Appearance in the far future

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that in another five years people in many parts of the world will start walking around in public with wearables replacing the phones in their pockets. This means that we will no longer, strictly speaking, be looking at the world around us with our literal human vision, but rather with our vision altered in some way.

People who currently wear glasses or contact lenses (or have had Lasix or cataract surgery) are already used to technological enhancement of their vision, and those people don’t think of themselves as part-human and part-machine. So it’s a good bet that once everyone you know is “wearing”, we will all just seem normal.

I wonder though, as we begin to accept that our enhanced vision can show us anything at all, will we still continue to choose to see each other as literal humans? There is a strong argument that we will not.

After all, our clothing — which hide our literal bodies — generally don’t contain textures to emulate the bits that they are hiding. Rather, the clothes we choose to wear are more likely to deviate from the literal appearance of our naked bodies, in ways designed to flatter and to conceal.

Maybe, years from now, we will choose to create non-literal views of each other that are more direct representations of personality. Eventually, as we walk down the street, we might see each other as a kind of pure energy — a cloud that shows the mood we wish to project, connected to some idealized representation of our face and our hands.

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