I want you to think about your computer screen…. really think hard. Try to have an open mind and think like the street corner philosophers that swarmed on California in the 60’s. Hey man – drawn out airy voice—this screen is like a portal to another… virtual… world or something... TOTALLY mannn …. Do you think if I try hard enough I can be one with the computer and enter its virtual world? I don’t know… pass me that jay and well see if we can go there together.
Ok. Ok. I know it sounds sketch but I think these hippies might have been on to something. In my observations there are two types of digital technology that are actively competing against each other. Extrinsic technology is the first type and is largely based in science fiction. This class of technology aims to bring the virtual and digital world onto our own plane of existence. Some examples of these technologies are three-dimensional television, holograms (think starwars), gesture recognition technology (computers controlled by movements of your hand instead of a curser), and even robots (computer programs that have a physical representation and perform tasks in the real world). On the other hand we have intrinsic technology. Intrinsic technology aims to bring our consciousness into the virtual world (think The Matrix). Some examples of this technology are the concept of virtual reality, bionic limbs, even computers have an intrinsic nature about the way we use them.
This concept can be extrapolated out to include many technologies. Take, for example, speakers. A boombox is extrinsically based because it converts information into sound that can be heard by all. Ear buds, on the other hand, perform a similar job but can be considered intrinsically based because the sound is only heard and perceived by one person (much like virtual reality).
So now, just for the sake of curiosity… which school of technology do you think will win. Will we see a future where we manipulate technology within our own plane of existence? Will computers become small projectors that allow us to move three dimensional representations of programs around a space like papers on a desk? Or, will we all be forced to “jack in” in the future? Will population size cause us to need to move some people’s existence into a virtual world? Or maybe we will only go as far as converting the cubicle into a small Japanese Nap bed with a virtual reality interface so that we can save space? What are the benefits and consequences of each type and do you think one will be favored over the other?