Future interior decorating

If everyone is wearing mixed reality glasses then, as Vernor Vinge pointed out in his novel Rainbows End, we all get two complementary super-powers: (1) We can collectively see things that are not physically there, and (2) We can collectively not see things that are physically there.

People talk a lot about the first of these powers, but not so much about the second. But let’s imagine for a moment that we are living in a world where everybody is wearing.

While redecorating your home, perhaps you wish to have a nice new vase on your mantle to hold some flowers. Using one finger, you draw in the air above the mantle to specify the contour of the vase, and then you gesture to choose a nice color and pattern for your creation. From that moment on, the vase becomes visible, but not yet tangible, because it is not yet fully developed.

Meanwhile, somewhere nearby a 3D printer gets to work. After it is done, a robot delivers the finished vase to your door. You and your neighbors never see this robot because it doesn’t show up in your wearables.

There are also domestic robots that roam invisibly about your abode as needed, cooking and cleaning, making your bed, and performing various other chores that humans used to do for themselves. One of your domestic robots picks up the delivered item from where the delivery robot dropped it off, removes it from its protective package, and places it in its intended location.

You don’t see any of this. From your perspective, that lovely vase you had already added to your home simply takes on a more substantial appearance, which is how you know that it is ready to hold some lovely flowers.

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