Are We All Doomed? The Nirvana Effect

I fear the Cloud like I fear death.

Similar to what awaits me in the great beyond, the Cloud is an abstract concept that replaces a physical existence with something intangible I can’t visualize but simply must accept.

I know it’s where people store their books, music, photographs, correspondence, money, critical documents and other personal items, but I like my things where I can see and touch them to reassure myself they exist. That’s why I have overflowing bookshelves and a ridiculous CD collection. I print too many emails, and I still write checks and stamp envelopes to pay utility bills. Here’s the most horrifying thing you will hear all day: I still receive DVDs from Netflix in the mail.

I know it’s not rational, so we don’t need to start that argument. The more important issue is what do I do with all this paranoid energy? Well, write a dystopian science-fiction thriller, of course, where technology takes over and society deteriorates into isolation, chaos and crisis. What happens if one day we make a complete transition to a digital life?

The Cloud has its defenders, and it makes good sense on levels of convenience and ecology. But I know too many people who have lost entire libraries of music files, eBooks and family photos when the invisible storage locker undergoes a full-on vanishing act. In the bat of an eye, the Cloud can wipe out a lifetime of accumulation like a house fire.

How can I trust the Cloud when I can’t see it? How do I know it’s double locked? Just because some tech company tells me so?

My son has a virtual reality set-up in his room: bulky headgear that traps the eyes and ears, blinking sensors on 7-foot tripods, and digital experience packages ranging from immersive games to idealistic environments to extreme thrills.

One day I tried out the VR experience and entered a manufactured world. It was realistic, perfectly dimensioned and scaled, and after just a few minutes, it made me sick to my stomach. My physical being rejected it. After I removed the gear and touched real walls and furniture to shake off the bogus stimulation, a lingering discomfort remained: like it or not, this is the wave of the future.

My new book The Nirvana Effect is set only a few years from now. Virtual reality has reached the next level where just about any human sensation can be replicated by tricking the brain and nervous system. The technological breakthrough is such a success that it quickly becomes more popular than real life (not a stretch of the imagination given the real-life events of the past year). What happens next? Most human experiences take place in the Cloud. Traditional society begins to erode. And it gets even worse when the government steps in and decides to hijack – er, subsidize – the technology for increasingly nefarious Big Brother purposes.

The Nirvana Effect will be unleashed upon the world in April 2021 in hardback, paperback, audiobook and – somewhat ironically – eBook editions. The pre-release reviews have been great, and I’m very excited to download my story into your imagination. It’s a big adventure on a broad canvas with regular people facing critical decisions with epic consequences. The book shows what happens when you blur the distinctions between real and fake, and surrender control. The technology boom doesn’t just want to captivate your mind, it’s grasping for your soul.

How far will we submit to computers and where will it lead? After reading The Nirvana Effect, you might think twice about how much time you spend with your head in the Cloud.
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Published on February 25, 2021 18:56 Tags: brian-pinkerton, dystopia, science-fiction, virtual-reality
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message 1: by James (new)

James Gianukos Congratulations Brian on your new novel. One that will soon reside on my bookshelf rather than the Cloud. I am heartened that someone like yourself, a generation away from me, still pays bills by check in stamped envelopes and like similarities.
Jim Gianukos

message 2: by Brian (new)

Brian Pinkerton James wrote: "I am heartened that someone like yourself, a generation away from me, still pays bills by c..."

I like the walk to the post office, it gets me out of the house!

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