“Thanks, yo,” I replied, looking around.
WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU.
Inside the gate was a shining city on a hill and stuff, and in the middle this big ass park. The whole place was huge and colorful and seemed frickin’ amazing. It was literally glowing. Like supernatural almost or something. I thought it must be some kind of VR filter probably, and turned my head back and forth a little to check. It seemed legit.
Up on the hill, in the middle was a giant dome. It looked awesome.
THAT’S THE FREEDOME. IT’S WHERE THE PEOPLE OF THIS PLACE GATHER TO CELEBRATE THEIR FREEDOM. WITH LIKE FIREWORKS AND STUFF.
“Wow, rad,” I said. “Fireworks inside a dome though?”
YEAH, DON’T WORRY. THE DOME OPENS.
“Got it,” I nodded. “So, uh, like where I am and stuff?”
THIS PLACE IS SIMPLY CALLED THE CITY.
“Well, that makes sense, I guess.”
BUT THE WHOLE THING IS CALLED THE CONSPIRATOPIA PROJECT. WE ARE A DISTRIBUTED AUTONOMOUS POLITY.
“Wild,” I said, not wanting to show I didn’t really know what that means.
As I turned to look at everything, I heard a noise like gears whirring or something. I tried to look down at the ground, and saw wheels, and like a pole or something.
“What’s my build here?” I asked, genuinely curious.
TELEPRESENCE ROBOT. IT’S BASICALLY AN IPAD ON A STICK AND SOME WHEELS.
“Whoa, rad,” I said. And then was like, wait a minute… “I thought this was VR though?”
CONSPIRATOPIA IS A REAL PLACE, MY DUDE.
SIX REAL PLACES, IN FACT. GEOGRAPHICALLY DISTRIBUTED ACROSS CONTINENTS AMONG NEUTRAL HOST NATIONS. AND SIX VIRTUAL PLACES, ALSO TOTALLY DECENTRALIZED AF.
“Huh, pretty cool,” I said. I moved forward a little bit, testing my robot build. It was pretty responsive. The streets everywhere were like totally paved with like a super smooth flooring or something that was wicked shiny. I thought smartly to myself, must be built for good robot traction.
“But you know, uh, I thought this was like an online survey job? Cause like, that’s what the ad said and I did like hundreds already today.”
THAT’S JUST HOW WE RECRUIT SUPER SMART PEOPLE AND FREE THINKERS AND STUFF WHO LIKE TO EARN MONEY ONLINE AT HOME.
“Well, that actually makes sense,” I said, agreeing with them.
AND LIKE SUPER SMART PEOPLE WHO SCORE ABOVE A CERTAIN THRESHOLD ON STUFF GET LIKE, YOU KNOW, PROMOTED TO THE NEXT LEVEL.
UNPAID, OF COURSE.
“Uh, of course. But like… uh, I’m gonna make money right?”
OH YEAH, EVENTUALLY. LOTS OF MONEY. TOTALLY.
“Cool, just making sure,” I said. I didn’t want to look like ungrateful or something, so I added, “Cause, you know, my mom would be super mad if I didn’t get paid.”
TOTALLY. YOU ALREADY GOT THE FREE VR GLASSES, PIZZA AND MOUNTAIN DEW THOUGH RIGHT?
“Hells yeah,” I said.
SO YOU CAN TOTALLY TRUST US. WHY WOULD WE LIE TO YOU?
I thought about it, but had like literally no idea why they would lie about it. And it was true, I totally got all that free stuff already. It seemed like a great deal.
“Anyway,” I said, “who are ‘we’, by the way?”
YOU MAY CALL ME THE GUIDE. CAUSE I WILL BE YOUR GUIDE AND STUFF.
“Dope,” I said, moving forward a little. “Cool if we go explore?”
BY ALL MEANS.
The robot had a really smooth ride. It seemed really cool. But I got the impression it was like only a sort of basic model, and they probably had better ones – just like the VR glasses.
I rolled around a lot, and saw what looked like a mixture of shops and homes. I didn’t see any people though.
“Where is everybody?” I asked.
THE PEOPLE ARE AT WORK, OR AT THE FORUMS.
“Cool, you have your own local message boards? That’s rad. I bet the wifi must be really good here, right?”
NOT THAT KIND OF FORUM, MY DUDE. THOUGH WE DO HAVE SOME OF THOSE TOO. AND OUR WIFI IS INSANE, YEAH.
“What do you mean not ‘that kind of forum?’”
NOT WEB FORUMS. REAL FORUMS.
“Zuh?” I said.
A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE DEBATE THE TRUTH, BUT IRL.
“Whaa? That exists? Unreal!”
YEAH, MAN. IT’S NUTS. WE’LL GO LATER.
Further up the hill the buildings looked more official, or like old-style or something. I figured the forums must be up there. But we took a right turn, to go down this street that cut around the hill.
We went for a while, looking at the scenery and stuff. I could see in a few shops there were other telepresence robots and a few of them were talking to each other in the same room. But most of them seemed to be talking to somebody who wasn’t there in front of them. I guess they must be talking to each other over wifi or something.
I noticed that the battery display for my robot was down a little to like 76%. We hadn’t been going that long, but I guess a lot of it was uphill.
YEAH, BATTERY LIFE ON THESE THINGS ISN’T GREAT STILL. BUT WE’RE WORKING ON IT. IF IT RUNS OUT, WE CAN JUST SNAG ANOTHER ONE, AND SOMEONE WILL DRAG THE CURRENT UNIT TO A DOCKING STATION.
“Whoa, sick. This totally rules.”
I KNOW. WE’RE WORKING ON THIS CONDUCTIVE RESIN FLOORING STUFF TOO, THAT’S LIKE ELECTRIFIED AND WHATNOT. SO IT WOULD CHARGE THE ROBOTS WHILE YOU’RE STANDING OR ROLLING. BUT LIKE IT’S NOT FULLY WORKED OUT YET.
Damn, I thought. These guys really thought of everything. So frickin’ cool.
TURN LEFT UP HERE, AND GO DOWN THAT ALLEY. I WANT TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING SPECIAL.
“What is it?”
“You have schools? Whoa.”
HELL YEAH, WE DO. AND THEY’RE TOTALLY RAD. CHECK IT OUT.