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Living in Information by Jorge Arango

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Introduction

Every weekday morning I commute to work on BART, the San Francisco Bay Area’s metro system. When I look around at my fellow passengers, I’m struck by how few of them seem to be fully present. Many of them—often, most of them—are staring into small glass rectangles in their hands. Their bodies share this train car with me, but their minds and attention are elsewhere.

Where are these people? I sometimes catch glimpses: chat bubbles, games with colorful candy explosions, videos of Bollywood dancers, a news website, a cat GIF, Facebook. Sometimes a smile or a frown flashes across their faces, evidence of an interaction that the rest of us are not privy to. Their focus is intense: they only come back to the here and now when the train ...

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