I recently finished reading the techno-thriller Daemon by Daniel Suarez. It is certainly not literature, but it is a fast-paced thriller that I found hard to put down. It posits a world in which a genius who creates online games builds a systems that makes the entire world into what is effectively a game, with an augmented reality interface, and in which individuals earn points for tasks that give them higher ranking.
I have long thought it is inevitable that much of our work and play will take place in what are effectively game environments.
In Jesse Schell‘s presentation at DICE (hattip: Kevin Kelly/The Technium) he gives an array of fantastic ideas about the intersection of reality and gaming. After covering how many games such as Wii, Guitar Hero and Webkinz are bring the real world into games, he goes off (from around 18:00) on a rapid-fire string of suggestions about how every aspect of the world can be made into a game.
It is intriguing that mobile social networking, which I have written about since its early days in 2002, has only taken off when Foursquare made it into a game. As people become more familiar with gaming environments and concepts, it seems natural to bring in gaming aspects to more parts of our life. Dangerous things that way lie, but it is inevitable that games and what we think of as reality will be merged to an extraordinary degree.
[UPDATE:] Tom Foremski says why he thinks this is a scary future.