I Saw the Future and I liked It!

I Saw the Future and I liked It!

I saw the Future and I liked It!

Amanda Hanan Social Media Producer

Like a lot of Gen Xs, I can remember back in the 1970s writing an essay in school about what the future would look like in the year 2020. Most of us were convinced there would be flying cars, robot maids and food would only be pills. The Jetsons had a lot to answer for, and to be honest I’ve always felt a little cheated. So, I was excited, as part of 2017 NZ Tech Week to check out the Future Realities conference in Wellington; and I wasn’t disappointed – an amazing event; and as they say, I have seen the future and I liked it! It was all about Mixed Reality, – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and the Internet of Things.

With business revenue projections of Mixed Reality expected to be at around 120 billion dollars by 2020,  it is going to be big and the best part is the real world solutions mixed reality can provide to real world problems -without those it’s just a bad movie you once watched.

The new big thing is the growth of the ‘smart city’ and work being done right here in Wellington with the building of our own smart city is amazing. The real-world applications of 3D mapping and being able to ‘fly’ using AR through downtown Wellington, in real time, to check which buildings (by highlighting colour) are the most earthquake safe, or which street bins get the most rubbish, or which parks are high crime areas – has real world importance; but the greater applications for me is being able to highlight a free car park at peak times – not exactly a flying car but virtual to real car parks – my kind of reality.

Virtual reality promises much – the training opportunities for doctors with hologram cadavers, virtual courses for athletes to practice on, and for day to day life: the use of highly immersive simulations means the retail market is also a winner with its virtual supermarkets, personal experiences in home improvement and imagine a virtual you in 3 D, trying on clothes – with out ever leaving the lounge.

Without wanting to rain on anyone’s virtual or real parade – what about the headset? I mean apart from being heavy and kind of awkward there’s only so silly one can look at work (thinking hair people). I mean if the government can’t get people to wear a bike helmet to save their lives, because they don’t like helmet hair, imagine what chance your boss has?

New technology can often create as many problems as it solves – what to do with all that big data, or as it was called a ‘Tsunami of Data,’ – had no easy solutions. Do we just run the risk of data for data’s sake? How do we store it all?

There’s a few things to iron out, but the future it seems is already here and the way forward promises to be all about collaboration, immersion and empathetic computing (hearing and seeing together) and that AR and VR will be bigger than desktop publishing was, back in the day…

Posted on: May 24, 2017Courtnie Heissenbuttel