Haunting science fiction about personal obsolescence

Paul Ford's story for Motherboard, "The Last Museum," concerns the obsolescence of a tech exec who's self worth was tied up in streaking past the Zucks and Jobses and Evs and Marissas of today, and is now confronting his own passing strangeness.

Everyone has their own favorite William Gibson quote, often, "The future is here, it's just not evenly distributed." But I favor a line from Neuromancer: "Don't let the little fuckers generation gap you."

I went to see my daughter a few days ago, at her mother's small compound, to tell her about this event. To her it's all ancient history. She grew up post-social, post-screen. Everything she's known has either happened because something sensed she wanted it to happen, or via various beams of light directed straight into her retinas.

We had a bad year with her, an ugly adolescent year in which she took up with some of the stranger kids from Choate Stanford started huffing SpongeFlake.

My ex-wife and I talked with the therapists that are mandated to weigh in on childcare decisions and we collectively determined she would leave Choateford and attend an online program with immersion Mandarin, and pick a non-digital sport for social activity. She chose equestrianism—which, I mean, I brought that on myself? Suddenly instead of kids wearing lipstick on their eyes she was bringing home horsey girls with big smiles. Which, thank God.

"Daddy, let me show you something," she said.

So I went up to her room where she has a sand table and a large set of smart horses, each one coupled to a real horse she owns. She picked them up and stroked them, meaning that in some stable I own a horse was having its muscles neuro-agitated, was hearing her whispers in its ears. Horses have big ears.

She explained something about the horse-human linkages that she was seeking to create. Apparently she wanted new sensors, some new way of perceiving life through the eyes of a horse called Cupcake. I said of course, of course. If it's safe, do it. It feels so weird to me, the way that she is always stroking the walls, signals passing in and through her body.

I have the same wires and retinal drillholes, of course, but I just use them to read the news.

The Last Museum [Paul Ford/Motherboard]

(via Making Light)