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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Virtual Childrearing  
  Learn childcare the virtual way; maybe long distance childcare, too.  

Did you ever have the feeling that game design was in too few hands? Consider this possibility.

In this passage, Gaia and her friends are sharing a virtual reality space from widely separated locations. The narrator, her husband, is watching her in the real world, in their needle-gym.

Naturally, I couldn't see or hear Gaia's companions --presumably other women gatherers in the same simulated tribe she had been visiting since years before we met. She stopped again, listening, then turned around. "It's your baby, Flower. That's okay, I'll take care of him." She laughed. "I need the practice."

I watched her gently pick up an invisible child. Her body suit tugged and contracted, mimicking a wriggly weight in her arms. Awkwardly, Gala cooed at an infant who dwelled only in a world of software, and her mind. I crept away to take a shower, at once ashamed of spying and glad that I had.

From Natulife, by David Brin.
Published by Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1994
Additional resources -

In reading this, it's clear that Gaia can get practice in caring for this baby in a virtual environment. But is this virtual baby the avatar of a real child, whose virtual reality suit is now feeding back Gaia's care to him or her?

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Natulife
  More Ideas and Technology by David Brin
  Tech news articles related to Natulife
  Tech news articles related to works by David Brin

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