Beyond computer screens

One day, in not so many years, we will no longer need computer screens. One way or another, it will become cheap and easy for people to see objects that are not there, superimposed onto the physical world around us. Not only that, but each of us will be able to see our own personal view of this augmented reality, customized for where we happen to be at the moment.

Only a few years ago I thought that the level of technology required for this would not arrive for perhaps half a century, but now I’ve come to see that it will probably be here well within the next decade. Which means it’s time to think seriously about how to make the most of things.

Will it be a good thing or a bad thing when virtual objects will inhabit the physical space between us all — when the collective ideas of humans burst forth, free from mere books and screens, becoming free to roam the world?

Will this new way of seeing information alter our fundamental relationship with our physical selves? Or will it have the opposite effect — freeing us once and for all from the harsh limitations of a screen-bound information world, so that we can return once more to the world of mind joined to body, for which our evolution has so well prepared us?

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