Most of us realize that we have one-foot in the real world and one-foot in the virtual world and sometimes it is hard to say which one we are really in at any time. The other day I was at Starbucks, in line waiting, and the five people ahead of me were all on their smartphones, texting or whatever, the cashier looked up and said "next" but no one looked up, everyone was busy, so I cut to the front and ordered, I looked back feeling guilty and no one even noticed – they were not paying attention – yes, better there in line than in their non-self-driving car on the road while I crossed in a crosswalk.
Where is all this going? Are we driven to distraction, are we improving our efficiency, are we really living, or only living half a life in two places? By now I think we all know that much of our future will be Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and that this future will blurr our perception of this current reality, and obviously I am not the first to state this (Cite: 1). There have been TEDtalks about this and even speculation that we may now be living in a simulated reality, like the Matrix. Many thinkers today believe this and their reasoning is intellectually sound, which may bother some folks to consider that they are merely an Avatar in a highly sophisticated computer game, perhaps known as the Life Experience or something of that nature?
The was an interesting article in The Institute, the official IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) publication titled: "Augmented Reality Could Contribute to Information Overload, If We Let It – A new kind of operating system will be needed to encourage mindfulness rather than distraction, "by Amanda Davis published on December 22, 2016. The article states:
"As AR applications emerge it will begin to take a toll on human consciousness, according to John Rousseau, executive director at Artefact .. He says our perception of reality could be influenced by a constant 'feed' of information that-like today-is created and controlled by a variety of self-interested parties. "
There have been research studies (Cite: 2) showing that the use of smart phones and other gadgets is as addictive as heroin. The Union Newspaper (Northern NV) "Richard Cristdahl: Another inconvenient truth," which stated:
"Nicholas Kardaras, PhD, addiction specialist and columnist, calls it" digital heroin "and Andrew Doan, MD, PhD, head of addiction research for the Pentagon and US Navy, and an associate scientist at the National Institute of Health, calls video games and screen technologies "digital pharmakeia" (digital drugs). "
We know that video games are addicting, literally they fit all the definitions I've ever seen. We now know our smart devices are addicting (in all fairness and disclosure; I do not personally own a smartphone), so in the future when these technologies really get good and appear very real, it will be hard for most people to justify staying in the moment or with mindfulness, when the allure to be anything you want to be is just a matter of flipping a switch or a simple voice command and all the holographic world pops up in front of you.
Something needs to happen, because where we are headed isn't pretty, and what we are doing now isn't working. It isn't healthy to sit on your butt and text and it isn't safe to walk or drive and text. Our minds are being modified and we are depleting our brains of nutrients straddling these two-worlds trying to multi-task. If we continue we'll need to up the cardio-exercise and take some serious vitamins to keep our brains efficient at the myriad of tasks at hand. Please consider all this and think on it.
1. "Future of Holographic Technologies" eBook, 2012, 151 pages, ASIN: B0071FK66K.
2. The Institute; "Medical Experts Say Addiction to Technology Is a Growing Concern – Surveys show that tech addition is on the rise," by Kathy Pretz, December 23, 2016, published by IEEE.