A dystopian reboot of some sponsored Internet of Shit content

Dan Hon (previously) took note of a sponsored tweet in The Atlantic's Twitter feed: "SPONSORED: The future city: What changes when everything is connected? #MSFTCloud #ad" and decided to have a go at answering the question. The results were fantastic.



Dan's tweetstorm-cum-dystopian-short story is part of a burgeoning genre of Internet of Shit dystopias (see, for example, my story "The Brave Little Toaster" and Mat Honan's The Nightmare on Connected Home Street).

Some highlights:

This wasn't turning out to be a good day. She told me I was on my second strike: one more, and I'd lose streetlight privileges. I'd heard about that: a social shaming punishment. Streetlights would create a cone of darkness around just you. It sounded horrible.

It's not like the streetlights worked, anyway. In theory the full-spectrum full-color LEDs were super smart, but they were IOT-dumb. Some joker had leaked another cache of NSA zero-day's for Windows Embedded last month and the lights had been useless ever since. At least the kids at the high school were having fun. The lights outside Elspeth High kept flashing 'Mr. Franklin Is A Kiddy Fiddler'.


Anyway, using streetlights to create a cone of darkness for social shaming if you hadn't paid a water bill? Which idiot thought of that? I didn't have it as bad as the single parents, though. An irritation for me, a complicated connected hell for single mothers. Everything was connected. If you had a fidgety kid at school that day, you got an automatic fractional WIC deduction as parenting punishment.

In the meantime there was easy if boring work if you wanted it. All those smartlights needed a hard reboot thanks to a daily buffer overflow. Essentially you'd get paid to take a walk and say hello to all the lampposts. A morning connected constitutional.

Pity the single dad who took his kids to the park on an access day though. If he hadn't paid his support, all the structures locked up. "PLAYGROUND DISABLED. SUPPORT YOUR FAMILY, BRIAN. $632 OUTSTANDING. PAY WITH  PAY OR SQUARE NOW." The other parents and kids scowled at Brian. He just turned around and took his kids with him. Ten seconds after they left, the playground unlocked. So yeah, our connected city's great. We've never been happier.

"Everything was connected, and I was fucked. I was late paying the water bill, so the parking meter refused service until I coughed up." [@hondanhon]