The implications of the impending AR revolution and what it means for how you’ll live your life in the future
The potential for AR is far more fascinating than VR.
It does because it has a far lower cost for participation, physically, mentally and economically — simply put on a headset and explore a whole new world.
It’s an overlaying of the existing world we already operate in therefore there is already a familiarity with it. AR will be able to develop more efficiently and wont’t isolate users from the real world in the same way VR will which I believe will discourage initial adoptance of that technology.
Beautify the World — Permanent Filters
Inevitably, people will build Instagram-like filters to ‘beautify’ the world around them. These will be left on permanently having profound implications on how people act and perceive the world around them. Strangers become more attractive, greens are more vibrant the sun can shine brighter.
Potential Business Model
Once AR headsets reach a sufficient standard for mass adoption subsidisation of the cost of wearables is certain. Data captured by an army of users every day would be absurdly valuable to the service provider.
You would receive the technology for free on the basis that you were willing to submit all your data and account information to the manufacturer of the device.
This immediately sets off the possibility of two classes of users, those who can afford to escape advertisements and those who cannot.
It will also spark the biggest revolution of consumer advertising in history.
Imagine every coffee cup being altered to show Starbucks branding or plain t-shirts having logo’s transposed across them.
Think of moving advertisements being introduced on shop windows like a television or batter across the sky highlights a route to a store and the deals on offer.
AR product placement will be an entirely new market, with virtual goods anchored to specific geographic location. It will allow targeted advertisement to specific demographic in a more focused way, reaching customers doing specific activities.
Advertisement becomes far more efficient as the customer profile becomes infinitely more refined.
AR is about far more than just floating profile information above the heads of strangers. It is an expansion of the human interface by significantly increasing our bandwidth.
Imagine going into a store and seeing food advertised on the table or books laying there for you to pick up and read. Imagine the feeling of having a library at your fingertips without the need to carry around a book. The perfect combination between physical object and technology.
Imagine seeing the route to your destination in front of you, being able to search and see whatever you speak instantaneously or running from virtual dinosaurs which pop up in the middle of the park.
I implore anyone to give Ted Chiang’s short story “Liking what you see” a read. Do we become so entrenched that turning off is revolutionary? I think inevitably this issue will arise eventually, where people refuse to live in the “real world” and see everything as it is, warts and all.
This is the most prescient story on the subject matter I have read and I encourage everyone to read it and understand the implications and potential developments we are on the brink of.
AR also has the potential to remove intrinsic biases in certain situations. By applying filters to the headset we are able to remove preconceptions and underlying beliefs we have no control over.
Imagine being able to apply a gender agnostic filter during situations where you are analyzing something right in front of you.
Imagine a world that looks different to each person dependent on the filters applied by each individual. Imagine having that power to cultivate a world in our own image, amplifying the things we appreciate while reducing the things we don’t
Does this merely multiply the differences each of us have in the world, reinforcing our preconceptions while increasing our lack of empathy for others or does it create a utopian world altered to our preferences?
The Future of the Future
What can’t be disputed though is that AR has the potential to literally lead to the birth of new worlds overnight. AR allows you to personalise the way you see other people, altering human perception irrevocably.
Once the rabbit hole has been opened would people ever be able to escape?Then again, would you ever want to?