I went to see juggling today. It was really beautiful and impressive and fun, and if you have ever seen a performance by a brilliant juggler you know exactly what I mean. There is something about truly great juggling that puts me in awe of the power of the human body and mind.
When I went into the show, part of me was thinking “Well, this is something that won’t be relevant to future VR-mediated reality.” After all, what’s the use of imposing a layer of computer-enabled illusion, when the whole point of juggling is to see what humans are capable of doing with just their hands, their wits, and some juggling balls?
But by the time it was over I had changed my mind. Advanced technology does not need to replace authentic human skill. There are plenty of examples of humans showing off impressive dexterity while using fairly advanced technology.
From concert pianists to race car drivers to stunt pilots to master chefs to great cinematographers, there are all sorts of fields in which experts use some kind of advanced technology not to replace their human skill, but rather as an opportunity to showcase that skill. Every new technological advancement leads to new opportunities for great performance.
So I won’t be surprised if in twenty years or so, when we are all viewing the world through those cyber-enhanced contact lenses, to see jugglers embracing the new possibilities of that shared future reality. My guess is that we will witness new and breathtaking feats of juggling that are as yet unimagined.