“A Lost Art”

“Made in America,” the label declared, “by a machine.”  The Augmented Reality implant had always been 1000 USD, including the surgical procedure itself.  Almost laughably cheap, everyone had one installed at birth, hospitals didn’t even ask for authorization anymore.

Just think, not that long ago, people had to physically carry their computer with them from place to place.  And they were huge, up to 10 cubic centimeters.  People had to login constantly to update their feed, but not anymore.

The AR system tapped into the optic center of the brain and displayed an overlay filter on everything within the wearer’s field of vision.  At first, it was little more than a heads-up-display, but it’s evolved over the years.  Don’t like seeing the bare trees in winter?  For you, it’s always spring, with new leaves and flowers blossoming.  Don’t like seeing piles of trash along the street?  For you, they’re heaps of roses covered in a fine mist of mineral water.  Don’t like seeing fat and ugly people?  For you, everyone’s just a bit fatter and uglier than you see yourself in your mind’s eye.

During the AR development, there was some concern about social isolation.  A clever programmer solved the problem.  When your field of vision notices someone you’re networked with, their image flashes blue, and your social score rises.  This feature placated the nay-sayers, who only stopped whining about the oncoming torrent of information to tell someone they should recycle that bottle instead of dropping it behind them.  It got people to grow their networks, meet new people, and stumble around crowded areas to get more points.  In short: it made people more social, not less.

Since the system was embedded in nearly everyone’s brain, personal information could be shared instantaneously across distance.  If you bumped into someone in your network; all their updates, selected thoughts, and what they’d seen since the last time their shape flashed before you, would download to your AR implant wirelessly.  People could get to know each other without resorting to unreliable communication methods like speech or the written word.

With AR, you don’t have to miss anything.  If your conscious mind can’t keep up with billions of updates per minute, that’s what the other 90% of your brain is for.

[Jun 2 Writing Challenge] On the probable result of a fast-paced life.

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