A few drivers honked in frustration, but the rest of the vehicles idled without complaint. That was the easiest way to tell which had a human at the wheel; machines knew not to waste their energy on emotional inefficiency.
“FBI!” Keegan announced as she approached. The law enforcement agency networks were supposed to be integrated, but they’d been developed by different sets of contractors. Anytime a crisis like this arose, the area was soon awash with cops from DC’s forty-six different law enforcement agencies, reporting to their own bureaucracies. So the information flow lagged, often taking seconds or even minutes to transfer across systems. No sense in getting shot by an itchy-fingered cop, just because a government contract office went with the low bid.
He changed shoes, into a pair of basketball sneakers, but with lifts on the left side, which would alter his step and throw off any gait recognition software. 6 Then he went to work on the facial recognition side, putting on a pair of thick, glossy black Nike AR glasses, and slipped in a set of prosthetic teeth with an overbite. A small foil pouch held a moist wipe, which he ran over his cheeks, lips, and chin. 7 The girl on the train’s anti-surveillance makeup was for fashion. People who weren’t just playing at rebellion used skin lotion with microscopic refracting beads. The beads were invisible to the eye, but they distorted camera imagery at the pixel level.
It should be a quadruped. The best bots she’d worked with in the Corps had four legs; they could lose one and still move. The only downside of the doglike designs was Marines got more attached to them.
“You gotta see it.” He waved his hand to pull up the feed on the wall screen, and narrated as it played. Her eyes darted to the corner to validate that it had the blue watermark, to confirm it wasn’t a deep fake.
Sagan was perhaps the most eloquent harbinger because his concern came from a place of deep understanding: ‘I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.’”