Augmented Life Through Tech

Originally posted in 2014

I’ve recently been trying to write a blog post about a new project we’re working on. This paragraph ended up being written but wasn’t quite right for the piece, so I’ve pulled it and posted it as an individual post.

I’ve been musing on what the future holds for augmented reality (AR) and how it will affect our lives.

It’s hard for a creative to not get carried away with the possibilities of this technology, now and in the future. Especially when we think about Google Glass or Glass Up and other wearables yet to hit the market.

There are so many opportunities for its use. Some of which we might feel apprehensive about, like facial recognition and ‘always on’ surveillance. Often these kind of technologies are promoted by marketing companies trying new ways of ‘pushing’ us stuff.

But how can we use it differently for the improvement of our own lives?

Can we make use of it in our everyday environment?

Can we make real life more user-friendly with AR and wearables like glasses?

Using existing technologies like street view, GPS data and image recognition software, imagine a world where our device is able to know what we are looking at.

Imagine…It could tell us which artist sprayed that famous piece of graffiti, or how old that building is, or visualise what was on the building plot before those new flats were built.

Imagine…A walking tour with a virtual guide would have so much more information available to us than just directions.

Imagine…If we overlaid gas, electric and water utility plans with the street maps of cities, workers could (virtually) see beneath the tarmac before digging it up.

Imagine…A university with a large campus that uploads a site map to your device as you enter the area and visualises the route to your chosen class. Working with your diary it could even tell you if you are going to be late.

In fact, there are so many amazing uses for this kind of technology that we really need to protect it from the marketers and the spooks in our governments who will subvert it and make it very unpopular.

Do we need to find limits to the use of this tech? Yes, I would say so.

Society itself will self-regulate to a degree, shunning Glass wearers in social situations. The ‘glasshole’ label shows that it can easily go wrong for really useful tools if we are not careful. There is such a thin line that can easily be crossed, throwing ourselves into a self-made ‘1984’ world with the tech we currently have.

Are we naively making technology that could one day enslave us?

We need to tread carefully, but as a creative and a technology lover I believe there are ways to improve our lives without opening Pandora’s Box.

At least I hope so.