Dr. Cyberlove: 2025 (for Future of New Media)

 
     My name is Jarrett.  I am 40 years old.  The year is 2025, and I live in Manhattan with my wife and infant son.  We have another child on the way, due in 5 months.  I was born in Los Angeles, which has recently been ravaged by an epidemic of fatal car accidents, suspected to have been caused by cyber-terrorists hacking into in-car computers on a massive scale and causing them to malfunction in dangerous places.  Cars have driven off cliffs on Mulholland, ran red lights at 90mph on Wilshire, and even driven straight into buildings, all attributed to computer malfunctions.  With it’s lack of reliable public transportation, L.A. has become one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
     In Manhattan, cars have been completely banned due to this influx of cyber-terrorism, and airspace is heavily monitored due to threats of drone strikes by terrorists who have been able to hack into drones due to the much-advised-against research into autonomous drones several years earlier (approved/encouraged by President Trump) that has made weaponized drones much more susceptible to covert & malignant hacking.  A government mole has sold top-secret code to unknown malignant splinter cells, and these cells have been taking over drones and attacking major cities with unknown motives.
     The government encourages people to move out of major cities into more suburban or rural areas, but this is highly controversial, as many see this as the terrorists winning, striking fear into the population and forcing major lifestyle sacrifices.  My family has been resistant to the idea for the past couple years, but with a second child on the way, we are seriously considering moving off the grid to protect them.  But do we want our children growing up sheltered from reality, or engaged with it, and aware of it?  This is a serious question between my wife & I, and we have gone back and forth in the debate, each of us regularly switching sides.  We both love Manhattan, and it is considered one of the safer major cities due to the extra attention it receives from our military, with a practically locked-down airspace and constant drone & network surveillance, but the pressure continues to mount, and the terrorists always seem on the verge of gaining a step on the government’s defenses.  My wife actually works for the Department of Defense in the field of remote drone defense (currently on maternity leave), and even she fears that the government might soon fall behind the terrorists, opening the door for massive attacks that could wipe out cities.
     My nephew Noah, who lives with his mom (my older sister) in a distant suburb of Los Angeles, has actually become an anti-establishment hacker, with the ambition of getting in with a benevolent group (like Anonymous) to help defend against cyber-terrorism from the underground, but at the tender age of seventeen, his heart & mind are highly malleable, and his antiestablishmentarianism could just as soon lead him into the hands of brainwashing cyber-terrorists, many believed to be disillusioned Americans who just want to see the world burn (a demographic that has grown like wildfire since the first inauguration of President Trump), and still many others posing as Americans online to lure in initially-benevolent hackers like Noah.  The fact, is, the excessive programming knowledge kids Noah’s age now possess can be equated to a 10-year-old wielding a machine gun, thinking it’s a toy until it accidentally fires…

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