Work, and related technology
Operators of machinery, of remote tools, of flow systems and so on will usually have their schematics projected onto the ubiquitous auxiliary eyelid, which is artificial and provides everything a 2D monitor screen can. (Including text scrolling of books, or live news bulletins.)
Most also have an implanted controller with on / off switch for pressure / direction commands. This is jacked into the nerves where they report movement back to the brain. Mechanical grips are controlled by feedback, moving index-finger and thumb. Like operating an invisible joystick, rolling an invisible mouseball (with index finger) or using an imaginary keyboard. Jaw clenching = fire button or click. Jaw-dropping is other click option. Scrolling follows your line of sight (like viewing microfiche, but without the mirror-motion). For text or instructions, you may prefer quiet vocal orders (eg for dictation), specific instruction phrases or pseudo-keying (analogous to enhance touch-typing).
Complicated work may involve specialized holo-keyboards, like aeroplane consoles.
Physical risk is unavoidable during clean-up operations. The need for manual hands-on labour in clean-up zones is unavoidable. (Controlling robot scouts requires the same number of humans but is less efficient.) No human slacks off in a danger zone. They might if they were behind a screen, leaving all sorts of nasty surprises for later travellers / developers. Plus wasting the cleaning effort - only by constantly expanding the 'clean' borders can (re-)contaminant encroachment be prevented.
Elsewhere automation is rife. Routine, repetitive tasks are carried out by robots, not humans. Humans are encouraged to find fulfilment in a job whose challenges are appropriate to their abilities.
Computers are used for planning and advising - expert systems are highly advanced and capable of retaining, assimilating and filtering vast amounts of information. But matters of judgement are always left in the hands of human managers: no computer program is thought to be capable of the intuitive 'feel' necessary to take any decision involving human consequences.
The greatest advances have been in materials, with 'wonder substances' able to fill any materials role cheaply, quickly, and efficiently. Primary among these is Gloop.
Gloop technologyGloop is often trumpeted as the single greatest technological advance of the last century. More enthusiastic supporters say that such acclaim is shortchanging it; it's the most important for X hundred / thousand years (take your pick).
There are a wide range of types of Gloops, of different structures, used for different purposes. Gloop may have a bio-engineered or crystalline structure, or may be a matrix containing both. Gloop may simulate simple life-mimicking behaviour patterns (very limited repertoire) or merely be used to transmit data / matter / electrical impulses or some combination of the above. Gloop can be mixed to multi-task, so a custom Gloop blend can perform a variety of entirely disparate functions at the same time. Gloop may be of various densities, depending on the constituents of the blend.
Gloop in tanks processes materials by transporting them in relevant directions to a semi-permeable screen, having separated any large mass into smaller masses. The screen / membrane is at the mouth of a tube, and is designed according to the Gloop viscosity. A tank may be run for as long as viscosity prevents spillage into the tubes. Spills into tubes are OK as Gloop only mixes with the stuff it's designed to deal with in there.
Gloop can be used to absorb (pick up) radioactive isotopes of varying mass and insulate them, holding the energy and allowing slow seepage at safe levels until the half-life has passed. This enables the clean-up of contaminated zones / water.
It is thought possible to develop a Gloop blend containing bacteria which break down organic waste to useful molecules. Similarly, a different blend might be able to deal with inorganic waste.
Vacuuming will remove most spillage, but the rest has to be spaced (ie. fired out into space, beyond potential orbiting distance, in some random direction). People know spacing is clean and safe, but are hazy on the details and don't think about it too much. Spacing is rare and low in volume - many precautions are taken against Gloop spills. Gloop is precious and useful, and hard to synthesize. Companies don't like people who waste their Gloop. People aren't really aware of the extent of the problem any Gloop spillage presents, however. Top scientists are investigating, even now, ways to recycle damaged or adulterated Gloop, so we don't have to keep decreasing the Earth's mass and wasting resources in the long term.
No alternative has yet been devised for dealing with Gloop spills. Spilled Gloop cannot clean or be cleaned off material it is not designed to deal with - this is great for container materials, but a bastard when spills occur. No one knows what reactions will eventually result if you mix one Gloop blend with another by accident. The results have always been spaced asap.
Gloop seems infinitely reusable while uncontaminated.
Gloop blends have replaced water and soaps for bathing purposes. In FreshgelÔ, one element of the blend removes loose dead cells and foreign particles from the skin/hair, while others take up sweat. SkindeepÔ has an extra element to deal with cosmetics. When there's no more stuff to be removed, there is nothing to attach it to the skin surface, so it flows off. A separate blend can be used for washing and cosmetics removal in one go. Similar functioning Gloops do laundry / washing up (there's no such thing as wet-cleaning clothing). Clean water can then be reserved for drinking, agriculture, gardening and the rare real-water swimming pools. VR Tank Gloop comes in several varieties - some people prefer sweat to be cleaned while experiencing vrs, others like getting mucky, briefly - sweat on skin makes it more real, so the Gloop removes it at an appropriate evaporation rate. You can get out of your VR Gloop squeaky-clean but with unmuzzed make-up if you choose a variety which doesn't clean cosmetics.
Gloop tech is zealously protected, and is the primary target for inter-Corporate espionage.
Limitations of GloopGloop can come in many containers. That, in fact, is its main limitation. It must always be in a container or it will seep away. The time taken before such loss affects functioning depends on the consistency / viscosity of the Gloop. Bio-Gloops are runnier: the more bio, the more runny. (Something to do with surface tension and water content.) Some crystalline Gloops are so viscous that, if the crack is small enough, it may take years for significant leakage to occur.
It is vital to ensure that Gloop does not become inappropriately contaminated, eg. clogged with dust etc. Household Gloops usually contain elements that deal with dust, shed particles and other potential domestic contaminants. (Don't pour cosmetics or liquid nitrogen into your Gloop tank, though.)
Gloop is always more dense / viscous than water
Gloop cannot be used to record or simulate smells, as the numbers of molecules are too small to be effectively transmitted. Also, each smell consists of a large variety of molecules too many for any one Gloop to deal with. Smell simulation depends on a hardwire connection to each olfactory nerve, (so varied intensities can be experienced), with a visible / hidden interface for a receiver / decoder stud (similar to earlobe tech) to receive the relevant signals. Each decoder can only cope with a certain variety / range of smells (see above notes on smell complexity), so it's not perfect, but at least those who have the connection fitted can experience smells during vrs.
The use of fossil fuels for power generation is a thing of the past. The idea of wasting these complex molecules by burning them is an abhorrent one. (Much more useful to turn them to chemical synthesis purposes.) Instead energy is drawn from geothermy, from wind and wave motion, and from solar power, beamed down from orbital microwave relay stations as well as directly powering surface installations. By the nature of these resources, many of them are sited in relatively remote areas.
|'I see there's a new Evoke expo on at the Table Talk hall. Coming for
'Oh la! - what sweet reverie! Will divine Hayle Sacker be showing? Last year, with one whiff, I was Cleopatra herself, on her barge in the Nile '
'Yeah, I guess she is pretty trill. Whatever ticks your box '
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