The end game

Today I was on a panel about the potential societal impacts of VR/AR. The moderator first asked me what are some potential positive outcomes.

So I described a scenario, perhaps five years from now, when ubiquitous wearables will allow us to return to face-to-face conversation, something our evolution has wired us to do very well, rather than spending our time staring at screens.

Then he asked me about potential negative outcomes. I said it’s possible that people will merely pretend to engage in face-to-face conversation, while they are actually reading their Facebook feeds. Whether that happens, I pointed out, is not up to technology, but up to us.

But then later in the panel the moderator asked whether there were some really nightmare scenarios for advancing technology. So I told him one that’s not really about AR or VR.

Two weeks from today (on December 14), the FCC is likely to do away with Net Neutrality. When that happens, Comcast will be in its rights to refuse internet service to any content provider if there is a legal cloud over that content.

So in one scenario, the President tweets that CNN is fake news, and the Justice Department promptly issues an indictment against CNN for fraud.
While that case is wending its way through the courts, Comcast does not carry any CNN content.

In a democratic society, if only one party controls what information citizens can see, that party is guaranteed to win elections. The party in power then becomes locked in, and the society remains a democracy in name only.

So that was the answer I gave. Between you and me, I don’t think the tax bill was the end game. I think this is.

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