Unlike the incoming administration, the Obama White House has been fairly consistent in its friendliness toward technology and Silicon Valley. Its latest attempt is no different, except this time it’s going after the future leaders of America. That’s right, teens: The White House wants you.
The latest endeavour comes in the form of an app called 1600. It appears to be an attempt at replacing every boring US high school lesson on White House tradition — it’s basically a tiny, “interactive” version of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Users can train their smartphone cameras over a US dollar bill, and a 3D version of the White House pops up, complete with a brief history narrated by the dulcet tones of White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
According to Josh Miller, the former Facebook employee-turned-White House director of product, it’s designed to appeal to youths. “We don’t want it to feel too much like a homework assignment from your fifth-grade teacher,” he told the Verge. “We want it to feel fun, like a game.”
I can think of plenty of other things I would have preferred to spend my time with in Year 5, but anyway! The app was created by UK-based Nexus Productions with help from the White House Historical Association, and we’re told the company received no payment for its contribution to moulding young minds.
1600 joins the White House’s previous efforts at looking hip, like that weird Facebook chatbot and Obama’s forays into virtual reality. It still hasn’t lived up to that time Malia Obama allegedly played beer pong, however. Better luck next time!