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The Future, With Bells On

Imagine a future where everyone exists within an augmented reality.  Portable computers can create Personal Area Networks, which can wirelessly connect to nearby access points, just like public pay phones 20 years ago.  Information is downloaded automatically to your PAN, and displayed for you via Heads-Up Display in your glasses or even contact lenses (perhaps in the far far future, even ocular implants.)  Life becomes an MMO, where people’s names and identity tags can be freely visible floating above their heads.  Shaking hands exchanges information automatically from social networking sites, giving you free access to whatever little bits of information the other individual has posted about himself – or what friends have posted about him.

In such an informational paradise, privacy becomes a precious commodity.  Misinformation is handled and traded as a means of currency in an ongoing cyberwar between the rich and the powerful.  Every day citizens are caught between two choices – simply giving in (the route I would believe 90% of the population would take), foregoing any belief in private information and simply accepting the free exchange of data; or fighting the data wars, struggling to keep whatever bits of private precious they can.  Facts become entirely subjective, as you can augment and alter your reality to the point where actual and virtual become indistinctly blurred.

I should write a story in such a setting.  I figure it’s just around the corner – 20 years, max, before we see this implemented throughout the entirety of the civilized world.

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