Edwards- Vision Paper
By Kristen Edwards
May 11, 2017
I woke up with the sun again today. It rose at 5:45 AM. As it peeked over the horizon I could hear the sounds of the forest and smell the scent of fresh dew on the grass. But I am very far from any sort of trees. Deep in the crowded sidewalks of Manhattan is where I spend my days as a news reporter.
The forest I wake up to is like everything else in 2030… digital. Instead of the dry wall that covered the walls of my home a decade ago, all of my walls are screens that project anything I program into them. Now, it is the forest. Smells of my choosing are pumped throughout my apartment throughout the day. Lately, it has been Shimmering Pine from Yankee Candle. You know, to go with the dewey, forest theme. Last month it was the volcano candle from Anthropologie to go with my Hawaiian beach theme.
As I sat up in bed I took note of the pitter patter of rain against my window. I asked Alexa, yes she’s still here, to give me an hourly weather forecast for the day. She has become incredibly concise over the years. She knows exactly how I like her to answer: quickly and without unnecessary filler words. She also knows my schedule. I’ll leave my apartment at 7:45AM. I’ll be in morning meetings until 10AM. Then I’ll be out reporting until 3:30PM. I’ll leave work for my commute home at 7:00PM. Taking this into account, she says, “7:45- 8:45 rain. 10-3:30, rain then clear at 2. 7:00- 8:00 clear, but cold. A light rain jacket will do for the day.” I thank her as she scrolls through my online closet interface for a rain jacket. I’ve been browsing the rain jacket selection at Target.com lately, so she rented one that I looked at the longest and poof! It was teleported to my closet and ready for pick up. A drone lifts the rain jacket out of the portal, flies across my apartment and sets it on a stool next to the front door.
I almost ran into the drone yesterday. It’s so quiet and small that I forget it’s there and have a hard time avoiding it mid-flight. It’s all because Alexa is so attentive to my needs that sometimes I even forget what I’ve asked her… and her drone… to do. Amazon is working on the drone software to make collisions less frequent. The drone usually doesn’t detect a human until it’s a couple feet away. Thankfully it hasn’t run into me yet. Some of my friends have had it hit them, but it’s so small that it really doesn’t hurt them. A little cut is all. Maybe if I moved into an apartment with taller ceilings that would help.
Next, I told Alexa that I wanted to be comfortable, but trendy for the day. After a few seconds, she pulls up an array of options on my closet interface. I scrolled through and found a couple pieces that I liked. Alexa has gotten very creative with outfits, but she hasn’t grasped my style quite yet. I had to mix and match a blouse with pants and shoes from a couple different outfits. Once I selected “deliver”… poof! My outfit lay right in front of me and ready to be worn.
The jewelry and makeup package was out of my price range so I have to sift through my physical collection on the closet shelves. When I walked out of my kitchen, Jeeves was already making breakfast. Jeeves is a metallic gold color and doesn’t come close to resembling a human. He has arms, a head and a torso, but no legs or skin or anything else. I’ve seen some that look identical to humans, but that really freaks me out. Jeeves is perfect. And he knows how to fry a mean egg.
By the time I sit down to my kitchen island, my breakfast is plated and ready to be eaten. Jeeves also helps to keep my apartment clean. Sometimes I have buyer’s remorse because Jeeves is just an excuse for me to be lazy. All I really need is Alexa and her drone. BUT I splurged for the $10,000 robot and here we are. As I eat my breakfast, my ‘pump up’ playlist is already playing. Thank, Alexa! Five minutes before I leave, she scrolls through the news headlines to help me prepare for my work day. As soon as she’s done, I step out of my window into my car. Yes, there are flying cars.
The transition from ground-based cars to flying was very strenuous. The government couldn’t get it together with the regulations and laws. They ended up deciding on a 2-year transition period. Everyone in the U.S. had two years to trade their cars in for a flying car. As you can imagine, those two years were a disaster. More news for me to report on, though!
As I hop in, I am quickly vaulted to 50 feet above the height of the Empire State Building. Up here is where all the traffic is now. We don’t have to worry about too many planes these days though. Most people teleport. I’m not brave enough to try it, but some swear by it. I’ll stick to commercial flights for now.
It’s a quick 5-minute commute to work. Ten years ago it would have been an hour by car. With the invention of flying, automated cars, however, the word ‘traffic’ has become obsolete. My car drops me off on the 15th floor of my office building and quickly descends to its underground parking spot.
I walked into the newsroom and made it over to my station. My station consists of a floating interface and a stool. I like to do most of my work standing because it keeps me engaged. Everyone else in the newsroom feels the same. The walls of the building are the same as my apartment. They project our competitors’ news channels and they also house our server. My floating interface is where I do all of my editing. It is all touch screen and most of the tools are enabled with voice commands. I scroll through my FaceBook to see what is trending on social media. Social media is now limited to FaceBook these days. Every time a new platform becomes popular, FaceBook buys it. It has become much more trendy in the past few years. At first, people were upset about its propensity to buy everything in sight. Now, they have managed to become the best platform you could imagine. They have taken pieces of every platform they’ve taken over and incorporated them into their sleek, user-friendly design.
Next, I head to my morning meeting where my story was assigned. I video chat with my sources to get a better idea of the story and what to expect for the day. Soon, I’m hopping out the window into my car and heading off to the story. When I get there, I pull out my cell phone and begin to record b-roll. Cell phone cameras are now the best in the industry. Lugging around giant cameras are a thing of the past. I did bring along a small tripod to help me stabilize my images, though. As soon as I’m finished, I’m recording live videos and teases on FaceBook for my thousands of viewers. My interviews are quick and easy and I am ready to edit. I brought my interface with me and put the package together within 30 minutes. At 4PM sharp I was live fronting my package for everyone in the NYC market.
Every channel in the market now tunes into our newscast at 4PM every day. Every TV in the US is automatically turned on and tuned to their market’s TV stations. It’s been this way since the Era of Fake News and Misinformation. That was a dark period for our country. The spreading of fake news was becoming so popular that it was indistinguishable from real news. It launched us into war with citizens rioting in the streets. Fake news stories about Congressmen committing horrific crimes and the President engaging in illegal activities was the absolute tipping point. It took a long time for the country to get back on track, but in an effort to never allow fake news to be spread any longer, the President signed an executive order that allowed news channels in every market to take over broadcasting from 4-6PM.
In an effort to still keep the news organizations accountable, each TV owner can decide which TV station they would like to be tuned into in their market. My station is one of four in the area. We have half of the city tuning into us every day. That is the maximum viewership we are able to have under the new FCC rules. For now, this system is keeping the peace and as a credible journalist, I am making sure that we are reporting the truth fully. I’m not sure how I feel about this new normal. We will see if it remains positive in its purpose to educate the public.
After the newscast from 4-5, the national news takes over. I head back home in my flying car to meet up with Jeeves. I asked him to have a salmon dish waiting for me when I get home. I can’t wait!