The Virtual Connection (Stories about AI)

September 14, 2023
September 14, 2023 2immersive4u

The Long Hours

John sat in his small office cubicle, staring at the glowing monitor filled with spreadsheets and charts. The clock on the wall ticked away, its hands inching closer to midnight. The work was endless, the days long, and the office life had started to take a toll on him.

His phone buzzed with a notification, pulling him out of his daze. It was a picture from his wife—of his 5-year-old daughter Emily, dressed in her little pink pajamas, holding a storybook and looking sad.

“Emily missed her bedtime story with Daddy tonight,” the text read.

John’s heart sank. This was the third time this week. What was the point of all this hard work if he couldn’t even be there for the simple, irreplaceable moments with his daughter?

The Breakthrough

The next day, as John sipped his lukewarm coffee and scrolled through emails, a message from his tech-savvy colleague caught his eye. It was about a new AI service that purported to allow “virtual co-presence”—a way to spend quality time with loved ones, even when physically apart. Skeptical but intrigued, John decided to give it a shot.

After a quick sign-up and a brief tutorial, John connected his home smart devices to the service. That evening, after a video call to explain things to his wife and Emily, John prepared himself for another late night at work. But this time, he had a plan.

A Story from Afar

At 8 pm, John’s phone beeped with a reminder: “Bedtime story with Emily.” His heart lightened at the thought. He opened the AI app and selected “Story Mode.” Instantly, his home’s smart speakers activated.

From his office, John read aloud, “Once upon a time in a faraway forest…” As he narrated, the living room lights at home dimmed to a twilight blue, casting a calming atmosphere. The AI smart speakers picked up his voice and relayed it in real-time, filling his home with his presence. Emily listened intently, her eyes wide with excitement, forgetting for a moment that her dad was miles away.

As John read the last lines, “And they lived happily ever after,” he activated a feature called “Goodnight Kiss.” His face appeared on the smart display in Emily’s room, allowing him to virtually “kiss” her goodnight. Emily giggled and touched the screen where her dad’s face appeared, as if to return the kiss.

Reclaiming Lost Moments

The next morning, John received another picture from his wife. It was Emily, asleep, clutching her storybook. The text read, “Someone had sweet dreams thanks to her storytelling dad.”

John felt a surge of happiness, unlike anything he had felt in weeks. He knew that technology couldn’t replace being there in person, but it had given him a way to reclaim some of those lost moments with his daughter.

Work still demanded long hours, but now John had found a way to be more present in Emily’s life, all thanks to a few lines of code and some smart devices. And though miles apart, their hearts had never been closer.