In Brief

Anon presents an entertaining exploration of how some of the more concerning trends could develop

The new movie Anon presents a dark future where everyone’s reality is both augmented and accessible. Although the Netflix film doesn’t dwell on how the technology works, the characters vision is augmented with data and infographics. As they walk through a near-future world, people can see additional information about the people and things they see (of course, there’s augmented advertising). This experience is not unlike the effect current AR designers are trying to produce through their phones.

In addition, there are no computers or mobile phones in the movie. The characters access their version of the web, called the Ether, through their ‘minds-eye’ (an effect we also saw in the Black Mirror series). They can make calls, they can search the web and they can do their work: an interesting scene is in a stockbroking firm where dozens of people sit at empty desks just looking into their minds-eye and working.

Talking to CNET, the directorAndrew Niccol says:

If you go out in the street right now, everyone’s looking at a device. All I’ve done is improve the device… I’m friends with a guy who’s a big deal at Google and he gives his daughter his phone to play with. When he gets the phone back he couldn’t stop getting ads for My Little Pony. So he goes to Google headquarters, Can you please get rid of this? And they said no. We can’t. The algorithm’s too strong!

The darker part of the experience is that everything the characters see can be accessed by others. The characters, played by actors that include Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried, can share visual content with one another but the authorities can access it at any time. The challenge is that people in this future world have the habits and behaviors of today’s world and this means that some people in this future world  want to edit or scrub some of these ‘memories.’

While the intent of the movie is to be entertainment, for readers thinking about tomorrow’s possibilities, Anon presents an exploration of how some of the more concerning trends could develop.

Anon

The new movie Anon presents a dark future where everyone’s reality is both augmented and accessible. Although the Netflix film doesn’t dwell on how the technology works, the characters vision is augmented with data and infographics. As they walk through a near-future world, people can see additional information about the people and things they see (of course, there’s augmented advertising). This experience is not unlike the effect current AR designers are trying to produce through their phones.