AR Will Spark the Next Big Tech Platform—Call It Mirrorworld
While augmented reality (AR) may strike some as an over-hyped concept that has so far delivered little of value, there are strong indications that this technology may actually give rise to the third major technology platform after the Internet and social media: a digital realm dubbed “mirrorworld.”
The mirrorworld would basically be a 1:1 map of the real world, a digital copy overlaying reality that will be machine-readable and therefore searchable, just like a digital text is today. The game Pokémon Go, where players look for virtual characters in physical spaces, provides no more than a glimpse of what the mirrorworld would look like. In the mirrorworld, you will be able to use digital algorithms to interact not just with Pokémon, but with virtual copies, known as digital twins, of practically any object in existence.
Microsoft’s HoloLens technology already offers an interesting example of AR. The aim of HoloLens is to create the workspace of the future, where people can juggle a multitude of complex tasks by interacting with virtual screens as well as digital twins of machines and other objects, just like characters in a sci-fi movie. But AR can do so much more than provide people with fancy virtual desks. In fact, the possibilities are almost endless, which is why the US army plans to invest in upgraded HoloLens headsets that can be used by soldiers on the battlefield.
Eventually, the mirrorworld will move far beyond the workplace and shape nearly every aspect of people’s lives. Every Internet-connected device will become part of it and people will be able to navigate a digital version of the entire world, made possible by a global network of tiny camera’s that capture every corner of the globe.
The mirrorworld will also be the home of artificial intelligence (AI) and will allow us to interact with avatars of the most sophisticated AI solutions. Furthermore, the mirrorworld will not be bound to the constraints of time like the physical world is. In the mirror world, people will be able go back in time and examine locations and objects at specific points in the past. Virtual representations of the distant past may even make it possible to go back centuries in time.
Obviously, many technological and security challenges need to be overcome before AG can truly deliver on its promise, but the immense potential of this technology deserves serious consideration. Don’t let the hype surrounding AR prevent you from appreciating how this technology can change the world.