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Is the Microsoft Hololens 2 creating a blurred vision of who and what we are?

Microsoft launched Hololens2 at the latest Mobile World Congress. Hololens2 are the upgrade to the original set of ‘mixed reality smartglasses’ that utilize VR technology to create a new hybrid augmented reality.

I personally found the whole presentation to be very slick, well designed, rehearsed and executed, with a couple of good nuggets of wisdom to be found in Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella‘s introduction. I particularly liked, “When you change the way you see the world, you change the world you see.”

He also used a line from Mark Weiser, from some three decades ago: “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it”

And one final quote from Nadella that really seemed to hint at an ethical reveille at Microsoft:

Today’s AI is reaching human parity in object recognition, speech recognition, machine reading and comprehension, and translation. Today’s AI is being infused into every experience, mediating our interactions and distilling knowledge from everything around us.  Our mission determines what we build and how we build it and it defined how we see our role as a technology company in society and in our world.”

The real cool stuff happens later in the show when it’s demo-time for Hololens2 – take a look at the snippet below.

You know what? Hololens 2 may actually succeed in blurring the line between real and virtual.

 

You can find the full video here.

I think we are at the point where we risk losing sight of what is real, of blurring our vision, literally. It is a bit like normal glasses: the moment you take them off, your vision is blurred. You have become dependent on them. They have become your second nature (and I guess for eyeglasses that’s agreeable). But when that happens with Mixed Reality or VR/AR, we maybe crossing a line: at this moment we may have become the hammer, the tool, ourselves – rather than the purpose.

Guest post by The Futures Agency content curator Petervan

More resources: The complete recording of my keynote of the Building The Future / Microsoft Ativar Event in Lisbon Jan 30, 2019

 

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