by Max Barry

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by The Despotic Dictatorship of Despoticania. . 326 reads.

Heaven Simulation

Despoticania is suffering from a crippling unemployment of approximately 60 %. Advanced automation and AIs have made a large number of jobs obsolete, and according to most estimates, this trend will only continue in the coming decades. The Despoticanian state is rich enough to provide more than adequate welfare for its unemployed population, but millions of citizens having nothing left to do is still considered one of the most important social problems.

By the beginning of 2017, approximately 30 % of Despoticanians have opted to live more or less permanently in a massive computer simulation known simply as "Heaven". Heaven is maintained by the government and consists of millions of interlinked simulated worlds, each created and customized by one or more residents of Heaven. Thanks to advanced quantum computers, Heaven has almost unlimited processing power and can easily run all the virtual worlds and simulate the complex interactions of their residents. Heaven can be accessed from any of the dozens of Dream Hubs, which can be found in most Despoticanian cities. Dream Hubs are massive underground complexes where the bodies of Heaven's residents soak in vats of nutrient fluids and are watched over by robot caretakers while their minds are linked to the simulation. The physical location of Heaven's actual servers is a state secret, though a persistent rumor claims that the central server complex is found under The Despot's fortress. Those living in the simulation are often called the "virtually ascended".

The residents of Heaven are not obliged to do anything productive, but many have found meaning and occasional employment in designing and selling elaborate games and virtual worlds. The quality of these worlds is often extremely high, as the virtually ascended have a true insider's perspective and are motivated to make their products as realistic and detailed as possible. They can also earn money and/or simulation privileges by partaking in various social experiments the government often performs on willing virtually ascended.

The Church of Transcendental Hatred is vehemently opposed to Heaven, seeing it as the ultimate expression of sinful solipsism.