The thing that we all don’t get about AR is that it is a creative interface not a consumption interface.
The form factor of smart phones comes out of their history as communications devices. These are on-the-go, light, quick but ultimately shallow tools. Used to check up on friends, pirouette and descend upon a birthday party en-masse like the parrots of Telegraph Hill, Instagram that creme-brule or collectively lament the latest tweet of the latest president.
AR glasses with gestural tracking of hand pose is however a different beast. These tools in society will transform us back from parrots to primates. We’ll compose symphonies while standing in the park, or the dark for that matter. The primary mode of work will be when you have your specs on.
Yes some musicians (and not so musical musicians) do compose works on their phones. And indeed AR will be used for superficial social signaling. Zuckerberg’s visionary AR pivot will likely be what Facebook attempts to keep us as consumers with. But the next generation of us is about to get a significant upgrade — we’re about to get digital hands.
This means a cultural shift. We’ve seen what it means when a disproportionate part of us references, forward-casts, echoes and republishes every little thought that flits through the prison of our minds. We have a very good net for capturing ephemera — the best. The question you should ask yourself is what does it mean when that same energy, the hours and hours of labor per day per-person, are poured into single deep massive collective works because suddenly the tools to create are available to the masses.
These tools change culture.
In the brief gap between texting that insouciant photo of the most amazing piece of chocolate cake you’d ever fight a war over and the impending singularity of “Siri make yourself smarter” our hands will create a fountain of explosive creativity that will likely be seen as a renaissance while we still have eyes to linger over late post-capitalism. It may in fact be our salvation.