Augmented reality has a wide variety of advantages and pros through its widespread and ease of use. Although largely a progressive kind of tech with the potential to revolutionize many industries in a positive way, augmented reality does have drawbacks and negative consequences to its use. These are some of the downsides and repercussions of augmented reality use, and how we can combat it’s dangers.
Escapism is a persistent notion in the 21st century. From movies, to reality TV, to Instagram and Video games, these immersion experiences all allow us to detach from our thoughts and mind for brief moments. The more immersive the experience is however, the higher the potential that these bouts of detachment devolve into addictions to these fantasy worlds and stories.
Addiction potential for AR is not quite as present as with fully immersive VR, but is still one of AR’s biggest pitfalls. With the combination of the real world and the highly adaptive experience of an augmented reality “skin” or “filter” over top, the mind will start looking for these filters and skins through prolonged use of AR and when the user is not adapting their environment with AR.
Instagram and Snapchat filters have become increasingly addicting as many people use it to augmented themselves to hide imperfections and to look more attractive. With the social rat race being who has more followers and likes on apps like Facebook and Instagram, it’s a worrisome habit for youth in particular. Spending hours taking selfies and enhancing them with filters gives the power of Photoshop into the hands of kids whose brains are still developing.
Augmented reality could also accelerate a growing problem as a result of social media and the 21st century. Fake news is a borderline epidemic with everyone and anyone having the access to the power of the internet and the virality it has within it. Someone using their neighbors WiFi can upload a 10 second cat video and rack up millions of views on YouTube based on algorithms, luck and trend timing.
Having smart glasses or devices which can project our technological needs, will inevitably replace smartphones and thus will allow for fake news to be more immersive and more believable. As the gap between what we perceive as reality and a computer generated reality, this is particularly troublesome.
As we start to learn how to adequately moderate advanced technology, so will the laws and regulations around it. AR does have two sides of the coin when it comes to addiction, as apps like Interventionville a rehabilitory AR application does help addicts in meaningful ways, but there is also the allure of AR backed by behavioural psychology where it is engineered to be addicting whether that’s a game, app or AR product. One side will inevitably win this tug of war battle in the coming years.