Atlantic: Filtering Reality
My second article for the Atlantic Monthly hits the shelves this week, and can now be found online. "Filtering Reality" looks at the political implications of augmented reality. It's a theme I've explored before, but the Atlantic editors asked me specifically to do this topic.
You don’t want to see anybody who has donated to the Palin 2012 campaign? Gone, their faces covered up by black circles. You want to know who exactly gave money to the 2014 ban on SUVs? Easy—they now have green arrows pointing at their heads.
You want to block out any indication of viewpoints other than your own? Done.
This will not be a world conducive to political moderation, nor one where differing perspectives get along comfortably. It won’t take a majority of people using these filters to poison public discourse; imagine this summer’s town-hall screamers on constant alert, wherever they go. Yet this world will be the unintended consequence of otherwise desirable developments—spam filters, facial recognition, augmented reality—that many of us will find useful.
It's a much shorter piece than my previous Atlantic essay, but hopefully the readers will find it just as provocative.
(Top Image: by "Gluekit" as illustration for the article; it's a variant of my original artifact image, below.)