Like the early internet, AR is mostly a novelty at this point, such as the London art project in the video below, but the applications are legion. Almost anything humans manipulate in the world, from the commercial (manufacturing, surgery) to the personal (learning a musical instrument, practicing origami), can benefit from in-vision guidance.
(And all that visual data of us doing stuff will be used to virtually train robots to do it better than us. Who’s ready to be operated on by a machine?)
There are now apps that let you see what you will look like older, or with a different hair style or color, what your bedroom would look like with a new floor or coat of paint. This trend will explode. And of course, there’s always the horror story:
But what’s more interesting to me is what AR represents: an invasion of the real world by the digital. This is the opposite of what early sci-fi writers first imagined. Human minds will not jack in and invade cyberspace. Cyberspace will invade us.
Augmented reality will simply become reality. It will be the way we parse and manipulate our environment, which will be increasingly digital and non-local, just as the internet is the way we increasingly interact with people. (It’s already the primary way we find a mate.)
It is ideas that will come to rule. Bits over atoms. And when we can transmute matter, bits will become atoms. Everything we can imagine will become real.
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