Predicting the future is a suckers’s game. Unless you’re in possession of a Grays Sports Almanac from Back to the Future Part II, you have no divine insight into what’s to come.
That’s why the subheading in a recent New York Times article is disingenuous. “What do Google Glass and Pokémon Go have in common? They didn’t change the world,” it harps. Yet the article writer, Shira Ovide, is more circumspect.
“People mocked Google Glass after the company released a test version of the computer headset in 2013, but the glasses might have been a building block,” she writes.
Indeed, microprocessors, software, cameras and batteries have since improved so much that digital headgear might soon be less obtrusive and more useful.
Likewise, Pokémon Go’s augmented reality might not have been for everyone, she observes, “but they helped techies refine the ideas and made some people excited about the possibilities of more engrossing digital experiences.”
AR combined with next-generations of smartglasses or smartphones is widely viewed as a principal means with which we will interface with the 3D internet or metaverse.
Clearly the history of technological breakthroughs is littered with cul-de-sacs. It is on the shoulders of those “mistakes” or experiments that the new product emerges or consensus forms around the utility of others.
Ovide points out that in 2013 Apple CEO Tim Cook, said that gadgets we wear on our wrists “could be a profound area of technology.”
Wrist wearables haven’t yet taken off, it’s true. But Apple’s multi-trillion dollar fortune was built on Cook’s predecessor, Steve Jobs — alongside designer Jonny Ive — putting form and function plus content (iTunes) together into a phone handset. If more people had seen that coming (Blackberry, Nokia) then it would be them, not Apple, sitting on giant cash reserves.
“I think AR can be huge,” Cook told Apple investors in 2016.
And it will be. Just wait and see.
Senior executives at Google and Microsoft have gone overboard on the impact of AI. “AI is one of the most important things humanity is working on. It is more profound than electricity or fire,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in 2018.
With nearly half of all media and media tech companies incorporating Artificial Intelligence into their operations or product lines, AI and machine learning tools are rapidly transforming content creation, delivery and consumption. Find out what you need to know with these essential insights curated from the NAB Amplify archives:
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He’s not right yet, but he wasn’t talking about an instant impact. His statement is hardly putting his company or his own reputation on the line. AI will be huge and likely to impact every aspect of society.
Stereo 3D. Now there’s a tech that’s had a checkered history. The latest run at it from 2010, cheer-led by James Cameron, has not changed cinema let alone the world.
Yet the intellectual concept of using technology to pull audiences into the stories with a vision more proximate to how we see the world in three dimensions, has been alive since the birth of cinema and is constant with the movement into virtual reality and the metaverse.
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The metaverse may be a wild frontier, but here at NAB Amplify we’ve got you covered! Hand-selected from our archives, here are some of the essential insights you’ll need to expand your knowledge base and confidently explore the new horizons ahead:
- What Is the Metaverse and Why Should You Care?
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- A Framework for the Metaverse from Hardware to Hollywood and Everything in Between
On that note (and because every media story these days has to refer to the metaverse, it seems), Ovide suggest that Apple, Meta and Microsoft are betting that AR/VR and Pokémon-like applications will become the next major phase of the internet.
“[They] are steering toward a future in which we’ll wear computers on our heads for interactions that fuse physical and digital life,” she gripes. “One issue is that technologists haven’t yet given us good reasons for why we would want to live in the digital-plus-real world that they imagine for us.”
Well, that’s true enough, and there are plenty of cynics, myself included, who won’t believe the hype that Meta and others are pushing about the transformational value to putting on a headset 24/7.
Ovide’s most interesting comment comes at the end of the piece, where she muses that the richer our current digital lives have become the more difficult it will be for us to embrace something new.
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In other words, it will have to be one heck of a killer app to get us all participating in the metaverse but perhaps it will simply happen by osmosis, over time, as an inevitable part of our entertainment consumption — like streaming TV. Who thought that would be the norm even 30 years ago?