First it was the game console, then the PC. Then the mobile game console. PC’s got better. Game consoles got better. Then, came along the internet. It was pretty slow and crap. Then mobile phones came along and they were all the rage. You played snake as though super mario had never existed. Your phone suddenly had a camera and you felt like James Bond. The internet got better, much better. Phones became touch screens and your pictures actually look like you. Now, you are in the middle of a technological revolution. You can order food with one click of a button. You can send your precise location and a driver will collect you in moments. James Bond of 1999 would be envious of you.
But, where does it go from here?
It’s fair to say that technology has come a long way. The internet has become so pervasive in your life that you can’t imagine living without it. Some ministers are suggesting that internet access should be a Human Right. No one understands what this means or how it would be enforced. Who cares, the bottom line is that the internet is as ubiquitous and as necessary as your light bulbs. Take either of them away and you are back in the dark ages.
So many fictions of the past have become today’s reality. Just look at films of old, like demolition man, and you can see so much of the tech that was predicted for the future is now in your living room. It is easy to come to the conclusion that we have reached the peak of our technological advancement and that you will have to wait for another 100 years before you see the next big leap, but don’t be fooled.
Every technological advancement provides the foundation for further advancements, not only directly, but across the board. Improvements provide lessons that can be built upon and that means that advancements compound at an exponential rate. Think how improvements in wireless technology have given birth to all manner of devices. Consider how lithium batteries have transformed almost every kind of device.
It is fair to say that each technological advance opens a portal to a world that looks slightly different and before you know it, you won’t ever realise that you once lived in a world where leaving the house meant losing contact with you until you returned.
It is easy to say this, but what is the next big leap that will change or update mankind in his quest for progress? Could it be the home robot that does all of your chores? How about teleportation? Could be, but it’s more likely to be something much simpler: virtual reality and augmented reality.
Virtual reality gives you the ability to enter a digital world that looks and feels as real as everyday life, at least that’s where it is headed. It is a matter of time before the graphics are so real that you or your brain at least, won’t be able to distinguish between them. If that doesn’t immerse you enough, consider augmented reality, where virtual features, like skins and filters, are combined with actual reality to allow you to live and act in a world of both.
Just imagine turning your local park into Jurassic Park. It’s possible. How about using a setting that ensures whoever you walk past smiles at you – the technology already exists.
This may sound crazy, a therapist’s nightmare, but you’re on the path where virtual and augmented reality will become the norm. Actually, therapists will be using VR and AR to enhance their therapy through exposure therapy, although it’s not clear how that will work for those that need therapy because of VR/AR, but that’s for them to figure out.
You may be shaking your head, thinking it will never take off, but actually, it’s already on the rise and adoption is not only growing, it is being propelled by the same driving forces that catapulted the internet into the stratosphere of mass adoption: porn, gaming and simulation experiences for training.
Did you know that porn sites were the first to accept card payments? Do you realise that means porn established e-commerce? That’s right, people were willing to hand over their credit cards for their fix of nude depravity before they were willing or able to buy their favourite merchandise and have it delivered to their door. Porn sites and therefore the merchant services that supported them, were grossing sales of $1,5 billion before any other sector even considered it. In other words, porn was the established sector that laid the foundations (and a few women) for every other type of company to process card payments.
Today, there are (NSFW) sites like Badoink VR that have already seen the opportunity, so once again porn is leading the way, and why not? Afterall, they say sex sells. Then you have gaming, which outperforms all other forms of entertainment. These two forces make it impossible that VR will not take off. It’s just a matter of time before Netflix has a VR suite, so you may as well grab your headsets and join the party of early adopters, for bragging rights if nothing else.
Virtually see you there!