The Advent of the Avatars *
(c) J.A. Tillmann
The unification of the mediums brought with it surprising consequences. Since not a single apparatus has separated yet, their preparation is not bound to a specific site, and the interfaces could only be installed in places at their discretion, just like the displays. There were those who contented themselves with the tabletop at hand, while for another, not only the four walls, but even the ceiling could not prove to be enough, and he requested the continuous image of the pink sand of a Mediterranean island from the monitor onto a sensitised floor. (Complications ensued from this: sometimes the passing crabs caused a panic, and at other times, it changed into a red heat, since colour correction due to overcast skies was over- compensated...)
The comfort of the interfaced-home ( interfészkek) , particularly in the elderly, increased to isolation and sometimes led to serious psychological problems. Many were only capable of enduring the difficulties of solitude if they surrounded themselves constantly with tableaux vivants. By means of the service relieving the institution of the family photo album, anyone could synthesise their long-departed predecessors or disappeared loved ones into living images. Film enthusiasts, on the other hand, could spend their every moment in the arms of their favourite stars by means of the space-corrector. The comprehensive loss of sense of reality, however, came thanks to the fact that soap-operas not only could be watched from outside, but one could each slip into their own soap-bubble.
The fact that in the wake of Unification, everyone had to frame their own interfaced-home had a beneficial result – if only they did not want to fall into one of the uncomfortable prefab models. That called for methodical meditation to take into consideration exactly what it was that belonged to the proprietor; what it was that was truly touched, and what it all was that needed to be held at a distance. It was not only the manageability, but also the proportionate representation that raised delicate questions. (Sometimes confrontation with the scattered dispersion of personal life brought on lesser shocks.)
Beyond the formation of its configuration, the personal character of the interfaced-home was furnished by the fact that it only answered to the voice of its owner (if it was controlled acoustically), and could only be accessed by the laying on of hands (when it was handled manually).
The true revolution of the interfaced-home, however, came with the advent of the avatars. The avatar was the manifestation of the spirit of the home, and moreover, in an embodied appearance that could be altered according to one’s discretion. (Its form could be shaped according to one’s taste with the FIGURA moulding program, or could be synthesised from likenesses in the personal specimen case.) The best qualities of an exceptionally capable secretary, a guardian angel and an intelligence agent were fused in the avatar. Upon request, they proved to be unsurpassable in the screening of incoming signs, in deliberation and reconnaissance. (Their more highly developed forms were even capable – compressing themselves into something undetectable to the filters of the service providers – of scanning through dizzying masses of data. And with this, they protected their masters from the dulling arising from so-called information, and moreover, from unnecessary wastefulness.)
Through its programming capable of further development, the avatar was not only fit for a multitude of services, but was also able to continuously follow the development of its master/mistress’s personality. Following a brief learning phase, it adopted his/her aspects of selection, and was even able to extrapolate their potential evolution. This faculty was based on the continuous analysis of the frequency and combination of image, verbal and sound patterns called upon. (Following a profusion of failures in selection restricted to words in the initial stages – together with the analytical linguistic comprehension serving as its basis – one had to surrender, and to seek attributes of higher complexity.)
The avatar followed not only the visual architecture and its configuration, the continued formation of keywords and logical structures, but also tracked the harmonisation of the comprehended sounds and the development of its rhythm forms, and thus, the evolution of thought forms could also support substantially. In the course of time, the avatar developed its own pattern-perceptiveness, which increased multiply the efficiency of pursuits. Alongside the fulfilment of assignments, it could always offer a selected range of sights, imbroglios of words and sound-configurations. The avatar’s suggestion – alongside the favourable initial conditions – always constituted the next step of the stairway leading to the inexhaustible depths of knowledge. (Alongside an unfavourable constellation and bad calibration, of course, they could also serve to assist with great velocity into a regression leading in the wrong direction...)
The avatar also became irreplaceable in the cultivation of connections: it regularly reconciled its observations with friendly avatars (and the avatars of its friends); thus, in the case of thickening harmonisations, or disharmonisations becoming critical, it spoke up and could propose a personal meeting. (This, incidentally, averted that the disparate tendency of their masters/mistresses would consequently become incapable of human contact. Just as it also prevented that the countless subcultures of their broadest association be pulled apart into an incoherent tangle.)
In spite of their becoming universal, at the same time, they also displayed dangerous phenomena, and serious accidents occurred. As servants of superlative efficiency and agility, they could make themselves indispensable, and in this way, even unintentionally, they became the master of their masters/mistresses. More than one home-dweller (fészeklakó) fell victim to his own avatar: there were those who, without assistance, were no longer able to carry out elementary operations, and just a few days after the collapse of the system, died of starvation. Lethargy syndrome brought on by the avatars also culled its victims en masse: the spatial-surround images, rivalling reality, rendered direct proximity superfluous to many, to the point that they not only gave up travelling, but with time, they even lost their ability to walk.
The mental transformation that came to pass in some who were inclined to a mania for power was less directly a danger to oneself: following from the activity of their avatars, their minds were filled with the sensation of omnipotence and the delusion of omniscience. (Albeit, this might have transpired with them even without their assistance – since even before the advent of the avatars, there was an abundance of such examples.)
* Publicated in Die Planung / A Terv (Berlin-Budapest) No. 247, 2048 (ISBN: 978-963-06-2503-6),