Nov 13

When You and Your Avatar Become One

What if you could live inside the world of your favorite show?

Do we really need to care about a world where some entities are human, and others are digital?  What would this world mean?

If we look at it in evolutionary terms, we only need to care if digital humans are a threat to our survival. For example, if we can no longer trade labor for the currency we need to purchase basic goods like food, then we will not be able to survive. In that scenario, we will be in conflict with the digital humans.

But if the digitals are only our ‘servants’ doing all the things we do not want to do, then the existence of these ‘helpers’ will proliferate.

And then what about if we ourselves do not really want to interact with humans, can we send a digital in our place?

What will it look like in the near future to be human and an avatar? Will your avatar be an exact digital rendering of you? Or can you customize it to look how you really want to look? You know – thin, sexy and beautiful.

These are questions you will need an answer for much sooner than you think. In 2013, a Russian billionaire revealed his plans to become immortal by 2045 by uploading his brain into a hologram body.  The idea is the computerized version of your brain matches with a hologram rendering of your body, and you live forever. To make this work, you should leave very specific instructions about how you want ‘future you’ to function. (If you want to know how this works out when everyone can do it, check out my fiction book The Unbroken Line).

Before we get there, how about living as an avatar in an online world that mirrors our own world. This was the idea behind Second Life – which still exists. An online game where you can create an avatar and operate it in the virtual world. But of course, you have to be present to play along.

So what about using artificial intelligence to ‘live’ without human control as an avatar. This is the hybrid between your controlled Second Life style avatar and your hologram body. In this land you can put your avatar on ‘auto-pilot’ by uploading your social media feed, or another digital reflection of who ‘you’ are – maybe videos – and let the avatar go. The A.I. would manage basic concepts like saying ‘hello’ to someone who said ‘hello’ to you, or running away from a (digital) grizzly bear. You could intervene when necessary or just watch your avatar navigate its own way.

How much time would people spend in this rendered world? Probably hours. Especially if the game became an extension of social media. Instead of posting to your friends, you could have a virtual town hall where all your friend avatars show up and get your updates. You could leave your trip photos running in a room of your house where your friends could come by and view them anytime – with commentaries. The scope is endless. Attending an online class would put the information directly into your ‘brain’ to be re-used in the real world whenever you need it.

Why do we want any of this? Because it’s entertainment. Because we love the idea of immortality. Of course there may also be tangible social benefits, but we do not know what those might be at this point.

There is also the commercial potential. Every store, and product, could be present in the rendered world. You as an avatar would be able to see everything you may ever be interested in buying. Even try it out in a simulated world. Of course the processing capabilities required for this could also be limiting, but once it gets up and running there will likely be no way to stop it.

If you want to understand how it could go wrong, and the kinds of questions we’ll be looking to answer in the future, I have a new romance future tech suspense thriller series called Ravencross by E. Avalon. The first three books – Embrace, Triumph and Whisper – are out now. Each book is a romance wrapped in a thriller with the future tech thrown in-between. The idea is the cast, crew and fans of a popular daytime drama become dangerously, and obsessively involved with each other while playing an A.I. enhanced online game based on the show. You can check out the books here.

DiAnd as soon as you finish reading, begin preparing to organize your digital information into the compartmentalized order your future fake brain will need to keep you going long after ‘you’ are gone.

Jun 28

Do you have to be an Entrepreneur to Earn a Decent Living in the Future World?

When Alibaba CEO Jack Ma announced his plans to support one million new jobs through online entrepreneurship, a new realization dawned. With fewer traditional jobs, automation, and outsourcing, an increased percentage of the population will have to create their own work. Ma is suggested they open an online storefront on Alibaba, and that advice may be timely and vital to future economic stability.

In my book The Motion Clue, medical scientist Dominique Dorth is a French North African who runs a global business from an island near Shanghai, China. The entire enterprise is based on the idea of providing unique remedies to people around the world. And her lifestyle as described in the book, fits neatly with Ma’s 2017 vision.

“…her preferred location was her lab, which was next to her pharmacy in one of the gold-plated skyscrapers on Shanghai’s Yangshan Island free trade zone. Exempt from import-export controls, she could order any legal ingredient, invent and test a new vitamin or supplement, and market the product to willing buyers around the world. Her lab included a production studio where she produced promotional and instructional videos for her products. With millions accessing her content as a consistent global audience that nicknamed her, ‘Dr. Dorth’, she was one of the most viewed people in the world.”– from The Motion Clue, Book 1 in the Life Online series

The character has an online storefront on the Internet, which provides her access to a global market encompassing the entire world population. We can guess she is able to employ a few dozen people (maybe hundreds) because her market is not limited by physical world constraints. This universal access, and uninhibited market reach is the vision Ma outlined at his own conference, Gateway ’17 held in Detroit in June 2017. He repeated his intention to support one million U.S. jobs by helping American entrepreneurs reach the Chinese market. China represents one-fifth of the world’s people. And Alibaba’s reach through the Internet covers the whole world. With rising consumer demand from China’s middle class looking for high quality products, Ma has a vision that small business entrepreneurs in the U.S. can use the Alibaba platform to create online storefronts, and those small businesses will employ at least a million people, just as the process works in China (estimated 12 million entrepreneurs, employing 30+ million people in China).

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Of course not only Chinese and Americans will be using Alibaba and similar platforms. As in the book, anyone will be able to access the services, and everyone will be in business with each other. This world does not require concerns about competition. In a world of extreme niches, every consumer is able to demand customized products. The economic winners will be businesses that provide outstanding customer service and consistent quality production and delivery.

One can envision some entrepreneurs like Dominique decided to launch an online storefront after being pushed out of traditional work either through automation or outsourcing. As these realities continue to hit the economy many people will realize their best chance to bounce back and continue to earn a living, may lie in knowledge, professional experience, hobbies or personal skill, which you can become a product or service to sell to the global marketplace. In Dominique’s case, she is a pharmacist who researches ancient remedies around the world and creates customized treatments for her global customers.

In today’s niche-consumer world, the average consumer does not want to be average. People are constantly looking for specific products aimed at their particular tastes. Recently I was shopping for a slim shoulder bag that my laptop would fit in. My specification requirements included specific shades of red or green (the colors of my company readyentrepreneur.com) that I also wanted to carry around. To find this bag, I was not going to go to a shopping mall and walk aimlessly through every store. I went online to Amazon.com. After entering a few search terms, I looked at various options and selected the one meeting my criteria – color, number of pockets, fits laptop, and also good reviews. Later, when I attended a conference carrying the bag, everyone commented on how much they liked it, and no one had heard of the manufacturer. The Internet is the infrastructure of the 21st century, playing the role taken by roads and railroads in the last century. But in contrast to the physical transportation infrastructure, cost and access to the Internet is inexpensive, and available to almost everyone.

The Alibaba platform was originally designed as a business-to-business e-commerce site, think Amazon (as they do) for entrepreneurs looking for other entrepreneurs to provide products and services. Today additional companies under the Alibaba umbrella provide consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer sales, and the entire behemoth is on its way to $400 billion in market cap value. By the way, this is a company projecting $1 trillion in revenue in the next three years. The growing consumer demand for deepening niches of products is the rising curve accelerating small businesses into global companies. In a hundred years, Alibaba or its successor is likely to be a multi-trillion dollar company, and the use of the site or another similar online commerce platform would be the standard for any business.

Online commerce will eventually drop the “online” and become just commerce. The Internet has made access to business services possible for anyone in the world. The business infrastructure is readily available to anyone who wants to use the software. The work of managing consumers, suppliers, finances, logistics and technology is performed by many competitive Internet companies, and new ones arrive every day. In contrast to last century manufacturers, in the Internet age, a company can focus only on creating a product or service, and outsource the manufacturing, delivery and record-keeping to other systems, again at a reasonable price.

Maintaining culturally-specific uniqueness will be a selling point for global niche products. The world’s consumers are waiting for products suiting their personalities, interests and desires. Although there are many cultures were conformity is still implemented, sometimes violently, these ways of thinking will be superseded by the world’s interconnected youth, liberated women and mobile workers. Think of the Filipina nurse who has worked in Saudi Arabia or New Zealand. Or the Barbadian restaurant manager who works on a cruise ship serving customers from ten countries traveling to twenty others. These global workers, spread their knowledge and experiences at home and abroad. And that movement is only expanding, not diminishing, as countries continue to build for a rising middle class, and expanding incomes promotes the demand for more professionals and service workers, including foreigners.

A globally mobile workforce is not governed by free trade agreements. Government contracts typically focus on commodity items a country is trying to protect such as wheat, coal, oil and automobiles. But unique items of clothing, or specific learning materials, or household decorations, or technology software or even health remedies face no online barriers to trade. Since individuals rarely turn down an opportunity to make money, even in the face of government policy or their neighbor’s disdain, the expanding online marketplace will not be controlled.

These new “Alibaba” entrepreneurs are likely going to be a significant force in influencing the ongoing expansion of a global, free trade, self-supporting, entrepreneurial, technology-driven and controlled, individually-minded world – just like in the Life Online series. This is a case where technology will drive human interaction, not government. Free trade automatically exists online and there is no government ability to end this reality. Even if legislators pulled the plug on the Internet, clever rogue technologists, like Life Online character Zylen Blain and his Cyber Army friends, would figure out how to directly deliver the connection services. Global free trade is a fact of economic life, and online entrepreneurs do not need a trade treaty to work with people all over the world.

However, the ongoing ability of technology to drive our activities, and help us make money, becomes even more ubiquitous in a world where the average entrepreneur has to think of the online presence as a branch of the business, not only a function of the business’s administration, like the accounting department. Although earning a living income online increases a person’s dependency on Internet technology, the benefits outweigh the risks as the number of people utilizing online services increases exponentially. When being online becomes the only way to function in the economy, the call to create a million jobs in 2017 may end up being completely understated.

For a real world explanation of how the rise of online entrepreneurs will influence and change the market, see another version of this blog created for today’s entrepreneurs at my site: http://www.readyentrepreneur.com.

Want to discuss these ideas? Send me an email: casechat(at)claneworld(dot)com.

For more information about the Life Online book series visit my website: http://www.claneworld.com

Aug 15

Apple, The FBI and the End of Detective Work

If The Network’s digital eyes were able to capture his full facial view, it would likely register an anomaly, and prompt a tracer protocol to determine where the human had originated his trip and the entire route of his travel. SDetective - free imageergei’s artificial adjustment was only designed to avoid instant recognition, by slowing The Network down. The Network did not disregard humans who attempted to evade its surveillance protocols. Any human digitally caught wearing a disguise would be automatically flagged by an automated suspicious behavior tracker, and stay on a watch file waiting for another report.
– from The Unbroken Line

Wither Sherlock Holmes. The word ‘detective’ has its roots in the Latin ‘de’ which is to reverse and ‘tegere’ which means cover, in other words, ‘to uncover.’  History and everyday life, for the moment, tell us a detective is the person uncovering the clues to crimes. And pop culture has provided us with a string of memorable stars from Holmes to Friday (that’s Joe Friday from 1950s TV show Dragnet) to Crocket and Tubbs (80s TV Miami Vice) to Olivia Benson (after 17 TV seasons, yes you know who that is) and back to a resurgent Holmes. Yet despite the contemporary intrigue surrounding the famous British detective character, the joyous wonder of watching a human being use skill and expertise to wade through facts is fading with the co-opting of technology to do the tasks human eyes and brains used to do at a crime scene. Continue reading

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“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past” – Thomas Jefferson

Hello, I’m Casv5-pp10-3d-righte Lane, author of the Life Online technothriller book series. Would you like some free insight into preparing for the challenges of the next century world?

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May 30

Yes or No to Sex – Is a Consent App a Good Answer?

“On this I know my risks and they are sky-high. Are you okay with it or not?”
Janna frowned at him, then half smiled. “All right fine. The answer is yes,yes, you can record me if you want. I am one hundred percent okay with it.”
Hagen picked up his com and pointed the device towards her mouth. “Can you repeat your consent, please?”
“Seriously?”
“It was your idea. And a voice modulator app will be able to detect whether you’re under duress when you speak. I always forget I have it.”
Janna looked at the com with disdain. “Did you make Kadie do this?” Janna asked emphasizing the Commander’s name.
Hagen feigned shock. “Uhhh…how dare you. That’s so inappropriate and totally unanswerable.”
“So, no.”
“No comment. Where were we again? Oh yeah, the CYA part.” He held up the com again.
Janna looked at him, then at the com. “Fine,” she said reaching out, and pulling his hand, holding the com, closer to her mouth. Hagen touched an icon, then Janna clearly stated, “Under no threat or duress, I, Janna Marric am saying yes, I am one hundred percent okay with having sex with Hagen Writstone.”
Hagen grinned as he touched the icon again. “Thank you,” he said pulling her into his arms.

– from The Unbroken Line

Consent App screenshotThe latest affirmative consent app called Yes to Sex has come out with a college campus version to be tailored to a school’s requirements. It is not as sophisticated as the app on the com (smartphone) described above in the outtake from the technothriller The Unbroken Line, but it’s another step towards using technology to fight crime and gather digital evidence. In the novel, you can state your consent and the app uses a voice modulation feature to determine if you’re under duress. In today’s technology, the app only goes as far as making the recording.

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Nov 01

Living Forever with a Simulated Conscience – The Premise of The Unbroken Line

hologram google free imagethe-unbroken-line-2-3d

 

On the day of death, most humans know whether or not they have ended their biological line’s existence on earth. If the departed passes with no biological children (and none on the way), and no stored reproductive DNA, an unbroken line ends irreversibly. At that point, the opportunity to continue to genetically and psychologically influence the lives of others is over, the once-in-a-lifetime window to prolong a 3.8 billion year process, gone forever. The finality is absolute. Or is it?

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