September 2011
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Day 09.13.2011, 4:57pm

The Twist of Reality

With all the focus around augmented reality, the trend to geolocate and post data layers on top of specific locations is actually only a few years old. Society has embraced these technologies through smart phone applications where your friends, family and social networks tag physical spaces with comments, images, video and other bits of data. A user’s ability to review and modify this content through their feelings and experiences within those spaces demonstrates how powerful this concept has become.

Hollywood and television are seamlessly integrating digital communications environments in which protagonists and antagonists battle it out through encrypted and open networks to achieve their aims. On the edge of these scenarios have been intense discussions if these developments are changing the definition of what it is to be human and if we will be able to control technologies that are supposed to help us.

There seems to be three levels of augmenting human reality:
• the use of external digital networks to help humans with their daily activities
• the use of implanted digital devices and chips inside human bodies to monitor or augment physical disabilities or automate individual need
• the use of quantum computing and complex algorithms to find patterns in complex computational contexts

All three represent a move towards intelligence amplification, extending human cognitive abilities to understand relationships between situations and data patterns. With the rise and increasing dependence on computers, networks and real time flow of data, comes physical and philosophical opportunities and challenges to what makes us human.