Controversies of Augmented Reality

I am sure many of us know what is reality as we all lived or are living in one right now at this exact moment.

We take things as per normal, surfing the web, chatting on phones, googling for research materials, blogging, downloading music/videos etc. But did anyone realized that amidst all these activities we are doing, someone out there is actually doing an aggregation of us and our daily behaviors on the internet?

Well, it is definitely surprising when I got to know such terrifying facts today and somehow it did hit on me that, 

OMG. There is no such thing as privacy anymore!

This thing, is known as augmented reality.

According to Wikipedia,

Augmented Reality (AR) is a term for live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery- creating a mixed reality.

Augmented reality allows us to have access to any information at our fingertips using simply just a mobile phone with the necessary applications.

An example is this video

Layar, the world’s first mobile augmented reality browser is not just an application, but a platform for its user to experience their surrounding at a more in depth and detailed manner like no one has ever seen before. It uses your GPS location and G-sensor to determine exactly what your phone is pointing toward and providing you with more information just by a button or touch (depending on the types of phones you are using of course). Developers can also make use of the Layar API to create their own layers within the application.

Some layers to name are :

  • Wikipedia,
  • Twitter,
  • Store Locators,
  • Nearby bust stops,
  • Mobile coupons,
  • Dealers, 
  • Tourist information

Sounds convenient isn’t it? You probably do not have to carry a road directory around or a travel guide in a foreign country. Finding a restaurant nearby to settle your hunger pangs will not be much of a hassle and you can even track fellow twitters around you and get to know more friends in person. 

BUT. Here comes the bad news. What of privacy? What of the personal space that we are all conscious of? Invasion of privacy through such a platform, it is considered illegal? But everyone is using it. Technologies with such applications are even openly sold in stores e.g. Apple iPhones and some HTC phones.

Think about it.

Do we actually have privacy now? Pin numbers, password-protected accounts, number locks…are they really private? If you think they are, then think again. Who are the people manning the sites, the accounts? OH MY GOD. Yes. These sites and accounts do not operate on their own, appear on Google and know your preferences in videos on Youtube. So, reality is not so private anymore isn’t it? Even on mobiles, a list of messages sent to anyone can be easily retrieved from the personnel in charge. It IS that scary. 

Well of course unless we still keep handwritten diaries in our locked closet away from all the prying eyes, if not, I can’t say that in reality we enjoy much privacy at all, especially while logged on to the internet. Can you imagine when augmented reality actually takes over the world? 

Right now, we are always asking “Where’s my privacy?”

In the future, the young ones will probably be asking “What is privacy?”

I also learnt that there is such a wonderful thing called sixth sense. 

It is wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.

Remember Minority Report where Tom Cruise uses hand gestures to move things around on a transparent panel looking for clues to solve precrime-murderers? This is the closest replica of that technology in this century.

Digital devices are shrinking in sizes rapidly, allowing portability in receiving information anywhere and anytime through the digital world. However, they do not connect us with the physical world at all. But Sixthsense bridges this gap and bring these intangible information out into the tangible world where we can access freely through simple hand gestures. This is indeed what we called “right at our finger tips”.

It is really amazing to watch and see how fast the technology advances. Just 20 years ago, handphones were bulky and inconvenient, now they are so handy that you can practically fit the entire world in your palm without having to kill your brain cells over memorizing hard facts.

With that, I end with a simple takeaway for all.

The world does not stop evolving. So if you do not want to be left behind, catch up with it. Or at least make an effort to do so. IOW, TRY. 🙂



References taken from 


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