Borrowing a page from the Orwellian-like hysteria of films like David Fincher’s THE GAME and Charlie Brooker’s BLACK MIRROR – and real world psychologically extreme haunted houses like McKamey Manior, I envision World Peace as an app that – like many highly subversive, immersive experiences – would challenge its users to morally questionable lengths. Similar to Blumhouse Productions’ recent horror iOS app Night Terrors, World Peace uses your phone against you to create a highly disturbing experience. The way World Peace functions is as follows: after downloading the app, one would complete a short survey about their political views. Upon completion of the short questionnaire, users would be greeted with a waiting screen, alerting that the app (and its behind-the-scenes engineers) were actively engineering a completely personalized experience and to “remain patient.” Meanwhile, the app – after being granted access by users’ to “survey” conversations, phone logs, emails and any other pertinent information – would begin to observe the ways in which the user communicates with the outside world (i.e. individuals the user communicates with the most), and how the outside world communicates with the user.
After accumulating enough information about specific contacts’ communicative methods (diction, etc.) over text, World Peace would slowly begin to impersonate the users’ closest friends and loved ones over text. In the ensuing hours, the user would receive traumatic, emergency texts from a contact they regularly speak with. These texts – and the fictional situations that World Peace is making up – are highly influenced by the user’s responses. For example, if a user tested as a far left liberal (opposed to lax gun laws), perhaps he/she would receive a horribly traumatic text message from their child about a possible assailant on their school campus. The situation would end, however, when the child would reveal to their parent (/ user of the app) that the assailant was stopped after their teacher managed to shoot him/her with their pistol (of which they had a license to use). Similarly, on the diametrically opposed side of things, perhaps a middle-aged male individual who tested as a far-right, Islamophobic conservative would find his values tested after a conversation with his wife, of whom is seemingly scared for her life amidst a terrorist attack (carried out by a caucasian individual) at an airport. Just before the terrorist managed to get to his wife, however, an Islamic man thwarted the attack and saved the lives of many. Upon learning this information, how would this World Peace user feel?
Through the use of traumatizing, oft-manipulative material that would surely disturb and/or haunt many of its users, World Peace very well just might be able to nudge people to evaluate deep-seated beliefs. Further, in shocking individuals enough for them to reconsider their relationships with many of those they deem closest in their lives, perhaps then would one be able to convince another to “abandon a course of action” to which they are “emotionally, ideologically [and] publicly committed.