|We start off with increasingly sophisticated
peripheral devices such as wristwatches, cell phones, PDAs, mp3 players,
digicams, laptops, etc. These devices start to become inextricably
attached to us. We're wearing them in holsters at all times.
Before long, they become integrated into one another and we're sticking
ever-smaller models in our ear or embedded in a tooth. As the miniaturization
peaks, subdermal devices are the norm, and it is less than a decade later
that people start demanding interfacing directly between their nervous
systems and their electronics, especially for their children who, after
all, will be able to take advantage of the greatest degree of plasticity
of their fresh neurons.
And while the real world is still where we interact much of the time, this greater integration means that people live on their computers more and more. That world means there is a greater richness to this VR environment that diminishes the "virtual" in virtual reality. Eventually the work simply begins to work and play inside this Matrix. There's no commute, information is exchanged instantaneously, and so on. People only come out occasionally for food or sex, but eventually the computer makes that easier.
Only a few daring individuals venture outside to explore the "real" world that almost no one lives in anymore. But their bodies are so weak from disuse, they pretty much no longer bother to attempt even these excursions after a while. Soon they are simply operating robots via a 1st-person interface so they don't have to leave the VR anymore.
Whereas reality used to be directed toward designing and building this VR world, now "reality" is a bleak operating system for the VR. You wouldn't want to leave the comforts of what has become a home environment for you as you've transcended reality, so no one actually travels outside of the VR. There's just no point since the automated technicians handle everything.
And since people are already backing themselves up on recordable media, it is only a matter of time before they've managed to develop electronic models of themselves that are indistinguishable from the real thing. These modeled versions aren't grounded in a fragile biological substrate the way you and I are at the moment, so which is built for the long term? Right. The biological copy gets deleted.
Thus humanity transcends itself by the year 2724 AD. Start packing.
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