In tomorrow’s digital world control shifts to you. Your digital boundaries will dynamically change the CGI green screen world on your devices’ screens. When you can choose who and where you really want to be, we will learn there are many kinds of greatness in all of us.
It will be new stage of history, an age when we control reality and start deciding what is the world.
The next morning, still in the future…
“Sit down and fasten your seat belt,” your brother says, his face appearing on your teleportal.
“I’m already sitting… on the train to the office. And was working,” you grin.
“Well hang on tight,” he says. “They’re pilot testing a new constructed reality, and it’s turned Washington upside down.”
“Hasn’t reached me yet.”
“I know. I’m here to pull you into it, so pay attention.”
He takes remote control of your teleportal, moves himself to a corner of the screen and focuses in the new constructed reality. Before you can stop him he gives it control over your shared space backgrounds.
“This isn’t business as usual,” he says. “You know the Washington money system that keeps politicians in power forever? Well, this morning it’s a disaster.”
Your screen display splits with four live images of politicians speaking. Two are addressing breakfast meetings, one is giving a news interview and another is a talking head on a morning TV cable news show.
There’s no sound but they all have company logos coming out of their mouths, and three have small red clown noses. Two are wearing clown hats and one is in a full clown suit. Next to each is their name, the amount of money they’ve received this year from their topic’s donors, and the amount of money received from those donors over their lifetime.
“Looks crazy enough for you and the worlds you live in,” you tease your brother.
“These are both Democrats and Republicans,” he says. “The constructed reality uses speech recognition and text analysis to figure out their topic, then it retrieves the amount of money they’ve received on that issue.
“At $25,000 their donors’ company logos come out of their mouths and float up like balloons. If over $5,000 came from an individual donor, that person’s face and name float out of their mouth. If the money came from a group an image comes out, like assault rifles for the NRA.
“At $50,000 it adds a small red clown nose, but they’re careful to keep it small so you can recognize the politician’s face.
“At $100,000 a clown hat is added. It’s bright yellow with a red rim and red ball on top. Can’t miss it.
“Next is the big one. At half a mil they add a full clown suit, but no ruffled collar so you can still recognize their face.”
“I like it,” you say. “The more money they take the more they look like a clown.”
“The clown stuff stays visible until they switch subjects,” your brother says. “Then it goes away. The ‘reality’ spends a few seconds identifying the next topic, pulling the financial data from their records, and alters their appearance while displaying the new amounts of money.”
“I’m shocked,” you say. “This is being done to both Democrats and Republicans. It isn’t about one party attacking the other. It’s the money.”
“That’s the big deal,” your brother says. “This constructed reality is named the ‘Money Party.’ Everyone’s reacting because they’re literally saying that every politician is in the Money Party. They never say their party affiliation.”
“Okay, I get it. Thanks,” you say.
“That isn’t all,” your brother replies. “The big ‘Aha!’ is politicians aren’t as dumb as we think. In fact, they’re smarter than all the rest of us put together.”
“The bloggers have started writing about governmental capture in this country. They’re calling the ‘Money Party’ a front for a ‘Power Party,’” he says. “They’re calling the politicians ‘sock puppets’ because they’re so good at beating up each other. They named the Republican/Democrat fights the ‘sock puppet show’ because everyone watches them fight — while the real game is totally ignored.”
“So this Money Party reality moved it out front,” you say. “Nice, but it looks like an app, not a reality. It’s cute, but I’ll stop paying attention in a few hours.”
“You can’t. When I changed your teleportal screens to the constructed reality, it changed your boundary settings. This reality’s overlays are added to Washington politicians from all video sources. Across all your screens, the way you’ll see politicians has been permanently changed.
“Whether you’re watching TV news, a streaming video or any other visual source, your teleportal boundaries will recognize Washington politicians. This new boundary process will show them with payment amounts, mouthed logos, and clown noses, hats and costumes. You’re going to see all Senators and Representatives like this from now on, as Money Party members.”
“Let me get this right,” you say. “Every Washington politician will be in this constructed reality on all screens? The way I see them will always change based on how much money they take on each issue?”
“Yeah, from now on you’ll see them in their real world, the money world. That tweak to your boundaries took me a whole second, but you can turn it off.”
“Wow, I like this new reality. Washington must be in an uproar.”
“The signups for the Money Party reality are huge. It hit a million its first hour and it’s skyrocketing. A Washington blogger started a campaign to get 10 million Americans to switch their reality so they always see politicians this way, but it’s taking off so fast he upped the goal to 50 million.”
You look at your screen with new interest. There’s some choices and information where menus usually appear.
“What’s this signup to get alerts, by issue and legislator?”
“You can follow your politician or your issues, and be notified every time they open their mouth on one of your hot button topics. You can see them live, or use this to see what they say and their money trail on every issue. Whether live or recorded they appear as clowns based on how much money they accept.
“Hmm. I’m into healthy food, energy that’s over priced, global warming, education, and gender issues. Now I’ll see how much money is ‘invested’ in each politician in each issue, every time they open their mouth.”
“Yeah, but the potential power shift is next to those alerts,” your brother says. “There’s ways to post your reactions or outrage with just one click. These include a pledge to ‘Defeat the Money Party.’ If enough of a district’s voters publicly pledge to vote out a ‘Money Party politician,’ that strengthens other candidates who are running to turn over that seat. It gives them a base of potential votes and an issue to run on, plus lots of video of their opponent dressed as a clown. Voters who want change are already asking their friends to sign pledges.”
“So how well does this work technically?” you ask.
“It’s from one of the public interest organizations and they’re learning as they go. Volunteers follow every Representative and Senator to everything they do in public. They stream the video with any kind of device they can, including wearables like glasses and lapel cameras.
“During the pilot they’re getting feedback on how accurately the systems recognize each politician, identify the issue they’re talking about, and display the financial information correctly from the donors.
“When they know it’s right they’ll keep it live, at least through this November’s election.”
“Will that include the primaries, which are coming up?”
“Yeah. It’s timed perfectly. With primaries and then elections around the corner, this is flipping out the politicians.”
Who knew a digital reality could change the world?
Image credit: The first graphic is credited to Shutterstock. The second graphic is copyright Dan Abelow.