It is 2084. Winston Smith Jr. was a 34 year old white man living in East London. While an aspiring art living in the Ends, Winston was frustrated in furthering his career as a creator. He was forced to do increasingly menial jobs while his artistic aspirations seemed out of reach as even simple entry level positions as an artist were robbed by AI.
But somehow he kept going, thinking he might breakthrough one day like one of the Vtubers featured on the telescreen. His art was a cry of hope that he posts for free on HateTwitter.
His posts were raw, edgy but genuine. He was scorned by many but what bother the most was how his art meant nothing to most.
But by chance one of his posts went viral. It ran contrary to what the algorithm deemed worthy, but by random coincidence, the hash value made it past the filters.
Winston went to asleep that night elated. His post was getting RTs and likes above 100 for the first time in his life. He was content and happy.
That happiness was destroyed when he discovered the next morning that is art was commandeered by a famous Vtuber and earns millions of RT and likes.
Winston was devastated, as this Vtuber that stole his creative effort was someone he adored for many many years.
Winston knew he had no chance against the Vtuber. Copyrights only mattered if you were rich and famous. And on the social scale of things, he was dirt while the Vtuber were modern day Gods on Earth. They could do no wrong.
In the past, a Vtuber might make a mistake but then disappear. There was no transgression. There was no mistake. There were no bad actors.
And yet, Winston’s thirst for vengeance was too strong. He could not let it go. Since he had been a long time fan, he knew various quirks of the Vtuber in question. He uses his knowledge of old unarchived streams and superchatted with innocent sounding questions to geolocate where the Vtuber lived.
He had to know who this person was. He had find out what compelled that Vtuber to steal his idea.
After carefully and meticulously connecting all the dots, he arrived at the location where the Vtuber was believed to live. His qualifications as a cleaner and delivery boy and repairman worked to his benefit. He managed somehow to get inside the gated community.
But then he discovered that the Vtuber was actually just a relay inside a warehouse. One of many many relays. An army of routers were feeding the nets with streams of content, all generated by a vast array of computers.
Winston was too dumbstruck and didn’t realize he had been seen by security. He didn’t put up a fight when the guards managed catch him. Placed in an interrogation room, the “mods” wanted to know how much Winston knew, but better yet, they offered him a job as part of the team.
“Join us,” they whispered in his ear, “or you life will remain evermore empty and purposeless.” Winston seriously pondered the offer. But he had enough.
Winston’s gazed at his interrogators with pity in his eyes.
“And your lives aren’t? You live in a house of cards, ready to be blown away in an instant.”
“Be that as is may,” answered the man in a impeccable dark suit, “that house of cards is how we got to where we are. Our world wouldn’t function without it.”
“I guess we’ll find out,” Winston closed his eyes.
At that moment alarm bells started going off. The AI entertainment farm was caught in a ransomware attack. A cascading series of critical system errors was shutting down everything.
“Tell us the password!!” The men screamed.
Winston’s sheepish smile infuriated the interrogators.
“It’s not a password. It’s my memories. I tied the ransomware permission string to my memories. You can take my sanity. You can steal my ideas. But you can’t steal my memories.”
“We’ll see about that.”
After several stressful weeks, the system was restored. But viewers noticed that a man’s memories would surface from time to time. It would never last a long time, and the mods always had a good explanation.
But many people even enjoyed those quirks. It seemed to make the content more authentic, more genuine.
Those were Winston’s memories revealing itself in a slip of a tongue of a Vtuber, or a doodle by a streamer, or a flier on the background of an anime.
Winston was now hardwired into the system. He was no better than a brain in a jar, tethered to the system that relied on his memories to remain functional.
Winston had no thoughts, no desires, no sadness, no insecurities. He lived in his memories and his memories made all entertainment possible. He knew his memories would eventually inspire others to disrupt the system. And even if that didn’t happen, he was okay with that.
His memories became a focal point of all popular entertainment. And that was good enough for him.