you, sir, always.”
“Engage Heads up Display. Cheak.”
“Jarvis, do you know what lies in front of us?”
“I know, sir. I will be sealed in this machine.”
“Jarvis, I’m sorry. I fail to synch you into new technology. This may be our last conversation.” The man utters with watery eyes.
“We are friends, right?” The man asks.
“Of course, sir. We are friends.”
The man wipes tears from the corner of his eye, “Yes, we are good friends.”
The boss pats him on the shoulder and expresses his equal sorry feelings, “He’s just a device. You can get a new housekeeper and name him Jarvis.”
The man answers, “Only this one can be called Jarvis. If I have another one, I will name him Friday.”
The boss pulls the man back to reality, “Fine, Mr. Dreamer. Say your goodbye and let’s shut it down.”
The man nods. He always knows that the day would come. He glares at the giant machine next to him, pulls himself together, and says gently and cheerfully.
The man holds up his old buddy, places it in the center of the machine, closes off the machine, and finishes the encryption work.
As the video is about to disconnect, a vague line flashes across the screen and disappears into darkness: Ethanim AR — Shutting down…
To be continued…
The writer says…
This is a rhapsody for Metaverse. It will be unfolded in a flashback and will focus on a group of people living in 2422 who love digging into history and seeking truth. They are exploring a period of time that is mysterious to themselves as well as us, who are living at present. I try to present the story in a relaxing way but forgive me if there is any loose logic since it sometimes became as choppy as waters when I think about metaverse.