What happened?? As 2016 comes to a dramatic close, some of us find ourselves looking back on the year to figure out just what happened in the 52 weeks. A barrage of celebrity deaths (RIP George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds), even more memes, the Cubs won the world series, and of course all the new tech.
Basics like NES and Pokemon have been making a comeback and in this new era of virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence, some of us are asking: Are we going backwards or forwards? I say, why not both?
VR, AR, AI And Preparing For The New “Thing”
VR, AR, and AI are all starting to become the new “thing” and people are finally starting to warm up to the unfamiliar tech. Remember Google Glass? A great concept and only just beginning to touch upon augmented reality, yet where are they now?. People simply weren’t ready for something so shockingly new.
I strongly believe that this was why Google Glass failed. The product was ready, but people simply weren’t. How then can we bring people to use technology with entirely new concepts in a smooth transition? The answer: Go back to the basics!
Last summer Pokemon Go was released and more recently the NES Classic. Is this a repeat of our past? No, this is definitely not a repeat, but a glance into our future.
These games are where many of us find familiar ground and that is the point. With all these unfamiliar concepts it certainly helps to integrate it with familiar ground to which we remember and can relate.
While both the NES Classic and Pokemon Go have that familiar ground, they each cover slightly different messages. The NES Classic speaks to an older generation. As a founding father of video game consoles, this tells many users that they aren’t forgotten. New tech is not just for the newer, younger generations, but also for the older and more experienced users.
All the new tech out there (namely VR, AR, and AI) are meant for everyone’s convenience and can be utilized for just about everything. So the NES Classic symbolizes the inclusivity of this new age, but what about Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go actually utilizes this new technology (in this case AR) in a platform familiar to all of us. Even those who have never played with Pokemon cards or the classic games, either know of it or have seen it in action.
Now the opportunity is provided for us to really try out some unfamiliar concepts with the ease and comfort of something known. 2016 has so far only been easing us and introducing us to a future soon to be our present.
But wait! There’s more!
Plenty has happened in 2016 to give us the message, “This is happening”. These concepts are maybe just beginning, but they’re happening. Let’s see some examples.
YouTube has begun to give us some amazing videos catering to VR. Youtube allows you to fly with Blue Angels, swim with sharks, and stand on stage during a broadway show all with the familiarity of Youtube videos. Nothing to shock us, but plenty to have us “ooh” and “ahh”.
We all know Batman. Love him or hate him, he is our dark knight. Playstation provides us with the ability to play Batman: Arkham VR to give us Batman’s point of view while fighting crime. Imagine being able to be James Bond, Superman, or Master Chief? You’ll be seeing more of these in the near future.
Layar is an app designed to enhance some of your daily experiences. Whether it’s flyers, postcards, or packages, layers of digital content are added with enhanced print, location-relevant information, and a QR scanner.
A simplified description, but the point is how this works to smoothly enhance our lives. One day we might be able to point our phones at anything to enhance our daily experience in anything and everything.
Have you ever looked at the night sky and wonder what constellation you’re looking at? Star Walk is an app that will add the information on whichever stars you point your camera at.
The app can also tell you when certain constellations will be visible if you want to get specific. Sure this is only for stargazers, but this can be applied to everything. AR is a future of immediate information at whatever you’re looking at.
After the infamous driverless car crash, Tesla announced that AI technology was to be implemented in their cars to recognize a vehicle’s potential to go in one direction or another. The crash occurred when the car couldn’t recognize certain danger. Elon Musk took a flaw and is polishing it out beautifully. Soon enough, AI’s will be in every vehicle we drive.
Maybe not next year, but it’s not that far off: All those crashes caused by blind spots or other inherent hazards will simply stop happening. Imagine that, AI in cars saving lives.
Skype has a real-time translation AI system in several languages with more on the way. The AI system immediately recognizes speech and converts it into translated text as it is spoken. People around the world will be able to communicate smoothly with no odd and awkward silence while looking into a translation dictionary.
As more people can communicate better, the more can be done for our future. Imagine an AI translating everything for us personally everywhere we go!
Where Are We Heading?
2017 will be the year to see a lot more of VR, AR, and AI in action. We’ve been introduced to the concepts and more and more giants are getting into the action.
Mark Zuckerberg posted a video that quickly went viral showing us all the ease of living with a trusty AI assistant (who doesn’t want their own Morgan Freeman Jarvis?); we’ve seen AR bring Pokemon to life; and we’ve seen VR add plenty to the gaming experience.
We’re only at the tip of the iceberg, and like an iceberg, most of the structure is submerged. Now we’ll begin to see it all be exposed as VR, AR, and AI become a central part of our lives.
I doubt we’ll be shocked to see augmented reality become a standard in cars, or for virtual reality to take us into the world of being Batman, or for artificial intelligence to become our children’s nanny.
No, the shock is over. Now it’s time for results. This new year we can expect great things involving all of these new concepts, but only time will tell us how they will be applied. I’m sure it will certainly be a happy new year!