Based on patents filed by Apple, the future might include touchscreens on any surface. Whoever wanted to use the tech would have to wear glasses that measure the heat transfer between the finger and the surface used.
At first, it would seem that metals would work best for the application. They conduct heat better than plastic or wood, but any surface could be used as a touch screen given enough instrument sensitivity.
It reminds me of the future described in the third book of Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy. In it, every surface could be used as an interface, complete with advertisements.
Let’s turn this into a story. What if the glasses could be implanted instead of worn? Then, everyone would be able to see touchscreens all around them. There could be paid options for the wealthy. These would come advertisement free, similar to streaming services. People who can’t afford a monthly plan could also get the tech installed, as long as they’re willing to deal with advertisements.
Imagine this is the scene leading up to an election. Facebook’s involvement in the 2016 election showed how powerful tech can influence public perception. Imagine how powerful this would be if the content is being continuously served without a device’s requirement.
Even more insidious, the advertisements could be made to look native to the world around the viewer. The line between fact and fiction would become even more blurred than our current society.
The story could open up with someone standing in line, waiting to register to vote. An aptitude test is required. Citizens have to prove they can tell the difference between an advertisement and their actual experience. They fail, meaning they cannot vote in the upcoming election.
Fast forward to a time in the future. This individual has organized an underground group dedicated to passing the test with hopes of being a part of the democratic process. They kidnap test administers and are confident they will pass the next time. When they take the test once more, they are denied.
The key: they can prove that they passed. The people in power have forced their failure. It then comes out that ALL people who are served ads are kept from voting. The group becomes hunted when the truth is revealed.
The whole thing is similar to Blade Runner, except it’s an altered experience instead of androids.