You’re living a long time. One hundred and five is now the average age of a human. That average is creeping up. We’re all living longer as medical technology monitors and addresses issues 24/7. People aren’t being born, and some children are being kept as children.
Thereby is an argument: if a child is kept physically, emotionally and intellectually at six years old because that’s the age their parent(s) prefer them, but they’ve been alive for forty years, how old are they? Most planets, corporations and governments hold that if they’re maintained at an age, they count at that age if it’s an age whereby they’re somebody’s wards or in a protected status. So, for example, some are adults (which varies mightily in the future) but look like they’re twelve, because they liked how they looked then, so they’re counted as their true age. But if they’re twelve and are treated as twelve years old even though they’re fifty, they’re treated as twelve.
Civilization is more complicated in the future.
One decision many face is what to embody. As memory is augmented to provide greater storage and enhance recall abilities because people are living longer, people typically embody their memories as an avatar that can be compiled as a physical presence. That way, instead of just engaging in internal dialogue with themselves, they can call out their memory and invite them to have a drink or share a meal while they discuss their recollections. Brett’s memory is a tanned blonde woman in a red dress (who doesn’t have a name) and Handley’s memory is a pirate named Grutte Piers, based on the real Piers Gerlofs Donia. These aren’t their first memories but they’re their current memories in ‘Long Summer’.
Something similar has evolved for sex. Many people have decided that fake sex with an avatar of their design is more enjoyable than having sex with another actual person. People have foibles. Foibles can be very irritating. The foibles can be mitigated to some degree but people are a bit unpredictable. Many people have learned that they don’t like their sex partners to be unpredictable.
To solve these issues, people often create one (0r more) sex avatars (sexatars?). Like the memory, it’s an embodiment that’s compiled to exist for a period. People can decide exactly who they resemble and how they’ll act. If they want, they can create animal avatars and have sex with animals as a human or compile or modify themselves to be animals and enjoy their sex. Whatever creepy depravities humanity enjoys can be indulged by creating sex avatars. A few people have married their sex avatars. Avatars are people, too, my friends, except they have different rights.
Sex and memory are the two main items people have embodied as avatars but a few people create others. Some have their intelligence or imagination embodied as an avatar that they can call out for visits. Brett has created an embodiment of his personal computer and communications systems, and calls it Carl. Others have gone the good and evil routes, creating twins of the opposite end of their moral spectrum (as they see it). A few enjoy themselves so much that their have avatars that are exactly like themselves created so they have themselves as company. Most find this doesn’t work well, that as people, they’re not the wonderful companions they thought they are.
All of the avatars are as that as anything humans create. Maintenance is needed or the avatars break down and cease functioning.
With all these facets acting in parallel, the population of humanity is slowly cresting, and the average age is creeping up. The oldest humans are upward of three hundred years old. Despite proliferation of new communication technologies and people living longer, people are living more and more in isolation, with only their memories, sex and other embodiments as avatar companions. Sometimes, they miss family or friends and have ideal avatars of them created, too. It makes for happier holiday meals. Meanwhile, Mom, Dad and Sis are alive on other worlds but never hear from Bro.
Yes, it’s an interesting and complex civilization, in the future. Another day of writing like crazy is in the books (ha, ha).
This post has been brought to you by coffee. Coffee: it’s good for thinking (and bowel movements).