An Article from the Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2030
Written by Martin Van McSnuffly
No one thought that when Google and Disney formed the new company Googney eight years ago, the alliance made any sense, but the company has shown that with Google’s experience in technology and media interfaces and Disney’s knowledge of marketing, human psyche and herd mentality (albeit in the entertainment industry), they are not just on the cutting edge but pioneers of it. The first film projected onto the stratosphere, that with the purchase of Google Glass and headphones, anyone within a 20 mile radius could watch the latest Pirates of the Caribbean 11 (and in 3-D no less). The Drivatars – Online avatars of famous Disney characters that collected all your data and email, could be transferred from computer to cellphone to mobile device, followed where you went and who you spoke to, and actually learned who you are and developed their own personalities to best suit your needs. Their famous Googney Contax, contact lenses with neurotransmitters that “beamed” images and video directly into your brain, allowing you to travel the globe without leaving your chair, with destinations such as Moscow, London, Sydney, and of course, Disneyland.
Well, they are at it again! For visitors of any of the major Disney theme parks across the globe (Disneyland, Disneyworld, Disney Europe, Disney China, Disney Oceanfloor, all of which are their own metropolises now), lines have become unbearably long. While still happy to be in the most magical place on Earth, people have spent weeks waiting in line for a shuttle to Space Mountain (now a mountain in space), or to ride the teacups (a ride that is now the size of Manhattan Island). These long waits have taken a toll on attendance at all the parks and Googney has decided to use a little of their “magic” to fix the problem. Yesterday, the company announced its latest technological marvel, the TimeWarp Brain Game App. For any of the Disney Theme Park patrons who have purchased and installed Googney Contax, a simple app download can take away the drudgery of waiting days to ride through The Haunted Mansion (which now contains a real graveyard).
The app’s concept is simple: avoid long lines by shutting off your consciousness for the duration of the wait. The original idea was to beam a Disney movie that matched whichever ride a visitor was on, but study groups showed an extreme backlash to this option as it appears human beings react violently to watching The Little Mermaid more than 50 times in a row. Thus it was decided that instead of beaming a movie in, they would theoretically beam the minds out. Once downloaded, all it takes is to put your fingers to your temples, close your eyes and say an activation phrase, “VOOP!” You will enter a sleep-like state where your mind will “go to slumber” while your body stays standing and moving in line. When you cross the “Spirit Line”, a special transmitter strip at the end of the line, the app will deactivate and your consciousness will be restored. Though you may have been waiting in line for hours (or days, as is the case with the Indiana Jones ride), to you it will only be the blink of an eye
There has been some strong opposition to the new Googney product. Andre LaCreddia, spokesperson of the anti-neuraltech movement group Think Free, says that this app is just the most recent example of corporations like Googney masking a horrendous invasion of privacy via entertainment devices. “These people have created a direct window into all of your personal information – credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank accounts; information that they could sell to other companies as prime demographic data. But it’s more than that. Experiences, memories and personality; how do we know that these things aren’t being altered without knowledge or consent? How will people know if they actually experienced what they remember? And how could these families be abused in these technological comas? What if they are suddenly put to work, cleaning the park or serving food?”
“That is preposterous,” says Googney Attraction Supervisor Donald F. Brobbom. “There’s no need to implant memories. We have spent countless of trillions of dollars over the past decades creating theme parks and attractions that are a joyful experience no matter what level of technology your brain is augmented with. The idea that we would sell the personal information that we collect and use it for non-park related purposes is as offensive as it is absurd.” Mr. Brobbom went on to point out that they have created a whole new Disney personnel whose job it is to take care of and watch over visitors who are using the Timewarp Brain Game App. “The visitor’s health is reviewed during the slumber time by the app itself, and warns our people if the patron is hungry, thirsty, needs to be relieved, has a cramp, or has a number of other physical problems that may arise during the course of a splendid time at one of our parks. We do not and will not hijack people to work the park . . . that would be going too far.”
Mr. LaCreddia says it’s already gone too far. “Simply trusting the biggest company in the world to not collect and use the information after they have recorded it is dangerous. They have already put our minds in danger. What if there is a server crash, and a person’s mind is completely wiped out? The scientific community can continue to push the boundaries of neural science, but it should not be used on the public by international conglomerates before we fully understand the ramifications of this technology. They are risking our lives and we are letting them. They want us complacent. They want us servile. We should shut it down; shut it all down.”
But a total shutdown is not likely to happen. The public response to the new application has been tremendously positive, and the new Googney app was downloaded over 20 million times before the close of business the day it was revealed. “I can’t wait to try this out,” remarked park patron Susan Honglee right before she activated the new app while in line for Splash Mountain. The moment it was on, Mrs. Honglee’s face took on a pleasant look with a faraway stare. 59 hours later, when Mrs. Honglee got to the front and crossed the Spirit Line, her face picked up with the same cheer she showed at the beginning of the line. “It’s like I blinked and was suddenly here. I love Disneyland!”
Reports have come in that a few people have experienced an unsettling paranoia after deactivating the app, and one person even described his wait time with the app as “16 hours in a lake of fire”. There have also been rumors that a few visitors have had psychotic breakdowns after using the app for more than a day, but no evidence of such an instance could be found. As to the possibility of a server crash causing parkwide loss of patron personality, Brobbom says it would never happen as they don’t store minds, they simply turn them off. “Besides, technology isn’t full-proof; there will always be kinks. But no one’s brain will be wiped out or reprogrammed. This isn’t some evil cabal that seems more at place in one of our movies. This is Disney and Google. This is fun.”