Morning in Hadid

by Tod Foley

You wake up to the soothing sounds of your favorite musical style, dynamically intermixed with news of local events and upbeat motivational messages culled from your online searches and interests. Your virtual agent has prepared a to-do list for your day, which hovers in mid-air across the room. As your eyes adjust to the slowly-dawning ambient lighting of your home environment system, your agent reminds you of the interview you've scheduled for today: a low-demand AI training gig for which you were automatically selected based on your reputation score and previous employer reviews.

Padding into the bathroom you encounter the first advertisement of the day, a cycling animation which catches your eye from the corner of the mirror. "NuFace avatars - put your best face forward," says the ad, "Over two thousand filters now available, complete with LiveSetting Backdrops (TM). Gesture here to browse our catalog." You consider it for a moment, staring at your groggy reflection, but decide the monthly subscription fee would be better spent on makeup and mood enhancers. Still, you gesture with an approving signal to the ad, placing it in your playlist for future viewing. The commercial messages appearing on your walls and mirrors help offset your living expenses, and you suspect that certain ad types benefit your datawake more than others.

You use the toilet and glance for a moment at your biometric readout. Your vitals are all within normal limits. Nothing surprising, though it looks like you haven't been eating enough fiber. The toilet notifies your home shopping system, which prioritizes bran flakes and whole oats in the ingredients list of this week's menu, and the food printer in the kitchen adds a new cannister into rotation. The smell of freshly-brewed coffee wafts in from the kitchen area of your small apartment.

"Fifteen minute hot shower," you say. Your agent conveys your request to the apartment's autodomo, which dutifully adjusts the temperature as you step into the stream. As the water warms your skin you ask for a verbal rundown of the day's events and upcoming significant dates, and slide your teethcleaner into your mouth.

"Tuesday is Tamra's birthday," says the voice of your agent, now coming from a speaker in the ceiling. "I can recommend nine wishlist items in your gift price range." You gesture in the affirmative, your mouth full of mint-flavored foam and nano-recalcifiers. The list of items cycles by and you select a virtual visit to the "Cats in Boxes" stream, an in-joke you know will make her smile, and purchase another for yourself. Though you and Tamra live in different cities and neither of you has the credits for travel, your agents will coordinate on selecting a date and time allowing you to share the experience with each other's avatars.

There's enough time before the meeting to head down to the local park and join in a quick vball game. After requesting a citycar which arrives within minutes, your agent moves with you by hopping from server to server as it continues to update you with news and video streams of interest. You cycle through a selection of visual themes, altering your view of the outside world as it rolls by. Buildings, vehicles and people shift in appearance as you flip through your collection -- neo-noir, retro-contintental, cartoon universe, ultramod fash -- before you settle on the default public theme with its clean lines and simple contextual icons.

At the park you check out the progress of your community garden, a microfarming project sponsored by your apartment complex as a perk, and place an order for a drone delivery. Your share of fresh vegetables will be sent to your apartment, where the autodomo will accept the order, washing and storing the greens. They'll make a nice side dish for a 3D-printed salmon filet. Moving toward the playing field you pull up a menu and choose a lightweight game with a few players already in the queue, and together you spend half an hour facing off against real and virtual adversaries in an augmented arena projected upon the playing field. The logos of several major corporations line the augmented space, giving it the look and feel of a professional sports arena. Throughout the course of the game your fitkit monitors your vital signs and communicates with your agent, which sends a report to your healthcare provider; your activity record modulates the monthly expense of your insurance program and sends you personalized health recommendations, which helps keeps costs down.

Scoring the winning goal, you're pleased to receive a few credits from an admiring audience member who watches the match from home via the park's public stream. As the augmented opponents fade from the field and the vball arena morphs back into the green lawn of the public park, you turn and wave at the nearest camsensor, gesturing to send a positive repshare and a quick "thank you" to your unknown fan. You chat with your teammates for a few minutes, checking out their hovering interfaces and exchanging friend requests for future games. Your agent reminds you of the upcoming interview. The atmospheric filters above the neighboring towers have diffused the bright light of the sun into a beautiful orange skyscape, maintaining the effect of a comfortably temperate morning throughout your district. You decide to walk back on foot, taking in the sights and looking up the history of a few local buildings as you go. Along the way you peruse the datafog and flag a few salad recipes, which your agent passes to your foodprinter's archive for later retrieval. On your next shopping run you'll find that several dipping sauces have been added to your suggestion list, each tagged with the recipe from which it came.

The apartment's security bot recognizes you as you approach your complex, greeting you by name and opening the doors for you. You walk down corridors lined with animated advertisements for various home appliances and upscale furniture. It's been a good morning; time to get that gig.

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Author Info

Tod Foley is a writer, editor and game designer; founder of As If Productions, curator of the UbiquiCity series and creator of the DayTrippers and CyberSpace roleplaying games. He's also the host of the Fractopia podcast. More info at todfoley.com

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