by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright May 2016
In the 2050's communications is going to be quite different from the 2010's. One change is that most people will have internal communicators -- smartphones will become internalized. Another is that people will talk a lot with cyber muses in addition to other people. Yet another is that people are going to spend a lot of time in VR environments, and they will do a lot of communicating while in those.
One activity this will effect is campaigning for elections, and that is what this essay is about.
What a person looks like to other people while in VR is going to be very arbitrary. It will have little to do with what they look like in the real world, and it can be designed. VR image design will become another demension of the world of fashion.
Politicians will be taking advantage of this even more than most people do. They will be working hard at looking convincing to the constituency they are talking to in VR, and no surprise, that look can change with each constituency. It can also change with each bureaucrat, lobbyist, other politician, and influence group they talk with as well. Whew! Lots of change, and a place to spend lots of effort and attention on. The politician's image staff is going to be a busy group.
This means that a poltician's staff's image-shaping energy is going to be split between two broad categories: researching what the voters want to hear their person say on the issues, and researching what visual image these voters want to see of their person in VR promotions and sound bites.
Beyond creating the images, a major activity will be getting these VR images in front of the VR images of the poltician's constituency. They will do this to both convey their message on current issues they are making decisions on, and to get elected in the next round of election cycles.
This image can be presented directly by the politician, or they can have a specialized variant of a cyber muse present it. This specialized variant will appear to be the real politician. (in their VR form, of course) It will be programmed to make a presention, then take and answer questions as if it were the politician. Since politicians like to appear consistent in their views on issues, this Q&A part of the programming should be very easily accomplished.
The biggest virtue of VR campaigning is that the politician-plus-muse can be in many places at the same time. The VR image can be in many places and taking questions from many people. The staff and their muses can be digesting these Q&A sessions to adjust the campaign rhetoric on a day-by-day basis, or even faster.
Given the above, here is a quick story about electioneering in the 2050's.
Jimmy John is in his basement immersed in his VR gaming.
He is in "Fall-in 14: Hometown" a first person shooter game. He is in the post-apocalypse ruins of West Valley City, his home town and where he currently lives.
And he is in a tight spot. The zombies and creepies have run him into the ruins of the Starscents across from Valley Fair Mall. He is on the second floor, wounded, out of healers, low on water and ammo. If they find him like this, and swarm, it is Game Over, and start again from his last resurrection at the Valley Hospital. He will loose all the progress he has made in the last two hours of gaming, and he is not looking forward to that.
"Grrr." ...but what can he do?
Then from off screen comes the sound of automatic weapon fire.
"Good! That isn't zombies." he thinks.
The fire gets closer, he risks a peek out the window. Someone in power armor with a hot automatic weapon is running towards the Starscents, gunning down all in his way. He goes in, below Jimmy, and shoots the place up, then comes up the stairs.
They are now face-to-face.
This newcomer pulls off his helmet. The face is handsome. He smiles at Jimmy.
"Hi. I'm Chris Romney and I'm running for mayor, in the real world. I hope I was helpful. Remember to vote next month. Now I'll be on my way. I've got a few more constituents to rescue before I call it day."
"Nice armor!" says Jimmy, looking him up and down.
Chris grins back, he really likes hearing that. It means he will be remembered, and there is just a bit more twist to this, "Remember Me" Plan of his...
He says, "Yeah! Hot stuff. I'm lovin it. But I'm just renting it from Armors R Us over on 3rd West and 2700 South. I'll be taking it back to them when I leave this world."
Chris puts his helmet back on, waves, bounds down the stairs and heads out.
Jimmy, much relieved, follows him out and then heads for his relief camp to heal up and restock, he will now get there without difficulty. And, with that armor for rent in mind, he now has a new adventure he can look forward to.
Game Saved, and impression made.