At the Daily Grail, Greg Taylor posted a fascinating essay about the Pokemon Go experience seen through the lens of medieval occult practices in which "incorporeal entities have sometimes been as much a part of the landscape as the everyday physical objects surrounding us that we can touch and see." As Gregory Benford once said, riffing on Arthur C. Clarke, "Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology." From the Daily Grail:
The modern, scientific view has these entities as products of the imagination; our pattern-seeking minds combining with our evolutionary survival instincts and desire to feel in control, to create phantoms out of nothing. The 'other world' does not exist; its imaginary denizens therefore cannot invade our own world and affect us, as they don't exist in the first place.
How ironic, then, that the modern scientific world has now created its own 'other world' - the world of computer-generated, virtual realities - and the creatures that populate any of those worlds can now manifest within our own plane through augmented/mixed reality. For those with phones to see...
This month, the infernal gates to this other world were thrown open. Within a week of its release, the game Pokémon Go amassed a similar number of active users to that of Twitter - with all those players running about their neighbourhoods, seeking the incorporeal monsters now inhabiting our environment, that can only be seen through a special, magical scrying device.
Everyone behaves badly in this one—snotty youngsters v. violent veterans—but that older guy throwing punches and threatening a pregnant woman should be in jail. Come for the Pokemon rage, stay for the expert demolition of a portable gazebo.
A story at the Winona Daily News appears to concern the same park; it looks like there's a concerted effort afoot to ban more or less any unapproved "gatherings" there, and it's all about the Pokemon Go phenomenon.
The ordinance would cover a wide array of activities, not all related to increased traffic from Pokémon players, and some which is already prohibited. ... recent crowds that suddenly began gathering at all hours earlier this month when the game was released include prohibitions on hammocks and tents, sleeping and sunbathing, recreational activities and games (electronic or not), having pets in the area and playing music.
Why would you bother asking the Pokemon company not to use that location as a gym when it's so much easier to pass sweeping teen-menace legislation? Read the rest
The crowdsourced database that was use to seed locations to catch Pokemon in Pokemon Go came from early augmented reality games that were played by overwhelmingly affluent (and thus, disproportionately white) people, who, in an increasingly racially segregated America, are less and less likely to venture into black neighborhoods, meaning that fewer Pokemon-catching landmarks have been tagged there. Read the rest
A privacy trainwreck: Pokemon Go, the hit augmented reality game that's seeing kids and adults alike scouring the real world looking for monsters to nab, quietly gets "full access" to players' Google accounts. And check out the small print that goes with it. Read the rest