Future Fictions: the dark side of augmented reality

Could augmented reality turn our physical existences into a dystopia nightmare of gasification and work-for-hire?

Here’s a rather dark take on augmented reality – the tech that layers digital elements on top of our physical reality:

What makes this compelling – and rather compelling – is the way it builds so skilfully from the way we use tech right now. From the use of casual games to kill downtime while on public transport, through the “gig economy” of work being directed to you through an app, to the gasification of everything – including work, it’s really not that far from where we are already.

Sure, it pushes it trough a layer of tech we don’t really have just yet, and takes it to a dystopian extreme, but it still makes a thought=provoking warning of what might happen if we lose sight of the person – the digital ego, if you like – on the other end of the app. If the app creators just see the people deployed through their apps as literal “human resources”, to be dehumanised and mollified through these endorphin-releasing task/reward cycles, they run the risk of reducing human beings to digital agents.

Here’s how the video’s creators’ describe it:

Our physical and virtual realities are becoming increasingly intertwined. Technologies such as VR, augmented reality, wearables, and the internet of things are pointing to a world where technology will envelop every aspect of our lives. It will be the glue between every interaction and experience, offering amazing possibilities, while also controlling the way we understand the world. Hyper-Reality attempts to explore this exciting but dangerous trajectory.

Food for thought.