14 January 2020

Allen Pike: “The Coming Supremacy of AR”

Advertising, gamification, constant distractions and chaos, interruptions – basically a Black Mirror hellscape. And to be clear, in the event that high fidelity AR becomes possible, some company will attempt to make such a hellscape, filled with crapware and covering your gaze with nonsense for the lowest possible price.

I challenge you, though, to imagine not the worst that a future AR experience could be, but the best. Imagine instead an AR experience not designed by advertisers, but by Apple – or even better, Apple’s successors. A team obsessively focused on people, taking a distinctly human approach to designing how your glasses could augment what you see.

Allen Pike

As usual, the only opinion you can get from an Apple fanboy is ‘Apple can make any tech better’. To me, AR is a nightmare of constant distractions, no matter who delivers it. Maybe I’m just getting old, but increasingly I can only concentrate on work or writing if I cut down on distractions, from notifications to music and background noise. Wearing a piece of Internet-connected technology in front of my eyes is certainly not going to improve my focus.

If you think about the use cases the author is highlighting further down the article, many of them are either wildly impractical (heat vision, night sight, zooming in on distant birds) or require an immense amount of data harvesting and sharing (expired food in the fridge requires a camera to scan and recognize all your purchases; ‘highlight any cars where the driver doesn’t seem to be paying attention’ requires face recognition inside all cars and sharing that information with nearby pedestrians – would you want Apple, or any other company for that matter, controlling this kind of data?!). Or, better yet, some would take us deeper into the filter bubble by hiding ads, movie spoilers and ugly paintings – what’s stopping people from blocking news that challenge their preconceptions, even hiding the faces of immigrants, or black people? Dystopian hellscape is the right word for this, and magically spraying ‘Apple’ on top would not improve this in any way.

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