Future reality tipping point

I’ve been having lots of conversations over many months with friends and collaborators about what experiences of “future reality” might be like, as technology continues to progress. When I say “future reality” I mean, essentially, more advanced versions of the way we already live now: Everyday social reality becoming progressively more mediated by technology.

As Sally has pointed out, drawing from her work with her collaborators on “PolySocial Reality”, this progression is a continuum. Written language, photographs, telephones, movies and television, the Web, mobile phones, these are all examples of social reality being mediated by technology.

But I am thinking about a particular tipping point along this continuum, when technological mediation of our everyday visual perception becomes the social norm. There will come a point in not too many years when people will take it for granted that they can just put on a pair of lightweight glasses in order to see and interact with a rich socially shared world of information in the physical space around and between them.

“Virtual reality”, “mixed reality” and “augmented reality” are phrases that mainly emphasize the means by which this may happen, rather than on the resulting social transformations that would ensue. This is why I prefer to use the short-hand phrase “future reality”: I am more interested in conversations that focus not on the technology itself, but rather on its social impact.

Leave a Reply