Friday, September 6, 2013


"O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a
king of infinite space—were it not that I have bad dreams." ~ Shakespeare

No Beauty in Truth?

I got lost the other day, and realizing that my smart-phone had GPS tracking software, I quickly reigned in my options and was back on my merry way. 

For me this was a success story of augmented reality in a box. A truer statement never expressed, in those sense of the words, about innovation and progress. Yes, I hummed to myself, “we have come a long way baby.”

And then I happen to see a man wearing a “Google-Glass” walking his dog in the park and talking to himself. His dog would occasionally lift his ear and then with what seemed a dismayed disdain, let it flop down. The man kept on talking as he wrinkled and unwrinkled his brow in concentration and pretty soon the dog was barking at a bird, pulling at his leash and bounding for the bird; a frolicking methodology to get his master to drop the invisible mode of communication. NOw let me say, there is definitely a place for Google-Glass in the science, medical and engineering world of reviewing aggregated data in a snap shot for decision making, but for a steady means of communication? 

So here we are in this world of Augmented Reality (AR) and being immersed in it faster then the frog going in for a slow boil. We have plenty of these ARs to flit away the time in distraction and purposelessness. No time to think about much or anything, just react to the digital construct and live outside of the real.

Where are we going? ~ Brace yourself boys and girls, here it comes...

Answering the question leads us to many open-ended dead ends. You see, the more detached we are to our reality, the more immersed we become in this virtual world. And oh, yes the creators are hard at work to create the perfect world of symbiosis between a vegetative-reactive brain and modern marvel of the virtual. And they are out there, constructing an ever better, more enhanced mousetrap for our eyes and ears and other senses. Eye tracking software for the marketers to determine what you see and what "gets you," is a tool to check your internal desires that even you might not know about. 

We might then just become a vessel emoting ourselves into the void of virtual reality till time limit constraints come into play. You can see why fewer youth interact with each other, nowadays, even while they are together? To each his or her smart phone screen flicker.

Some don’t even know how to communicate with another person in the flesh. But they make great one-syllable graphic comments on messaging.

You might conjure up an image of me as a Luddite and an anti-progress person - and you are certainly entitled to it. But let me remind you that I owned the Apple IIe with a serial number of 0001234 once upon a time, and the Apple IIc, the Lisa, the Newton, the Compaq hand held, the many shades of iPods, iPads, the iPhones, the HPs, the Dells, Compaqs, an experimental HUD for a general aviation aircraft, a miniature ADHRS eye-mount display, a HITS loaded iPad PFD/MFD and scores of other gadgets and gizmos -  just sayin. So I am fairly well versed in the nuance of the digital shadows. So, where that has lead me is this recognition about communicating with another human being, not through the impersonal digits but through the viable dialog of thought between two people. This I believe is the crux of life.

“Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.” ~ Viktor Frankl

One day when they placed the EMR in front of me, I realized that my eye-to-eye days were coming to an end and my communication with my patients would deteriorate as a result. I am right about that. Ask others, whose heads are buried in the minutia of lab results and diagnostics, but their hands have barely touched the skin or eyes seen behind the black pools of angst.

What if, you could remove the photons of light from the ambient world and augment them with artificial digital photons on the retina? (That is already here, by the way in the form of Eye-Tap) The initial Oohs and Aahs will subside and then what? Where will our humanity be? Today we castigate people for their lack of compassion and try to adjust that socio-pathic behavior by saying that empathy can be mimicked by learning the meme. But is that what we are after? Are we not crushing the pillar of humanity and replacing it with what we have growing at a rapid and escalating pace, the cold, non-breathing, hard and inanimate form of inhumanity? The seduction, that is, is fairly powerful. But in its shiny glory this love of all tech, also empties the brain of critical thought and plugs in thoughtlessness and the unfeeling sense of nothingness. Is it no wonder there are so many suicides. At the threshold of such technological marvels then, why is there so much depression, so little love and so much need to satisfy each and every desire, whim and want and yet even after all that, there is so much- emptiness?

Where we are headed is an anti-human world of robotic existence. The existential question then is will we survive in this virtual world of Augmented Reality? The answers are few and may not be what we imagine, because what we are seeing is augmented, every photograph is color-accentuated, every actor is air-brushed, every scene is other-worldly and of course all games are now “reality-based.” The teenager now can gut another, riddle the bodies with bullets and throw mass explosives onto cities to commit genocide, all in the name of a game. But is that not changing and rewiring the youthful, non-discriminating, impressionable mind? I say it is. One has to see the recent tragedies vested upon us in the past few years by youths who have lost all sense of living and are now killing others because they are bored! (Here: )

"What we achieve inwardly, will change outer reality." Plutarch

So the other day, I asked my self, “When did reality lose its beauty?” and “what is happening to us?” I am still searching for the answer to the first and for the second, it is staring us in the face. 

"Being human is given, but keeping our humanity is a choice." 

No comments:

Post a Comment