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A not too distant Christmas Eve of the future.

December 24, 2005
It is Christmas time once again & I really love this time of year. Getting together with close friends and family to celebrate the year gone past and wish the best of what is to come along with the great food of the season is a cherished time indeed.
So, at this time of the year lets look to where things might be heading in the not so distance future we will all be participating in soon…… (oh and apologies to any actual living Samuel Talons)
It’s Christmas Eve 2020.
by Shane Williamson
Samuel is walking down the crowded city streets heading to the next store to pick up his final gift. Although the majority of his shopping occurs online, there are still many gifts Samuel shops for in niche arcades were the enveloping aromas, fragrances & sounds of Christmas entice him within. This gift though, was proving a difficult dilemma.
Although Samuel lives in the southern hemisphere and therefore it is the middle of summer, snow is falling all around him on the hustling city street. The virtual flakes are seen by everyone that have their VID (Virtualisation Interpretation Device) eyeglasses with them.
The VID like glasses allow virtualisation of the physical surrounding environment, showing representational information on real world objects. VIDs allow the user to see virtual projected images from a meter to hundreds of meters away. The VID is therefore a personalised virtual heads up display that the user sees through. The system is dynamic according to what the viewer is looking at, the amount of light available and what the user is operating.
All of Samuel’s personal digital devices use a technology called GreenIce Networking to communicate and share information & Cell processor time amongst themselves & other trusted sources that Samuel walks by and those that pass by him too.
The VID attaches wirelessly to a grid network of many different devices and networks. Cars, telegraph poles, buildings and even other people allow a multi-broadband connected mesh. Relevant and relative information is constantly updated to his devices through their various connections, displaying appropriately within the VID.
Watching the superimposed map & directions to get to the next shop within his VID, means Samuel can navigate through these unfamiliar parts of the city very easily and comfortably.
Samuel grimaces as he passes a small shop on his right that is using a virtual Rudolf the Reindeer to busk specials to the bustling people going past. Although the ten foot tall cartoon like character is extremely well created and looking, it’s the Arnold Schwarzenegger like voice it is using for the English version of it’s sales pitch that doesn’t seem to fit well at all. The busking system distributes a virtual translation according to the users language preference, so if Samuel spoke German fluently he would hear the virtual busker in that language.
Samuel turned the corner as the VID directions changed to show a short cut through a street joining mall. The mall has one of Samuel’s favorite coffee shops in it and a personalised virtual noticeboard shows what discounts he gets with his Frequent Cup-of-Joe Club ID. Definitely time for a medium Soy Chai, thinks Samuel.
As Samuel approaches the assistant, her VID shows Samuel’s Frequent Cup-of-Joe Club ID details and she greets him warmly. "Good Day, Mr Talon will you be having the usual today?"
Samuel responds "yes, thank you" and a virtual receipt is displayed in the corner of the VID screen. He looks at the virtual PURCHASE button near the receipt for a couple of seconds. The retinal scanner in his VID completes his part of the transaction securely.
Samuel glances around the adorning Christmas decorations of the shop waiting for the Soy Chai to be made to his Frequent Cup-of-Joe Club requirements, like his sweet tooth’s need for extra honey.
A ladies scream out in the mall’s main concourse causes Samuel to turn quickly to it’s source. A lady is on the ground at the far end of the mall looking toward a man running away with some parcels. Samuel looks at a virtual RECORD button within his VID and begins taking a video of the scene before him. As it happened so quick, he is just able to video the offender running past him and then into the street beyond. By the time he turns back to the lady on the mall floor, she is already being helped by other perambulating shoppers and there is no need to go to her assistance. One of the people assisting her alerts the police.
Within a couple of minutes the police broadcast a message to everyone with VIDs in the vicinity for a description or photo of what happened. With Samuel’s video and a couple of other pictures from other shoppers, the local police already have photographic identification and evidence to the person who had committed the misdemeanor.
Samuel and the other shoppers who supplied evidence will later receive community commendations to their citizenship rankings. Citizen ratings help people be recognised instantly for their contribution and participation through peer ranking and accredited community service systems. It is the basis for a trust network that adds validation to people’s digital identities. These digital identities transcend any physical ones by how they change constantly with their use. For instance Samuel’s ability to help the police solve crimes quickly, assist him by getting reduced council rates for his place of residence.
Samuel sips his hot chai frustrated that the virtual snow fall seen within his VID has him buying the wrong temperature beverage for the hot balmy evening it really is. He strolls out from the mall to deal with his previous shopping dilemma of the evening and that is what to buy his girlfriend for Christmas, since she hadn’t updated her online wish-list which still had last year’s present wish of a Burmese Tabby…..hmmmm maybe a puppy this year!?!?!?
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