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Virtual Person

"Cyberspace is a metaphor that allows us to grasp this place where since about the time of the second world war we've increasingly done so many of the things that we think of as civilization."
- William Gibson

  A virtual world in which a person could raise a virtual baby with full haptic realism.  

Maria lives in a world a world that is crumbling. As the Earth slowly floods, the infrastructure that supports her contact with her virtual child, Linda, is lost.

Little Linda, a Headspace baby, was four years old now... The little girl playing on the sunlit patio still made a beautiful image for Maria to gaze upon, in her desktop screen, in her damp, darkened flat.

...Everything Linda knew Maria had taught her. Maria had gloves and a headset, and she would hear the child laugh, fell her when her avatar hugged her, a ghostly presence through the pads on her fingertips. She still couldn't be with the child, not fully...

But that barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...

From Flood, by Stephen Baxter.
Published by Gollancz in 2008
Additional resources -

This is one of my favorite scenes from the book, because it clearly contrasts two rather different visions of the future. One is that of the Singularity, which might bring technological nirvana to all humanity. The other is what I call the "Mud Hut future", in which we have lost almost everything we have now due to stupidity. Baxter writes:

The fact was, her access to Headspace was the product of a complex and interconnected society, the capstone of a pyramid grounded in very old technologies, in farming and mining and manufacture and transport and energy production. It was only as that essential pyramid was crumbling that Maria became fully aware of its existence. The singularity came to seem more and more out of reach - an absurdity, actually. You couldn't have the capstone without the pyramid to hold it up.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Flood
  More Ideas and Technology by Stephen Baxter
  Tech news articles related to Flood
  Tech news articles related to works by Stephen Baxter

Headspace-related news articles:
  - Someday, You Might Like VR Enough To Move In

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