“It isn’t clear when this happened to her; perhaps it happened to everybody at once. But at some point the internet became more real than the physical world. There was a time when it seemed like a dream – an impossible thing with uncertain implications. And then suddenly it was everything. There are people, she knows, who don’t use it, who have no presence on it, who can’t be searched for, who can only be accessed by going to their house and knocking on their door. But those people are the dream now. They’re like ghosts.
There was a time, she thinks, as her hand moves back toward the keyboard, when a physical artifact—a letter, a piece of clothing, a room full of still-unopened boxes in another world—was the conduit to what could be known about a person. Touch that thing, hold it, smell it. Inhabit it. Close your eyes and remember.
Now, you search first, remember later. We don’t need memory anymore—the internet has replaced it. And it’s a good thing for Elisa, because it is all she has.”
- From Familiar by J. Robert Lennon