Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Thought experiment

I came up with a totally implausible but wonderful humanistic invention while riding the uptown A train today. What if they outfitted the subways with digital text screens to broadcast our inner most thoughts anonymously for all the lazy-eyed commuters to read? It would sort of be like Quaker meeting house meets bloggie comment thread. We'd all have little microchips attached to our 2025-era MetroCards and when we'd feel the need to vent or share a little bit of our thoughts with the crowded car, we'd just think a few pithy lines and they'd be broadcast for all to read in the space where normally we just stare at ads for exotic vacations, personal injury lawyers, and Dr. Z.

Of course, I have no idea how we'd be able to censor all the cursing that would likely come out of people's heads. But think of all the empathy that would ensue. Suddenly, we'd be able to stare across the car at that lonely-looking fellow human and understand what makes them tick. Random bouts of hugging would ensue. The peace quotient of the city would skyrocket. We'd all be a little more aware of what other people are feeling, thinking, hoping. Sort of like PostSecret (see below), but more immediate. Yes, totally implausible, yes, full of technological problems, but what an idea, what a way to spend a regular old Tuesday evening headed uptown.

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