• Patrick McAndrew

Augmented Reality vs Lame Reality

Augmented reality! As technology continues to advance, leading tech companies are pouring a lot of research into what’s called augmented reality. For those of you who do not know what augmented reality is, it’s essentially a way of “enhancing” our current reality, unlike virtual reality which completely immerses you into a different world. You can watch this hip dude talk about his experience with Microsoft HoloLens in the video below.



It seems that augmented reality is still a ways off from becoming mainstream. The technology is very sophisticated and so advanced that many tech companies believe that such technology doesn’t quite exist yet. As you can see from the video, however, they are making progress, and, with how quickly technology advances, we could be seeing mainstream augmented reality sooner than we think.


I have to admit, there are aspects of it that are pretty cool. You essentially wouldn’t have the need for a phone, computer, or television because everything would be projected through this augmented reality, whether it be through glasses or contact lenses.


At the end of the video, our friend James quotes, “The reason why I love AR is that it keeps us in the real world. There are so many other technologies at the moment that take us out of the real world. AR keeps us in the real world, but it enhances it at the same time.”


I agree with him in some ways, but in many ways, I disagree. He does speak the truth. Through this augmented reality, we are still observing and looking at our real surroundings. Despite this, we are also observing the augmented; the fake. I do wonder if augmented reality advances and becomes mainstream if it will come to a point where we will have a hard time distinguishing what is real from what is not so real.


It also leads me to question: why does reality need to be augmented? Instead of having distractions right at our fingertips, the distractions will be apparently living and breathing before our very eyes. I also wonder if we were to get use to this augmented reality, how would we then view our lame, boring reality? “Billy, put away your augmented reality goggles!” “Gosh, golly, Ma! But how will I be able to enjoy my bike ride in the park without seeing all that fake stuff?” What fun would conversing with a friend be if you cannot look at their Instagram at the same time? How can you enjoy a famous waterfall if you can’t read the facts while looking at the waterfall at the same time? Essentially, our attention would still be diverted elsewhere, just with the luxury of having it all in the same location (instead of looking up at each other and looking down at a screen).


This makes me wonder if there will be an illusion of attention, an illusion of conversation. Someone can be looking right at you, pretending to listen to an emotional, deep story. Little does the storyteller know that their conversation partner is searching for baseball stats at the same time through their augmented reality. If people are so willing to divert their attention to their smartphones when someone else is speaking to them and disengage in that way, I’m led to believe they will in an augmented state.


I wonder if augmented reality could be even more dangerous, as it will be more difficult to tell whether or not someone is paying attention to us. Sure, they may be looking right at us, but they can be in a completely different world, checking e-mail right in front of our eyes. Only we can’t see it with them.


Now, let’s not be all hum-drum! Augmented reality can offer us some pretty neat advantages. It’s just important to tread carefully, for it has the potential to change our reality forever if we let it.

What are your thoughts? Is augmented reality the way of the future? Will augmented reality put the smartphone to shame, or will it prove even more dangerous? Comment below!


Your friend,

Pat

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© 2020 Patrick McAndrew