John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, tells us that he hopes to take reality and make it better. On the other hand, Facebook aims to create an all-immersive digital matrix. Since the launch of Pokemon Go by Hanke in 2016, he remains obsessed with the world of virtual reality, popularly known as augmented reality. He has been trying out this vision since 2010 when he founded Niantic as a startup at Google.
Getting out of the house is a fantastic thing, are we not? Suppose, that while you strolled around the city and you came across historical characters who had formerly trod these same streets before they were cobblestoned?
To this day, Hanke is preoccupied with the idea of augmenting the natural environment with digital items, or “augmented reality,” as it has come to be known. After founding Niantic as an internal Google firm in 2010 and then spinning it out and launching Go, he’s been chasing this ambition ever since. The game was a cultural phenomenon and a financial triumph, raking in over a billion dollars from players hurrying through the streets searching for Weedles, Squirtles, and Nidorinas.
However, a new concept known as a metaverse has sparked much discussion and adoration. A more immersive vision is being pitched by companies like Facebook, where users wear hardware devices that block out their senses and replace input with digital artefacts, basically rejecting reality in favour of parallel worlds built by the rulers of Silicon Valley themselves. By helping bring the metaverse to life, Mark Zuckerberg informed his employees in June.
Hanke feels disgusted by this. He’s seen all the films and books that first envisaged the metaverse, and he’s concluded that they’re all wrong. In a self-described manifesto titled “The Metaverse Is a Dystopian Nightmare,” he explained why this summer. Let’s Work to Create a Better Reality. (“Change our name to Meta so we can focus on building Hanke’s nightmare,” Facebook responded.)
Niantic, too, is working hard. An augmented reality (AR) platform called Lightship was created for both in-house initiatives and the works of third parties. Historic Royal Palaces, Coachella, and Led Zeppelin are just a few early developers. As Hanke put it in his article, imagine it as a GPS but without the satellites and with a higher degree of precision.
During gameplay, players of Pokémon Go and other Niantic apps can use their phones to scan real-world “way spots.” People who listen in to the “reality channel” at the right time will see their location’s alter ego, which might take them back in time, or forward in time, or wherever in between.
To put it another way, it diverts us from what makes us truly happy as human beings. We are biologically designed to be present in our bodies and the world around us. As a result of Covid, we’ve lived in an unhealthy technological world. We’ve developed harmful habits, such as youngsters playing Roblox for hours on end. “Hey, this is wonderful. “Let’s multiply this by ten.” That terrifies me to no end.
A public plaza can be reinvigorated by leveraging digital technology to draw people out of their homes and into an atmosphere they appreciate. Numerous studies support the psychological benefits of simply wandering through a park or woodland. The issue is that we now live in a society where Covid amplifies worry. There is a great deal of discontentment. There is a lot of resentment in the air. Some of it is because we are not moving and as active as our bodies would like us to.
We’ve arrived at a crossroads. The future I’m describing is the one that will triumph. Somewhat escaping into the ether, computing is there to help us carry out our tasks. This technology has its origins in the early years of Xerox PARC. As people have become enamoured with these online 3D worlds, I feel like that vision of the future has been temporarily lost.
The future of computing is when computers are smaller, less noticeable, and more integrated into the physical environment, allowing them to assist you without interfering with your experience.
What do you think of Zoom’s virtual reality clone, Facebook Horizon Workrooms? Avatar-based communication in a purely digital environment appears to be the polar opposite of your ideal.
Immersion in a 3D world may be like watching a movie with all the bells and whistles on your home theatre system. However, you won’t be spending the majority of your time there. My conference room doesn’t need to look like a cartoon island. However, this doesn’t alleviate my concerns about the situation.