1. MILES & MILES
On the graph plotting human laziness against the development of virtual reality, where the two lines intersect matters. In one version, they cross right as space exploration becomes prohibitively expensive, risky, or politically unpopular. Instead of exploring the universe, we explore virtual representations of it. Software is the final triumph of description over thing.
2. WHITE MIRROR
Our species has never quite been able to stop itself from grabbing technology, turning it around, and using it as a mirror. Only now the mirror is everything: we are surrounded by representations and reflections of ourselves, avatars, profiles, front-facing cameras. Identity is weird.
It’s only taken us 200,000 years, but the human race finally has a common enemy. Something we can all rally behind, a singular cause that affects every one of us equally, regardless of race or creed. The only problem: it’s the imminent ecological destruction of our planet. Of course politicians play pretend that it doesn’t exist; politicians hate unifying causes.
Actually talking on the phone has become so rare that it’s almost sensual. Voices are charged with meaning. This is particularly interesting because we keep a little woman imprisoned in our phones all the time, to boss around and talk to at night.
5. I THOUGHT THE FUTURE WOULD BE COOLER
This is what the world feels like: relentless police violence, social media companies exploiting us emotionally, the ascendance of content over art, pleasure as a teleological end in itself, vaporized stimulants, using the word “drone” to mean both a killing machine and a remote-controlled toy.
6. L.A. PLAYS ITSELF
Los Angeles is the secret star of every movie that takes place in Los Angeles. It has played itself as both hero and villain, as a warren of noir boulevards and blown-out Michael Mann skylines. When you live in Los Angeles, you’re always surrounded by thousands of ghosting versions of the city imprinted to celluloid.
7. I WANNA FUCK YOU TILL I’M DEAD
Sex is ridiculous. We treat it as a commodity—using nudes as currency traded for likes, swiping left and right and making dot com dudes millions in the process—but it’s the silliest thing, a completely ludicrous vulnerability, the only completely collective source of embarrassment and joy.
Celebrities never die. They live on forever as images; it’s part of the bargain fame makes with privacy. We shouldn’t be surprised that those images have become avatars. Still, why resuscitate Michael Jackson or Tupac as a hologram when you have Hatsune Miku, the synthesized Japanese pop star, doing it voluntarily?
9. DON’T BE RUDE
Sometimes, just to survive in this world, you have to be naive. It’s not ignorance; it’s forcibly removing evidence from the past in order to prove the viability of the future. On a personal level, falling in love is ignoring everything you know will go wrong. You have to believe that hearts can unbreak.
10. WAR ON WOMEN
Women have to take for granted that existing in any kind of public way is a risk: a gamble on physical, emotional, and spiritual safety. At this point, if you don’t understand that, you’re either not paying attention or you’re willfully ignoring it.
11. THE ENTERTAINMENT
The entertainment industry is in an arms race to provide us with ever more immersive experiences. But the virtual reality experience with the highest scan rate is actual reality; the most realistic 3D rendering of a thing is the thing itself.
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