For a while now I have referred to the mobile phone as the ultimate PC—not a personal computer, a personal companion. If you look around in any public place, what is the thing you most often see—people talking to each other, talking on the phone, or looking at their PC—their personal companion? Our PC has become the pacifier (the English call them dummies) of this decade. Loneliness and boredom are a thing of the past.
Never lonely or hungry again (with slight apologies to Time magazine).
But a PC can be so much more than just a pacifier to wile away the time; with effective AR, you can discover more about the world then you ever thought possible. You will be able to see things that don’t exist, look through walls, read signs or a book in any language.
The screen, of course, will be in 3D; it will be big, full-HD resolution, and of course always connected to the cloud(s). It has to be connected to the clouds because that’s where all the magic data, the big data, the personal data, and in some cases, the naughty data will be and we don’t ever ever want to be without it, or separated from it.
Our personal companion and its virtual worlds have become more important to us than our actual physical companions. Just look around the next time you’re in a restaurant, airport, or even a theater. The blue glow on the faces of people hypnotically captivated by their personal companion to the exclusion of all else and everyone around them is our new society. It has replaced the tuned-out iPod user with the tuned-out irradiated user.
But before you judge and condemn, and get sanctimonious, consider this. If the local, physical companions were more interesting, the blue-faced PC watchers would pay attention to them. When the theater posts a message before a film or a play about turning off cell phones, the tethered users could reply—fine, make the show more interesting than Facebook.
And—what if you had AR and could see more of the movie or play or concert? What if you could hold up your personal companion facing the stage and see the names of the actors, their résumé, and whether or not they are dating? Or, what if you could get real-time translations of a presentation?
In addition to all AR all the time, I want body monitoring. There are six or more major sensors in a personal companion and eleven or more radios. Your PC knows if you’re in an elevator, or a car, and if you’re holding it near your face or not. Why can’t it sense your breathing and heart rate, and maybe blood pressure? It can tell you how far you’ve walked, and how many calories you burned doing it, and where the nearest calories replacement center is. What about vital signs, too, and the location of the nearest human repair shop? And, if it could measure heart and breathing rate, think of what a fantastic feedback tool that would be for the producers of events, movies, concerts, etc. If the personal companion was sitting on your lap during a presentation, in a theater or your home, it could track your eyes and tell advertisers if their product was getting any attention.
Now add that capability to the AR, and not only can you see things and learn things that have been hidden from you, your reaction to them can be monitored and used to help your personal companion make better choices of information and entertainment for you.
And how about a comfort zone? We’ve all heard if you want to grow, you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone. What if you could dial it in? What if you could tell your personal companion you wanted to up the risk factor, show you stuff you might not like, such as the views of the opposing political party or the interactions of people who are a little scary to you. We’ve all seen movies and TV shows where we felt uncomfortable, maybe scared or shocked. Suppose you could manage that; wouldn’t you become a broader-minded person instead of just reinforcing your same attitudes and opinions?
AR and your personal companion can save the world by making you and me not just smarter in our own esoteric field, but truly sophisticated. Whatya think?