Future nature walk

Today I went on a nature walk along the coast here on Sea Island. There were so many wonderful things to see, from ospreys to rare trees to islands and dolphins off the coast.

Everyone on the walk had a pair of binoculars. Very often, in order to better see something especially cool, such as a far-away tree or a bird circling in the middle distance, I would look through the binoculars, and everything would look eight times larger.

Looking through the binoculars meant lifting them from where they hung from a strap around my neck and positioning them in front of my eyes. It was a simple enough act, but sometimes even that simple act took too long. By the time I was looking through the binoculars, the bird might have flown away, or the dolphin vanished beneath the waves.

It occurred to me that someday soon we may no longer need binoculars. The pair of glasses that we use for virtual and augmented reality will also allow us to zoom into things of interest all around us.

Magnifying our view, seeing in infrared, or other acts of augmentation, such as learning the identity of a tree or a bird, may become as simple as looking. We will start to take this superpower for granted.

Like any successful technology, such a capability will come to seem perfectly natural, an extension of our own body, like clothing or shoes. In time, we will wonder how anybody had ever managed to get along without it.

Leave a Reply