One of the biggest tech releases of all time that caused a massive shift in both social and technological shift was undoubtedly the release of the original iPhone in 2008. Widespread adoption of this technology allowed for instant communication, calculation, and access to humanities knowledge right inside of your pocket. While the first iteration of this device had its flaws; as the years progressed it became refined around it’s edges with each new update and upgrade.
I believe a very similar technology is on the rise that will not only compliment the modern day smartphone, but eventually phase it out entirely. This rapidly developing technology is actually two different types in their own right; Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality. For those unaware, Augmented Reality provides computer-generated visuals that work in conjunction with the true reality around you. While Virtual Reality is solely computer-based visuals with no incorporation of “true-reality.”
While both of these technologies are currently being employed for mainly entertainment purposes at their current stage, it’s not hard to imagine as the technology improves what future implications it could have. Advances in medical research, education, architecture, art, and many more are industries that could significantly benefit from such a technology.
Clearly Big Tech Giant’s Apple and Microsoft think so as well. Not only has Apple been patenting AR devices for around ten years now but they have also been heavily pushing the use of their AR-Kit for developers. Likewise Microsoft has been producing and marketing it’s Hololens 2 while they are in development of its third iteration. Rather than employing it’s resources into AR, Facebook has its eyes on Virtual Reality. In March of 2014 Facebook acquired the VR pioneer company, Oculus for a whopping 2.3 Billion USD. Since then Facebook has been releasing far more versions of the headset and have finally broken the barrier into a fully wireless device.
What does this mean for you in the long term?
Well, that’s a very difficult and broad question to tackle. For starters as AR technology improves an becomes mainstream it won’t be out of the question to expect seemingly small improvements to your daily life.
Picture this: You’re walking down a populated street of local businesses on your way to the one your friend recommended you. Through your glasses you would see the digital descriptions of these businesses, yelp reviews, and as well as the arrows pointing you in the direction of the restaurant through GPS tracking.
But let’s go even further with this. You’re an architect designing a skyscraper to rest alongside the rest of the New York City Skyline but this time you can actually see it… before it’s even built. You’re a surgeon performing open heart surgery next week. Practice makes perfect; you run through the surgery a dozen times in a nearly identical virtual environment. You’re a student in class on a virtual field trip to anywhere in the world. The possibilities are endless.
What about the short term?
In my opinion, we are all geese sitting on a golden egg. Imagine if you knew the iPhone’s original launch would be as impactful as it was years prior. What would you have done differently? How would you have invested your money? This technology will open the doors for new technological opportunity. New jobs and software will be in demand for these new devices and people who know how to capitalize on opportunity will be ahead.
Personally, I have engaged in the investment of a crypto-currency known as Mana. Mana is the in-game currency for a virtual reality and traditionally-based game known as Decentraland. Decentraland is an attempt at creating a virtual reality experience close to reality where anything will be possible. Here’s the twist though, digital land and property actually holds real-world value. In 2017 Decentraland’s in-game property sold for roughly twenty dollars. Today, Decentraland property can sell anywhere from six thousand to one hundred thousand USD. Classic video game developer Atari is currently in development in an in-game casino for Decentraland and hold roughly one-hundred-and-eighteen million USD of Mana coins. As the technology increases and their distinguishment between the virtual world and true reality visually begins to fade the potential for long term use of these devices continues to rise.
Here I have included a personal favorite video that highlights the potential future of this technology as well as its current state.