Documenting the Coming Singularity

Monday, July 02, 2007

Choose Your Pleasure: VR or AR?

Taking a glimpse into the near-term future, we can see the advents of both virtual reality (VR), and a subset of VR called augmented reality (AR). We have all heard of VR and seen a rudimentary version of it in the movie Disclosure. But virtual reality is headed in the direction of total immersion VR, which will take place at the level of your neurons themselves. Nanobots will stimulate your neurons directly so that you will not be able to tell the difference between real reality and the VR environment, except for some type of indicator inserted for safety reasons. Every one of your senses will be engaged, and your entire environment will be virtual.

So what is AR? AR is a mixture of the virtual and the real, sort of a virtual overlay that is superimposed upon real reality. This could also be activated at the neuronal level, or even projected onto your retinas by means of special contact lenses. Think of how much fun this would be, and how it could increase your productivity.

Imagine the fun part first. Think about people appearing as characters in a game, or dressing up the local environment to appear to be coming straight out of another world or another time. How cool would that be? As far as productivity, there could be educational or informational overlays on people and objects that would give you vital information about them. As you look at the person you're meeting for a business lunch, you see above their heads their name, company, position, etc. As you get started, you could bring up an agenda you had prepared earlier and either share it with your associate or view it privately, like a heads-up-display hanging in the air. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Talk about your killer apps. Let's see Apple and Microsoft battle it out in that arena! Stay tuned.

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frandav said...

A great example about the future possibilities of AR (and its implications) is the novel Lady of Mazes by Karl Schroeder. I've just finished reading it and it's really interesting. I recommend it to anyone
interested in VR/AR and future technology in general.


bmahfood said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check it out.