Considered how much we sacrifice in the name of digital?
What does it mean to augment reality?
According to Wikipedia, Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is also related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. In colloquial terms, augmented reality is a broad concept that refers to man’s attempt to make things as real as much possible. The motivation for augmented reality is not unconnected to the apparent loss of reality in a digital world like ours. It is understandable why we try to compensate for the things we loose in our now ubiquitous world. The moment you cross into the digital world of bits and bytes, it is not difficult to realize how much we sacrifice. I am taking up this topic to bring to fore the importance of ‘warmth’ in building magical experiences for customers. This is not an attempt to cast aspersions on all things digital.
I like to consider myself a book raven of some sort. It therefore wouldn’t come as a surprise when I say that my library is altogether my most important possession. I love to wake up in the morning and the first thing I see is that hallowed section of my bedroom that houses my book collection. Those who are close to me know very well that I don’t joke with my books. One of the ways I test how much you care about me is how well you handle my book(s) if I agree to lend you to read. There is a place where I love to be aside God’s presence and that is a well stocked bookstore. I can spend hours just feeding my eyes, holding, feeling, touching and inhaling the sweet smell that they carry. Sometimes, I wish I could eat them. Its the only time I wish I’m a Goat or any of those beautiful animals that chew cud. A book and a well produced one at that means much more to me but for the sake of social decorum, I’d like to alt here.
I have a Kindle Fire device by Amazon that I totally cherish but not anywhere close to how much I relish and defend my physical library of books. My relationship with my physical library is almost spiritual and ethereal. Its my shrine. The satisfaction I derive just standing in front of my physical library is profoundly beautiful. Its like the feeling God had when he finished his work. This is the closest I’m or may ever be to the Adventist phenomenon. This is about warmth and you’d be absolutely correct to call me obsessed. You’d not be wrong to refer to me as ‘old skool’ even though I’m in my twenties. This habit is well ingrained in me and my bias is well founded. I doubt I am the only one that feels this way. While, I wouldn’t begin a movement like the team natural hair and other highly opinionated groups some of who even threaten boycotts, I am stamping my foot and saying ‘NO’ to the natives of the digital revolution cum publishers. I refuse to sacrifice all the sensual experiences my hard copy books affords me. Until, such a time that augmented reality manages to push the envelope, eBooks and I shall continue to have a padded relationship. Its nothing personal.
Imagine that in the future, to learn a language, all you have to do is ingest a pill and voila, you begin to speak in other tongues. If somebody else said this then one might call it crazy but this is the future as seen by Nicholas Negroponte; a man who needs no introduction at all. It was him that said that “Incrementalism in the greatest enemy of Innovation” and I couldn’t but agree more with him. That cars will fly is no longer a debate. The commercial feasibility is what is left. We already have the fifth mode of transportation- Hyperloop by Elon Musk. The last time I checked, cars now drive themselves. The world is yet to see the true potential of technology and all the possibilities that come with it. The worry and my bone of contention is the sacrifice that seem to follow this revolution. As we near the age of singularity where everything is expected to be fused together in harmony, we should pay as much attention to the seemingly little things. These little things that make us human. Little things like smell, touch, taste, sight and sound. This is so important because at a very fundamental level, a brand is a strategic, emotional and culturally relevant idea with molecules around it. The future belongs to brands (animate or inanimate) that understand how to be human.
Will machines ever learn to be us?
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