Friday, 24 February 2012

Friday Flash Fiction - Ad Smog

Tommy stepped out his front door and the ads assaulted his eyes right away. Bright flashing lights, radioactive glowing signs hung unsuspended in the air. Buy this. Go there. Eat at Joe's. Just Do It. Spinning and jostling for position, they filled any space they could find. They'd found another loophole in the standard filters. Tommy checked for an update through the neon haze in his vision, but there was none. He briefly considered turning off his contact lenses for the drive to the office, but he had work to catch up on. He'd just have to hope for an ad filter update later today.

The ads were relentless on the highway - reality was barely visible, so most commuters had their cars on automatic. The law said auto drive cars had to stay under 20 kph, keep left and not overtake. With most people on auto, the whole highway was just about deadlocked.

Tommy tried to pull up some work documents to review, but the local network nodes were congested too. Must be a lot of parents trying to entertain their kids with video on the way to school. Well, that and the constant onslaught of advertising trying to download to everyone at once. His local cached copies of the documents might do well enough, most days, but today Tommy knew there were important updates he didn't have yet. He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed heavily.

Just then, through the jungle of bright banners, Tommy saw a council labourer on the side of the road, scrubbing real paint graffiti from a bridge underpass and gathering rubbish in a bag. Without even thinking about it, Tommy pulled out his contacts, opened the door of his barely-moving car and strolled through traffic to lend a hand in a blissfully ad-free and unenhanced environment. The council worker looked up once, nodded in greeting and handed Tommy a shovel without a word.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - It would feel like fresh air for the mind.
PPS - I'm reading Vernor Vinge's book Rainbows End where people wear contact lens computers like this.

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