Our digital world’s progress started with a futuristic vision and a long list of forecasts that some people found difficult to accept. For instance, Wired projected seven years ago that a smartphone may eventually replace all other computers in your life.
However, 2.7 billion deskless workers worldwide, or 80% of the world’s employment, won’t need computers by 2022. Additionally, with the development of digital nomads, even office workers are now able to leave their workstations and work from anyplace with a strong wi-fi connection.
Preparing for the arrival of AR 2.0: Many people were able to wean themselves off of always reaching for their smartphones by being ready for the advent of AR 2.0 Smartwatches. Sales of smartphones have, however, decreased for the second year in a row, with each new phone introduction being less thrilling than the one before it. Users are having a hard time justifying the need to switch to pricey new Apple and Android handsets with marginally better cameras.
The latest significant innovation in this field occurred when the iPhone was infamously unveiled in 2007, when Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer mocked and laughed at the idea of replacing a keyboard with a touchscreen.
Where do we proceed from here, though? Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and the other usual suspects in big tech are vying for first place in the race to replace smartphones with augmented reality (AR) glasses as the boundaries between our online and physical worlds start to blur.
AR enables users to superimpose information onto the real world, as opposed to VR, which entraps users by securing a cumbersome device to their faces. Instead of establishing an altogether new virtual reality to enhance the shopping experience, the idea is considered as a method to upgrade our range of vision with real-time directions, deals, and highly rated restaurants or shops.
Customers may easily visit a brick-and-mortar store in a real dressing room after previously perusing the store’s entire inventory online by knocking down the barriers between online and offline. all while getting instant comments from a friend who might be anywhere in the world. Your daily surrounds are made louder and more engaging by the sales pitch.
Augmented reality (AR) is already being used in the workplace by Webex Hologram to close the gap between online and in-person collaboration. For instance, it offers a real-time, photorealistic holographic of your coworker in the workplace with you rather than an avatar of your colleague.
Learning from the lessons of our AR past: It’s crucial to recall what transpired when Google Glass debuted in 2013. At that time, the public wasn’t ready for what it considered to be intrusive technology, and early adopters of technology who paid $1,500 were derided as “Glassholes” by others who valued their privacy.
A decade ago, the world wasn’t ready for AR glasses; has that changed now? Uncertainty exists around whether big tech will manage to improve our experiences without veering into disturbing territory. But according to a recent exchange between Joe Rogan and Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s Ray Ban-style AR Glasses may be avoided with just a little bit of black tape.
The use case of being able to scroll through emails while speaking with friends without having to look down at your phone was enthusiastically discussed by Zuckerberg in the same interview. When Rogan pointed out how this would make the other person feel when their friend isn’t totally present in the conversation, Zuckerberg’s countenance suddenly fell. In the end, then, if we are still caught in the same dopamine feedback loops, there is little purpose in replacing cellphones with glasses.
The wait for a pair of AR glasses that mimic Wayfarer sunglasses is still rather long. Additionally, it will be a while before they are cost-effective enough to make stream adoption a reality. We can anticipate the first iteration of glasses to be little more than an extension of our cellphones. But as technology advances, it would be a logical step for everything to fit into AR glasses, doing away with the need for a smartphone.
In 2022, society has developed an obsession with spending long periods of time staring at screens. Many predict that in ten years we will transition to a new digital world where smart glasses that resemble a pair of classic Ray-Bans will take the place of our phones, tablets, and televisions. We shall now consider our progression from keyboards and buttons to touchscreens to the removal of all friction.
It is only speculation as to whether we are speeding toward a paradigm shift where this vision of a world without AR smartphones will become a reality or if it will meet the same demise as 3D television. However, perhaps Steve Jobs’ suggestion that, “The only way to join the dots is to look past; you cannot join them when looking forward. Therefore, you must have faith that your future will see a connection between the dots.”
Let’s hope that intentionally filtering off parts of our reality will not become increasingly common in the future. That would truly be a squandered chance for significant change.