Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top 10 (minus 7) Reasons Why We Already Live in The Matrix

Sometimes I think we are already living in the world of The Matrix. The only thing that brings me back to reality is that I'm forty pounds away from having Neo's trim 29-inch waist. If only I could cut out the donuts, I could move faster than speeding bullets.

In the movie, The Matrix was one big virtual environment. And what we saw on screen wasn't even the original version of it. So if the movie version of The Matrix was, say, Matrix version 4.1, Red Queen, then we exist in something like Matrix 1.2, Dodo.

1. Social Networking sites. Given. No need to explain this. But in case you're unaware.. each site is it's own little world filled with friends and unfriends and followers and unfollowers. Social networking sites are The Matrix Lite.

2. The Digital World. We live in a digital world and every file can be edited to our satisfaction. Think about all the activities where you participate in a virtual environment. From online shopping to chat to GPS navigation to microblogging. For now you can't take a dump online, but you can find the nicest place to do it. The reason I think The Matrix is here is that we have or will soon have a generation of people who don't know what life was like before. To them, there has always been "view all of xxxx's friends" on MySpace, texting, instant downloads and complete access to all the information in the world from the screen of a little black box smart phone.

3. Ebooks. Ebooks are going to fulfill the promise of every fantasy every reader has ever had. From fan fiction to interactive fiction, ebooks will allow the creator and the reader to transform the material to satisfy our every whim. Don't like Stephen King's latest ending? Purchase the license to reedit the book yourself. Or maybe he can write 10 endings and you can purchase the one you want. We're already accustomed to seeing Fred Astaire dancing with a vacuum cleaner, it's going to be so much easier to rewrite for Scarlett or Holden or Hermione. Eventually, I see authors simply licensing characters to us to create their stories for them. The way everyone is talking about the potential for ebooks, vooks and schnooks, and the ability for authors to alter the reading experience, it's like none of them ever read a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

In this world, anything that can be manipulated, will be. What if you don't like my avatar, but you like what I have to tweet? Why shouldn't you be allowed to change my appearance? We can just alter our realities through computers. Trust me, if you look anything like your avatar, I'm substituting Natalie Portman's smile. And Katy Perry's boobs.

When there is no longer one reality to connect us that does not exist outside of the virtual world, then that is The Matrix.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing. It is to me because like Neo and Morpheus, I can see it. But to the people living inside The Matrix, the ones who don't know, or like Joey Pants (Cypher), who prefer their life within it, that world is perfectly normal. All I'm saying is that it's here. It's not in the places where the people are too poor, but it's here. And while we are all online, those other people are searching for clean water to drink. Oh, sorry, did that just make you feel bad? Maybe you should tweet about it.