Another anime song, of a show I really love called .hack//Sign. It really gets into issues with computer games, alternate reality, and AI's gaining sentience. Plus, the score is awesome. I write and run to it all the time.
It had been a pop culture joke decades ago, being addiction to the computer and the Internet. Graphics of evolving humans going from hunched monkeys to walking upright to once again hunched as they sat typing. People would spend over 80 hours a week online, for job or pleasure, and furniture and computer accessory for comfort and health benefits while using a computer became common. Addiction was a strong word, but there was no denying that humans were using computers more and more. Might as well adjust for it.
They had no idea what they were talking about.
Victoria sat next to John while he slept in rehab. The room was bland, but the fake window showed a holographic image of a mirror lake, the water so smooth it reflected the snow capped mountain. There were a few basic devices on the table next to Victoria. An e-reader. A remote for the TV. A old phone. All had wi-fi disabled. In fact, the entire complex lacked Internet and only had the basics of electronics required. There wasn't even a network connecting the tablets the doctors used to the server, the physicians had to physically connect the two to upload and download updated records.
Victoria found the archaic practice frustrating at times, when John was sleeping she really wanted to stream music on her phone because the TV would wake him, but she was limited to games that lacked the social component she was used to. Though she had to say, it was easier to play Bejeweled without having to watch your competitor's board or listening to chatter from observers.
The door opened and she looked from another lose to the clock to see John's most common doctor enter, Armin Young.
“What's the damage this time?”
Dr. Young shook his head. “Every time he connects the damage is exponential. I don't know what FutureTech was thinking releasing this technology without proper human testing.”
Victoria didn't say anything, but shared the sentiment. It had been a year since FutureTech had released a implant/contact combo. The implant allowed users to connect directly to the Internet and walk through cyberspace, displaying the images on contacts. It wasn't completely new technology, people had been surfing electrons through various forms of headgear for the past ten years.
But physically connecting with the Internet using wetware, that was new. It had been advertised as a more real experience, turning the Internet solid as the brain told your fingers and toes you were actually touching sad instead of just watching yourself do so through glasses or helmets.
It was everything FutureTech said it would be, and people who had gotten the implants had become obsessed. They would connect to the network and then never disconnect. So many people died. And when the forensic reports came in, it was discovered the implants damaged the brain severely. It shriveled, not used to the sudden influx of use and having to deal with contradicting signals constantly. The skin was constantly telling the brain it was lying on a bed, but the implant was instead saying the body was upright and sitting at a cafe with metal chairs eating a mango salad.
While it was the death of the brain that caused users to die, it was common thought that if it hadn't happened people would have starved themselves thinking they were eating when they really weren't.
Victoria reworded her question. “So what exactly is his status now?” Now, because this was the third time she had dragged her brother to the rehab center. The complex's no Internet of any sort was the only thing that could get him to disconnect.
Dr. Young sighed. “He's mentally disabled, think of a person with severe autism. Who is obsessed with getting his next fix of Cyberspace immersion. But if he connects again, it'll be his last time.”
Victoria knew that taking John to rehab was more of a delay tactic than a cure, he was too invested in Cyberspace and couldn't resist the draw of it. Seeing it through a crystal visor wasn't good enough for him anymore, he had to directly connect. In contrast, Victoria was finding the time she spent immersed was simply for business. Surfing for pleasure wasn't appealing anymore.
“If, if he's really that bad then he is incapable of making logical decisions for himself, yes?”
“Then keep him here. He does not have the ability to properly make the decision to check himself out.”
Dr. Young signed and put his tablet computer to sleep. “Miss Radin, while I agree with that plan of action, you don't have the power of medical authority.”
“Your brother. He, he probably didn't tell you this, but he visited a lawyer after your first time here. They drew up a document of his wishes, knowing what path his addiction would most likely lead to. He anticipated this and...and expressively said he wants to die connected to the Internet.”
Victoria dropped her phone.
“That's, that's crazy! He's not in his right mind! Hell, he probably can't even make a full sentence!”
“At this point, no, but he was when he expressed what he wanted to happen at the end of his life. And I'm sorry, but it is not something you can overrule. If John wants check himself out, he has that right.”
“Well, I doubt he's in a position to say as such.”
“He also said,” Dr Young woke up the tablet to pull up a document, “That if unable to voice that choice to release him after a week.” He handed the tablet to Victoria and there it was. Her brother's signature and a lawyer's on a stupid document that looked more and more like a death certificate to her.
“This is suicidal, aren't you supposed to prevent that? Report it and make sure suicidal people don't off themselves?”
“Normally, but in this case it works similar to a request to not resuscitate. I...I am very sorry.”
She kicked her phone at him and it hit his shoes harmlessly. “You're absolutely useless!” she screamed at him and Dr. Young did nothing but bow his head.
“I'll leave you.” He left the room and Victoria turned to her brother. She ribbed the pillow out from under his head and started beating him in the chest with it.
“Stupid, stupid John!” she sobbed before collapsing in the chair.
Must do more stories around the theme of Cyberspace, for it I love things about it and see it as playing prophet.