Friday, March 31, 2017

#90 / Augmented Reality

Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, is apparently working towards a technology, not yet released, that will make "augmented reality" a continuing and everyday experience. Click here to link to an article from Inverse reporting on what is involved. 

The photo above, showing an iPhone utilizing what is clearly a more primitive "augmented reality" technology, demonstrates what is already available. The photo is reproduced from an article that explains how an "augmented reality" technology can support "digital marketing," and that article also defines the concept, as it is currently understood. It seems to me that the famously popular game Pokemon Go is another example of "augmented reality."

I know that Pokemon Go is fun to play, for those who have fallen under its addictive spell. When I was in Paris last year, and visited a children's park with my niece and her young kids, virtually everyone in the entire park, thousands of people, were walking around looking into their cellphone screens (yours truly, my wife, my niece, her husband, and her kids not included). At first, none of us could figure it out; it was way more than the normal cellphone preoccupation commonly experienced every day, everywhere. We finally got it. The park was a prime hunting ground for those playing Pokemon Go.

So, "augmented reality" could be "fun," and it certainly could be "informative," as per the picture at the top. I do, though, want to raise my typical objection. Once reality is "augmented," it is no longer, actually, "reality" at all. It is an artificial environment. 

A push towards "augmented reality" is one more example of how human beings are attempting to leave behind the World of Nature, the genuine "reality" into which we are born, and to attempt, instead, to live in a world that we create. On a philosophical level, humans are systematically rejecting the World of Nature, and are manufacturing a human world that declares, in every way it can, its independence from the natural environment.

"Augmented reality" sure seems like "fun," and it may seem to help us out with our daily lives and daily tasks (like finding that nearby Starbucks, or a park where you can walk your dog). Nonetheless, I would like to counsel caution. To the degree that we forget that we don't, ultimately, live in the world we create ourselves, we can more easily forget the need to protect the World of Nature, which sustains all life. 

Including ours!

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