Vision Paper – Samantha Ho
By Sammie Ho
May 11, 2016
Working from Home
“Let me hear ya say ‘Heeeey Ms. Carter!’”
Rey’s eyes slowly creep open. A hologram of Beyoncé is posed against the opposite wall and begins strutting around the edge of her bed. Knowing that she only has one more line before the beat drops and she’s forced awake by the heavy bass, she screams, “I’M UP.”
A short chime greets her grumbles and the music is cut off. A self professed “Child of the 2010’s,” Rey wishes she had been alive when Beyoncé was still touring the world. The closest she ever got to a live performance was a holographic showing of her last stadium performance. Now, stadiums sell out favorite, recreated performances of musical legends. She prefers the vintage music of the past, thanking her parents for at least naming her after the really old Star Wars characters.
She stretches her arms and hears another chime. The sensors embedded in her apartment, combined with the iRing on her right ring finger, have read this gesture as a sign to start turning her bedroom into a place to get ready. As she steps out of bed, it starts folding into a table. Across the room, a sink is revealed on the counter and a mirror appears above it. She steps in front of the mirror and hears another chime. This time, the chime is accompanied by a warming sensation from the ring. Either a family member or really close friend has given her permission to know that they’re also using their mirror. Rey grabs her Apple Watch from the counter and attaches it to her wrist. Before she can check her list of mirrored contacts, she hears a melodic tune.
The mirror presents a picture and message: “Jennifer is Calling.”
With a sigh, Rey taps her thumb to her ring finger and accepts the call. The reflection of a woman with geometric shapes cut into the side of her short hair smiles back at her on one side of the mirror. While there is no one physically standing in the room with her, Rey knows that Jennifer is looking at her own mirror at home.
“I’m going to make this quick. We’re rescheduling the meeting to 10 minutes from now. Talent has to live stream their daily vlog in an hour. See you at the table,” she says.
Before Rey can even respond, Jennifer’s reflection disappears from the mirror. She grumbles. Working in the live performance department for YouTube, Rey supervises all of the daily vlogs for channels, making sure their sponsors are also happy. Ever since TV channels moved to the Internet, YouTube has become one of the big three. She’s hoping that she’ll get to work on their long form, fiction broadcasts next year. Although they’re not technically broadcast like television used to be, the scheduled YouTube episodes are basically the same format.
Rey brushes her teeth and leaves the counter to get changed. As she leaves, the mirror disappears and is replaced by a thin screen. She walks to her closet, places her iRing hand on the wall, and slides a piece of the wall to reveal her clothes. Changing out of her pajamas, she’s glad that she doesn’t have to live with a roommate again. New York City’s growing population has forced apartment buildings to build fully equipped, single studios the size of bedrooms.
Ten minutes later, she hears a chime. She walks over to the table in the middle of the room, formerly her bed, and sits down. Again, she feels the warmth on her ring. In the same manner as the mirror, photos of three other people are projected around the table’s surface. She hears, “Ready to Connect?” and taps her fingers.
Projectors from the four corners of her apartment light up and the holograms of three other people fade in around the table. They begin to discuss the sponsorship for their talent’s vlog for today. Working from home has become the prime environment for many occupations and has been normalized by the use of holograms and virtual communication.
“Nike wants to make sure that you wear their entire collection for each of your outfits today,” Jennifer says.
“Yeah, I just got the drone delivery yesterday during my live stream. I didn’t open it because I was sponsored by Forever 21 for the day,” the talent responds.
Meetings at the table usually follow this same pattern of checking off the sponsorship list. Sometimes even the meetings’ lunches are sponsored and delivered to everyone’s doors for the day.
“Alright, my vlog is starting soon and I’ve got to change,” the talent says.
“Just make sure that your music is playing the approved set list as well,” Rey notes.
They all sign off and Rey is left to an empty room again.
* * * *
Returning from a grocery trip on the first floor of her apartment, she walks to her closet.
“Food,” She states.
A chime responds and the door to the closet changes color. She slides it open and reveals refrigerator shelving. She stores all of the food and checks her watch to see the list of food items grow.
Her next order of business is to check the other daily vlogs. She steps away from the table and gestures. The table converts into a couch, facing the screen above the counter. As she sits, a chime is heard and the same familiar warmth returns. She checks her list of subscriptions on her watch and selects one of her clients. Immediately, a hologram is projected next to her on the couch. A popular gamer on YouTube is playing Halo 34. She watches her talk through the game, wearing the Adidas outfit that they had discussed last night.
On her watch, she scrolls through options of different communities to watch the livestream with. She decides on a small gaming community that she has been observing for research purposes this week. Immediately, comments and likes are projected beside the TV. She forgoes the option to hear and see holograms of certain members who are watching in the same type of room as her.
She leaves the projection on and walks to the desk in the corner. Gesturing over the surface of the desk, holograms of notes and websites that she had been looking at last night are revealed. She can see the data from this certain gaming live stream changing with each minute. She sits down to organize and throw out unnecessary files.
“Keep. Trash. Keep. Trash,” she says out loud, pointing to different files she’s displayed on the wall in front of her.
With each word, she hears a different chime. As she works, the room starts to get darker. The live stream from the game is nearing its end.
“Thanks for watching, guys. This recording will be available for another week if your friends didn’t catch it live. I’ll see you tomorrow; same time, same place. Thanks, again, to Adidas for this amazing outfit, ” the gamer states.
The hologram and screen shut off.
She checks the time on her watch: 7:45pm. Perfect. The new season of The Bachelor begins tonight, before they allow you to start voting on all of the contestants. This year, it’s another celebrity edition. She gestures to hide her files on the desk and walks to the couch.
She sits down and feels that familiar warmth on her finger. She checks her watch to see a message from her sister, who’s abroad in LA.
“Want to watch together?” it states.
She taps her finger and a hologram of her sister comes to life on the couch.
“Man, I love technology,” she smiles.
“Same, here,” Rey replies.
The screen lights up with the episode.