2010 Virtual Future
Author: Malo Girod de l'Ain
Price: 20 euros
Format: 15 x 21
Nb of pages: 245
An interactive look at tomorrow's alternate realities
This book crosses the boundary between reality and imagination. It contains both an essay and a short novel.
Part I explores our immediate future. In less than six years, the Internet evolved from an obscure technological network into the primary medium of information and enterprise. How will we respond and reason as we confront the multiple technological advances that are inevitable over the next several years? The consequences will be immense. Can we begin to predict and face up to them today? Yes, and we had better start now.
Part II is a novel that transports the reader into a great worldwide adventure set shortly after 2010. Everything is real—well, almost. This is not quite science fiction, but a tale that takes place within our near future virtual reality. The story is at once amusing, surreal, unsettling and ultimately optimistic.
Malo Girod de l'Ain is an entrepreneur with a passion for new technologies and a keen interest in the evolution of our planet.
Malo Girod de l’Ain is an entrepreneur passionate
with new technologies and with the evolution of the world. Early adopter of the Internet, he directed since
1995 the development of many online sucessfull services from finance to
cheese with a forte in movies.
Innovating entrepreneur during the "Internet bubble" and afterwards,
he drew from it many of his intuitions and theories on our future.
Malo Girod of Ain analyses the main topics of our future in his books
and novels and also takes part in futurology
works to implement in a concrete way the concepts, ideas and products
He started his career in New York and then in Paris as a management and
technology consultant. Malo Girod de l'Ain has then
created and managed numerous companies in Paris, San Francisco and Sao
Paulo including a software tools editor and a venture capital company.
Phd in engineering, law and gemmology diploma. Fluent
in english, french, german and portuguese.
Reader comments and press reviews
"An astonishing investigation of our future. Must read."
- Christophe Chausson, President, Chausson Finances.
“This imaginative book is appealing. It offers food for thought, then throws the reader into a disorienting adventure."
- Xavier Maury, communications consultant
"A work of research and contemplation within the reach of everyone."
- Le Parisien (daily newspaper).
"Malo Girod de l’Ain’s book offers us a look ahead and realistic interaction with the year 2010..."
-- Industry and Technologies Newsletter
"An innovative concept in prediction."
--The Tenth Muse
Table of Contents
Part I: A Preview of 2010
1.A new planet
Multitudes of pioneers
The power of imagination
Multiple universes: a new mobility
Moving toward a new intelligence
The theory of singularity
The theory of the new era
The era of accelerated invention
The era of communication
2010: a new era begins
3. The outcome
Vexism (Virtual Existentialism)
4. Technology first
Power and consolidation
Uses of awareness
5. Public entertainment
New forms of entertainment
Globalization of entertainment
6. Economic consequences
7. A world conscience
Some major developments
A world without fear?
8. And after that…
A world government?
Part II: A 2010 Adventure
11. The 2010 mercenary
13. The Secret Service
15. A game
17. The mission
18. The Network to the rescue
19. Dr. Gbhytz
20. The mines
23. A Discovery
Excerpt from Chapter 1
A new planet
An analogy can help us get a better view of today’s major developments. In 1997, Jacques Attali called the Internet a seventh continent. Today, in order to understand the rapid changes bringing us into a more virtual world, another interesting analogy might be the discovery of a new planet, or perhaps the exploration of the moon.
It required extensive resources—of intelligence, finance and motivation— to enable the first man to take the first step on the moon. Now we are discovering within the Internet a new virtual world with oceans of digital knowledge, multiple modes of communication, and an ever-increasing array of new technologies.
The first men arrived on this virtual planet in clumsy space suits, too poorly equipped to move far with their little modems and squawking phone lines; even a “fast” Internet connections in those days was too slow for them to observe, to move, to explore, to swim in the digital seas, or to communicate with any natives that might exist. And unlike the conquest of the moon, which is now virtually complete, the exploration of this new virtual planet is still gathering speed. Soon we will be able to move about freely on this new world, the virtual universe. What will we invent? How will the exploration influence organizations and gradually change the way they behave during the coming years? How will this discovery transform our modes of thought and action? What infinite new sources of adventure will open up for us? Of course, we won’t all move onto the "new planet" today or tomorrow. Like the exploration of the moon, progress will be incremental, and the conquest will be progressive.
Multitudes of pioneers
It’s obvious that the first territory of the new virtual world—online Internet video games—is already highly populated, even though we are still a long way from having the technology needed for an optimum experience. Over the past decades, videogames have begun to move their players into new universes. Games with multiple players heighten this fascinating experience, which is coincidentally the fastest-developing segment of the industry. With the advent of 3-D games and graphical programs, and with increasingly realistic Avatars, another stage has been reached.
The word ‘Avatar’ initially meant an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, so by extension, the word generally means the transformation of a person or an object. In game programs, an Avatar graphically represents each player. Online games already attract hundreds of thousands of players, sometimes even millions in the case of Lineage in Korea. Many new games are still arriving on the market, or are under development, that will attract different demographic groups than today’s players, who are mostly adolescents and young adults.
In his study of Norrath, the virtual world created by one of the most popular online games, the economist Edward Castronova that of that of hundreds of thousands of registered players, twelve thousand already considered themselves real inhabitants of this world, which had become their primary "residence"—and that study was done in 2001! Starting from this research, and based on the actual transactions made on auction sites (for example, those selling Avatars), the author analyzes the world of Norrath as if it were a real country, and discovers this:
The hourly wage is approximately $3.42, and the work of the inhabitants produces a GNP ranging between that of Russia and Bulgaria. The monetary unit of Norrath is valued on the foreign exchange markets at $0.0107, which is higher than the Yen or the Lira.
Are we still in reality? Or are we already in a virtual reality? In any case, the pioneers have already departed. Soon we will become a million, then a billion human clones, virtual robots and Avatars.
Excerpt from Chapter 9 (opening scenes of the novel)
May 2, 2010, The East Coast of the United States. A siren howls in the large room.
Monitors flash. On the large wall screen, a code appears in huge characters: 241 Frmt.
“What happened?” Asks Marl. He spins around quickly, his long chestnut-colored hair swirling through the air.
“We’re hit!” yells Jack from the back of the room. “Attack! Attack!”
“Everybody to your station! Stay calms!” Yells A.F., standing and waving his hands in front of him, his eyes tracking everything from behind his narrow black glasses. “Stay calms, stay calm!”
I appear chuckling on the wall screen and the other monitors--cool! “Stop it, Vipi, there’s not time!” Jack complains. I curl up and disappear from the screens.
“How did they get in so fast? It’s impossible. Which account?” asks A.F. anxiously.
“Garigue,” Jack howls. “Pathetic screen name. Four levels of security cracked!”
“Who’s the bungling idiot that came up with this access code, this pseudo-poetic screen name ‘Garigue’?” asks A.F., furious. “No protection, a direct password without the mandatory protection levels and anonymity. Cretin! Trash!” he howls. Who had the gall to pull this James Bond stunt?”
Silence. Then a small voice, almost inaudible: “It’s…uh, it’s me. I, uh, I, I’m sorry... “ I didn’t do it on purpose, I just, I wanted ... “
"The damage is done, we’ll deal with it later,” says A.F.. “Quick, what are the attacks, from where, which address?“
“Several—and they’re clever,” answers Jack. “We’ll shut them out, then we’ll attack. Level One retaliation.
“…marching as to waaar!” I sing, appearing on Jack’s monitor.
“You? You’re gonna get erased right now,” threatens Jack.
“Hey, don’t even think about laying a hand on our darling Vipi,” Marl protests.
“Stop it,” says A.F.. “We need to focus on the attack.”
I make myself small and watch. One team starts to reinforce the server firewalls, checking all the security measures, blocking the access points. The other team gets ready to make a Level One counterattack —which is obviously no big deal. A Level One attack is soft, almost the same as heavy traffic. The hits are controlled by a sophisticated program, organized by time zones and the populations of different countries. So the attack just appears to be unusually heavy traffic. The site becomes extremely busy, but it doesn’t suspect anything is amiss.
Hours pass. The siren howls again.
“Again!” A.F. complains. “This is crazy. So where is this attack coming from? Where? The same ones?’ he asks.
“It’s different server addresses in mode IPV6,” yells Jack, “but probably the same. server, 248.
“Firewall server 248, quick!” A.F. orders “Attack level two. Mode jamming, then a general sweep.“
“Action! Great, done!” exclaims Jack. “Already fine here, but then there’s another one—beep, beep!”
“Congratulate yourself later Jack. Same program as the first attack, First team, you repair and check all the servers. Check the system status, install the latest patches. The other team launches the counterattacks.”
A narrow balcony crosses the room midway between the floor and ceiling. On it are some chairs where anybody can take a break and lose himself in daydreams, looking down on the screens, the walls, the dancing images, the text, and the words.... I often see them going up there to reflect, lost in their thoughts and their discoveries. Some of their most important ideas and creative insights have come from these moments of daydreaming on the balcony. They call it the “balcotank,” a balcony think tank.
A.F. meditates on the balcony. Surely he realizes that there aren’t enough of them to counter what is definitely the most serious attack since the creation of The Group. When it happened, they were caught entirely off guard.
Now, rule number one: never underestimate the enemy, thinks A.F., no matter what Jack thinks. These clueless invaders... they’re major jerkoffs. They’re digging their own graves. But Jack doesn’t get it. There’s not enough time. First thing we need is reinforcements. At least eight people, the best available. I need three: Zoulou, Tag and Gbhytz.
After an hour of thought, A.F. inspects the primary network from the top down, looking through all the known directories on the servers.
“Slimy little bastard! The prick hid so much so well that I can’t find it anymore. His last known screen name was ‘perversezulu,’ but it’s not even there now. It’ll take Bordtrou to find it,” he moans. “Jack, get me all the known coordinates for his boat, The Willemtsara..
“And then what next, lazybones?”
“Jack,” moans A.F.. “
“OK, OK. Since it’s not your job, Jack gets stuck with it. You have plenty of extra time to pull rank on me.”
Three minutes later, Jack shouts the answer from the back of the room. “Cannes.”
“Cans of what?” Asks A.F..
“Not soup cans, stupid. Cannes in France, C-a-n-n-e-s, where there’s sun, boats, women and movies for hipsters from the last century.”
“Oh, Caaaannnnes,” Marl is filled with excitement and says coyly, “Yeah, yeah! I’ll go! Who’s coming?”
“Nobody’s going but me,” says A.F..
“It’s always the same guy who gets the fun jobs,” Jack complains.
“Shut up, Jack.”
“Awww… “Marl complains. “In Caaannnnes, two years ago, they set up the world’s most advanced sensory multi-immersion room. It’s too much! My little sweety-sweet Leonardo was there this year, and he said they’re showing the newest experimental films in the Camus category!
“Too much or not, your industrious ass stays tied up here,” says A.F. impatiently.
Meanwhile, the others have continued their search and already found four technicians, some of the best. But where to get two more? Where are Tag and Gbhytz—in New York or Shanghai? On the Network?
A.F. is instantly connected to the Web travel agency they use to make reservations. “Round drip ticket to Cannes, immediate departure and rental car,” he says simply.
Four seconds later he hears, “Sir, your flight and car are reserved.” The words are spoken by the familiar, suave voice used by the agency, which already knows his preferences.
“Welcome aboard, sir,” says the flight attendant in an elegant voice. “You’re on the second level on the left, next to the central staircase.
“Thank you,” A.F. answers. “Some place! It’s impressive.”
“Is this your first flight in the A380?”
“Yes, it is. I’ll go have a drink at the bar before we take off.” Obviously, A.F. hasn’t yet flown on the Airbus 380 since it was introduced a few years earlier. This Air France flight uses one of the latest models, with more than 700 seats. You’d think you were in a transatlantic liner with the levels, the huge staircase, the bars and the promenades. It’s only missing the salt spray and the smell of the sea! Imagine! It’s a great piece of work, but I hope they can do as well about taking off on time.”
I see him connecting to the travel agency in order to put this type of plane on his trip preference list. No more flights in those other old buses with the low ceilings. I’ve been with them for a long time. To ensure safety and anonymity, they always fly economy class, and whenever possible, they stay at one of the many small apartments they own or rent all around the world.
A.F. arrives at the Cannes apartment. It’s located at the beginning of the rue de Lorraine, one of the streets parallel with La Croisette, the main road along the seafront, but almost a half-mile away—it’s quieter and more discreet that way. There are two nice rooms overlooking an open courtyard. Like all their apartments, this one is equipped with an automated system of simulated residents. Water, electricity, lights, and shutters are turned on and off, opened and closed, controlled by the daily simulation program they developed. If anyone calls, an intelligent answering machine engages in conversation. If the questions become more complex than it’s able to answer, it transfers the call to the group
Next morning, A.F. leaves the Cannes apartment and turns right onto rue du Commandant Vidal toward the sea. There are strong gusts of wind. Turning right again, he reaches rue d’Antibes, always busy with its hundreds of fashionable shops. Just before the Palais des Festivals is rue Jean de Riouffe, where A.F. likes to have a coffee at Café Crillon, a traditional place frequented by locals, not tourists. The Palais is only a few more meters down the street, and A.F. realizes that he arrived just at the beginning of the Cannes Film Festival. The energy is already in the air. He spots the first photographers, who have stationed themselves near the Palais, ready for the first photo ops and press conferences. The security guards at the large hotels in the area are already at their stations.
To the right of the Palais, the harbor of Cannes is always filled with the world’s most beautiful yachts. Their flags of convenience undulate in the wind. At the beginning of the pier that skirts the Palais, the big catamaran ferries are ready to make excursions to the Isles of Lérins, the cluster of small islands in the bay. After the ferries, ranked from smallest to largest as if they appeared in a catalogue, are the latest pleasure boats from the best Italian and French shipyards.
Since it’s festival time, the port is full. Not even a single extra slip is available. Farther out, some large cruise ships serve as floating hotels. On the other side of the harbor, the smallest power and sailboats are still, relegated to a position far from the projectors. A.F. walks to the end of the pier, passing by several immense though clumsy sailboats, better suited for life in port than regattas on the high seas.
He can’t find his friend’s boat, so he climbs up to the elevated observation deck to get a broader view of the seaport. On one side, the panorama is splendid, with an unspoiled view of the entire bay of Cannes with its luxurious yachts and grand hotels. By contrast, a few forlorn old tubs are anchored on the other side of the jetty. Good, I’ll come by again later, he says to himself, and we’ll fill in the blanks. He turns and heads towards the Palais du Festival. And Camus? I wonder what they’re showing this evening.
He connects with filmfestivals.com and checks today’s program on his cell phone, which looks more like a translucent credit card. The Camus category is screening a much-discussed film by the director Togolais Pomevor, who works just outside Paris in a warehouse studio he shares with several other avant-garde filmmakers.
Might as well check it out, thinks A.F. before calling a contact in Cannes to locate a scarce ticket. There are always more films screened in Cannes than even professional reviewers can possibly see. Between the big films in the mainstream category and those in the sub-categories—documentaries, biographies, industrials—the variety is huge. CAMUS (Cinéma Abstracts Multi UniverS) is an alternative category of the festival, with films by young directors that are barely tolerated by the officials It came noisily into being two years earlier, established by the young filmmakers of FERA (Fédération European of Realiziteurs Audio-visual). This group refuses to stay within the bounds of conventional cinematography. They produce works that are incomprehensible, but also highly acclaimed by a passionate young audience. The former presidents of the Festival, Gilles Jacob and his predecessor Pierre Viot, would never have tolerated such deviance. But times change.