Media Production

The Future of Reality is Augmented

My daughter Kelsey sent me this article from “The Atlantic” on the future of “filtered reality.”  If you’ve looked at a Google map, you’ll know a little about what I’m talking about.  As the article describes, “The emerging technology, called “Augmented Reality,” enables users to see location-specific data superimposed over their surroundings. Long a staple of science fiction, it’s trickling into the real world through the iPhone and similar ultrasmart mobile phones.

With AR applications such as Layar, the smart phone displays what its camera sees, with information about nearby buildings and shops, travel directions, even notes and “tags” left by other users in that location. Although AR now relies on handheld devices, electronics makers like Sony are working on systems that you wear like sunglasses, making augmented vision more immersive.”

In other words, the impact on what you’re seeing will be amazing, and a little scary.  For instance, the article goes on to say, “After California’s Prop 8 ban on gay marriage passed, opponents of the measure dug up public records of donors supporting the ban, and linked that data to an online map. Suddenly, you could find out which of your neighbors (or the businesses you frequent) were so opposed to gay marriage that they donated to the cause. Now imagine that instead of a map, those records were combined with an AR system able to identify faces.

You don’t want to see anybody who has donated to the Palin 2012 campaign? Gone, their faces covered up by black circles. You want to know who exactly gave money to the 2014 ban on SUVs? Easy—they now have green arrows pointing at their heads.  You want to block out any indication of viewpoints other than your own? Done. ”

The merging of mobile technology, location applications, spam, and political polarization could indeed have disastrous consequences.  Read the article and let me know your thoughts.


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  1. Okay, so I’m sitting in our ministry staff planning meeting discussing downloadable mp3s and convincing others that media should take a greater role in our ministry…meanwhile people are creating their own realities.  So our challenge as ministers is not whether media should or should not take a greater role, but rather finding a way to use media as a way to reach those living in their own realities, their own worlds, their own little technology box. Using media is a necessity. It’s our new “Jerusalem”. We must be present in this new virtual reality or Christ is left out of an entire generation of society.

    Why does it seem we as the church are always so far behind the times?  

  2. I agree with both Phil and commenter Amy.  The augmented reality stuff is very cool, but very scary.  I’m sure we’re moving towards some awesome technology, but it will come with consequences.

    And to Amy’s point, you’re spot-on!  In fact, I think I’m going to steal the phrase “our new Jerusalem.”  I like that.  Very accurate.  We as Christians got to get in the game!  Or folks in their own reality will have eternity to pay for our ineptitudes.

  3. “After California’s Prop 8 ban on gay marriage passed, opponents of the measure dug up public records of donors supporting the ban, and linked that data to an online map.”

    I believe this is called “Let-Bubba-Do-It”.

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