XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, in partnership with All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest 5-star airline, announce the winner of a global writing contest to imagine future use-cases of telepresence technology, as part of the Avatars Inc anthology.
The anthology, edited by Ann VanderMeer, was first published online in March 2020 with 24 original pieces by acclaimed authors including James SA Corey, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tade Thompson, Pat Cadigan, JY Yang, Ken Liu, Charles Yu, Paul McAuley, K Chess, Johanna Sinisalo, and Aliette de Bodard.
The anthology is set in the year 2080, with the stories in the form of “memories” that were retrieved from the fleet of robotic avatar systems developed throughout the 21st century by Avatars Inc. The public was asked to locate the 25th and final missing memory in the form of a 2,500-3,500 word short story. Nearly 500 stories were submitted from writers in 33 countries.
The grand prize winner, Anya Ow from Australia, was selected for her story about a Peranakan ship captain who’s been sailing the world looking for someone to inherit her recipes, who finds the partly-functional remains of an underwater exploration avatar.
The winner, as determined by members of XPRIZE’s Science Fiction Advisory Council, received a prize package including a 3.2GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W Processor iMac Pro, a GoPro Hero7 Camera, Sony noise cancelling headphones, a 32GB Kindle Paperwhite, a JoneR Universal Translator, and more.
All three finalists have been added to the “Memory Archives” on Avatars Inc and each is accompanied by an illustration inspired by the story.
The fictional Avatars Inc was inspired by the real-life $10 million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, a four-year global competition focused on the development of an avatar system that can transport a human’s senses, actions, and presence to a remote location in real time. The competition was launched in March 2018 at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin.