After months of rumors and speculation, Apple’s Vision Pro glasses were finally revealed during the keynote video that Apple launched. Global Developers Conference 2023. Earlier, Apple showed a new feature for iPhone and iPad called Vision Pro and its two screens moved directly in front of users’ eyes (virtual).
The Vision Pro has a sleek Apple-esque look, but it’s also pretty goofy. The company envisions us wearing these glasses all day and interacting with people as if we didn’t have a giant device strapped to our heads, occasionally showing a creepy representation of our eyes. The goal is to show that the glasses are not insulators, but rather „augmented reality” hardware. While I’m sure the distinction between augmented and virtual reality is important to some, what I noticed in the presentation was how small it is.
Apple showed several possible use cases for Vision Pro: working at home, watching movies, working in the office, isolating yourself from other passengers on a plane, and working remotely. The company mentioned gaming, but didn’t focus on it, despite being one of the top use cases for comparable products. Emphasis is placed on work and the idea is that wearing these glasses all day should be casual. The emphasis on work is understandable, especially given the brutal price of the glasses (no less than $3,499), but if this is the direction computers take in the next ten or fifteen years, we’re looking at an even bleaker future. than Silicon Valley has ever had for us.
Screens are profitable
During the pandemic, we got a clearer picture of incentives in the tech industry. As more of us quarantined in our homes to avoid contracting or spreading a contagious virus, tech companies’ revenues and profits soared as they spent more time interacting with their services in front of our screens. Already big companies, ratings and profits reached a new level unimaginable because we were isolated from each other and it showed how much we were encouraged to stare at our screens.
Metaverse, launched by Mark Zuckerberg in October 2021, should be understood in several ways. Workers working remotely during the pandemic is a new way to create virtual environments where people can participate, but their activities can be easily monitored. One of the big developments in the pandemic is not just the widespread use of remote work, but the use of additional monitoring software to monitor what those workers are actually doing on their computers. Microsoft pushed in that direction, releasing several „Metaverse” features for its business services.
But Zuckerberg also saw another opportunity: if he could make Metaverse a reality and build it on a platform Meta owned and controlled, accessible through the hardware he sold, it would bring huge benefits to the company. Widespread adoption of art. It’s an attempt to not only challenge the dominant positions of competitors like Apple, but to encourage people to bring screens to watch them more often, interact with services, play games, and watch ads offered by Meta.
While that dream has faded as the Metaverse hype has died down and the industry has settled into the current AI bubble, that doesn’t mean they’re ready to give up, which is why Apple is entering this market at this time. . If it succeeds where Meta failed, it could mean significant gains in hardware and services, as the future of computing is shaped around the product and interface that Apple created. But that doesn’t mean it’s a direction we should welcome.
While Apple tries to highlight Vision Pro’s ability to allow its users to socialize and learn about the world around them, it can’t be seen as adding to the sense of isolation, isolation that many already feel. Enhanced by the digital technology that surrounds us, it promises no other connection.
The Vision Pro appliance allows users to put multiple windows in front while working, but it also allows them to be in a virtual environment and block out their surroundings. They can do the same while watching movies. Of course, the software should detect if there is anyone around and allow it to appear on the screen to alert the user that they are not alone. Still locked down. We drift further and further away from the collective experience of the world around us in our individual bubbles.
We can already see how the tech industry is incentivized to push our society in the direction of isolation because it serves their business models. What the tech industry calls the „lockdown economy,” e-commerce services and working apps have created an expectation that everything will be delivered to us instead of doing some work during the week. Being able to be more productive instead of being distracted by useless responsibilities.
The system is also changing relationships between people: some are locking themselves at home or commuting home from work, while others are moving into the expanded service economy, where companies like Amazon and Uber have successfully challenged not only labor rights but also employment. As the status of workers expands, digital surveillance and algorithmic management make them more vulnerable and less in control of their work.
I see Vision Pro and these efforts working in the metaverse or living life with glasses on their face with a similar lens. Rather than live our lives and actually interact with people throughout our days, the goal of these companies is to secure most of our interactions with the products and services they offer, rather than with apps and chatbots. Vision Pro allows users to further separate themselves from their surroundings and create „digital personas” for video calls, so others talk to an abstract, digital version of themselves instead of seeing a real person.
Over time, we see a gradual shrinking of the way we enjoy entertainment: from the collective experience of the cinema, through family TV viewing, to an even smaller audience of streaming services and various streaming apps. Video, now we expect to put it. A set of screens directly in front of our faces to ensure we can’t share an experience with someone else. The evolution is troubling and illustrates how disconnected executives are from real-life technology.
Technology leaders are not only alienated by the public’s wealth, worldly experience, and exclusive lifestyles, but also stifle social life, or at least lack of understanding of the social nature of ordinary people. They think a better way of life is to have everything possible mediated by digital technology, because they have a vested interest in the tools that made them rich and powerful, and continue the process that put them in that position in the first place. Place. While people are open to moving forward with their visions, it’s clear that there’s also a growing frustration and dissatisfaction with the world they’ve created. Doubling the bet seems like a bad idea.
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