Latest News

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

On the social, cultural, and moral implications of Augmented Reality (AR)

Interview by Matt S.

I’m a big fan of both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) – especially AR. Having experienced both in various forms, the technology works, which is important enough, but it also promises to bring the digital world and the real worlds together for the first time in a genuine and meaningful manner. No longer will we engage with content through clearly defined screens - now, the experience of the digital will be in the same spaces as the experience of the physical.

Media will exist in the same physical spaces as we do, and anything we don’t like, we’ll be able to “tune out” by superimposing media over the offending “real world” content – a little like visual white noise. In other words, we’ll be constructing realities around us, and this will fundamentally affect how we perceive and behave in the world.

It’s exciting, because it could be a liberating force. We’ll be able to create an aesthetic environment that better suits us, and then fill that environment according to our fantasies and realities. We’ll be able to exercise greater control over our interactions, and in turn, take greater control over our own lives.

But there are social, cultural, and moral questions that need to be asked about how we engage with these technologies. Take, for example Keiichi Matsuda’s superb piece, Hyper-Reality, which depicts a deeply dystopian view of how our AR-enhanced lives might go – note the obsession with points and overload of advertising – the idea of gamifying our lives through to complete consumerism is a subject that is giving a number of digital theorists pause to think:

HYPER-REALITY from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

There’s also the idea of digital beings replacing our need for human interactions, as might be the future as celebrities such as Hatsune Miku continue to push into our lives. This is a topic I addressed in my own piece, published in the Australian earlier in the year: Read it here.

David Francis, one of the veterans of the AR space, and Head of Sales, APAC, for Zappar, a bleeding-edge AR platform that’s available to advertisers and marketers now, actually sees AR as a preventative cure to some of the distancing that we’re experiencing with our current digital interactions. Making AR part of our day-to-day lives will, almost ironically, actually lead to an enhanced level of interactivity between ourselves and our world.

To read on, please log in with your DDNet Premium account:

On the social, cultural, and moral implications of Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Blogger Comments
  • Facebook Comments