My Own Little (Virtual) World

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I was intrigued by the video we saw in class about Microsoft’s HoloLense technology.  The holographic interactions reminded me of something you would see in an Iron Man movie. Want to build a motorcycle? Bring your design ideas to life and interact with them. No need to check an app on your phone for the weather report, just gesture to the hologram in front of you. HoloLense epitomizes the hands free device. Virtual reality has merged with actual reality to improve they way you go about your day.

After reading Amy Webb’s, “The Future of…Things That We Carry,” it’s not surprising to see this kind of technology. I’m sure I will be wearing some version of a HoloLense within the next 30 years, provided they do something about the design. I don’t want to be walking around looking as if I’m wearing the free sunglasses they give you when you have to get your eyes dilated. As Tim Gun would say, they need to figure out a way to “make it work.” No doubt that convenience and comfort enhance our quality of life, so wearable technology makes sense. I look forward to the day I no longer have to worry about dropping my phone, shattering the screen or getting it wet.

Despite how awesome holographic computing and hands free devices sound, I’m with Caroline — it’s kinda scary. Our perception of reality really could change. We also have the potential to distort it ourselves. If I’m in the mood to go to Tahiti, will HoloLense allow me to take a virtual vacation? What if a few plants die in my back yard? Can I just hologram some replacements? Are virtual dogs a possibility?

Similarly, in the context of smartphones, head-mounted display technologies have the real potential to hinder our communication skills and social interactions. We already spend so much time behind our screens with social media and Netflix, so what will happen when we attach holographic computing devices to our heads? We might never leave our houses! We will literally be in our own little worlds. It’s hard enough to get someone’s attention when they are watching TV or browsing through their Instagram feed. If we eliminate motion of putting our phone down, turing off the TV or looking up from behind our laptops, we could really loose the last bit of our social skills. It could hinder the development of our personalities. If you tell a joke and no one laughs because they are in their own virtual reality, how will you know you are funny? Feelings of isolation could spawn from this technology. Think about it.

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