AR is the next computing platform – or one of them at least

AR computing platform
Image credit: Taner Muhlis Karaguzel /

We have already noted this week that the old world view that a computer is a typewriter with a screen on top is finally disappearing. We are now – by which I mean those of us who are either old and grumpy or not in the tech business – beginning to realise that the disappearance is not a ridiculous notion. It is also not surprising that this level of disruption is very scary.

AR is heralded – along with VR – as the next computing platform. Wearables are touted as being, if not the next computing platform, at least the next input process. The IoT (already disappearing as a term) is another.

Although VR will be bigger in terms of entertainment, whether gaming or other immersive experiences, AR has the potential to be one of the transformative technologies in the enterprise arena.

So much so that Magic Leap, a company that many do (did) not understand, is constantly being funded and refunded. And they have teamed up with AT&T to explore what the telco’s enterprise customers can get out of AR. We can already see applications in training and design and they will probably uncover many different applications in manufacturing, exploration and who knows what.

There will bumps along the way towards this whole interconnected world where actual screens on top of actual keyboards will become a thing of history (writers everywhere just collectively shivered).

AR as the next computing platform will also, therefore, become the next target. If you can manipulate anything that is connected you can manipulate AR. You could not just steal secrets you could change designs and models and training programmes. And cause immeasurable damage.

One day we might get there, or most of the way there, and live in a world that is managed for our needs and pleasures but it will be a long road. And many may not want it. Already, being disconnected is a privilege. Some may never have the opportunity but, for better or worse, we are becoming an input device into a computing platform that is already so much bigger than we are.

About 20 years ago there was a conversation in the doorway of a conference hotel and one of the conversationalists said that what he really wanted was ‘ambient metadata’. There was a little snorting and even a giggle or two.

Now, if you said that people would nod and look intelligent. Now, we have ambient metadata.

Let’s just hope we really want it.

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