The Atlantic

An Augmented Reality

A short story explores the possible quandaries of future wearable computing.
Source: Daniel Huag / Getty

Denise was already late, even before her augmented-reality glasses decided to perform another endless system update.

Updating …
Updating …

She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel of her car. She could not afford to be late for her first appointment of the day. Being late meant being rushed, and a rushed pitch would almost always turn into a failed pitch. She’d been emphatically reminded of that at her last performance review. She’d also been reminded that she needed to fail a lot less, if she wanted to keep her job.

Update complete. Please restart to initiate Pharmanalysis v8.5 for DataPoint View Glasses.

She could not afford to be late. But until she restarted her Glasses, she wouldn’t be able to see her calendar, and she needed to see her calendar to find out where her first appointment was.

Denise had become a pharmaceuticals representative because it promised independence. The Glasses were not in charge of her life or her choices, she reminded herself. They were just a tool. They could not tell her

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