Augmented humanity (AH) is not a novel idea for humans. Case in point, we all reminisce about how humans communicated with each other several decades ago, and how it has evolved with the application of technology. Right from Morse code to telephones, to mobiles, and now to botassisted chats and AR+VR. These are a few examples of augmentation of what humans do in their daily lives. In the years to come, AH will exponentially enhance human behavior and capability for better life, better health, better entertainment, better shopping, etc. Here are a few themes to see how the relationship between humanity and technology is progressing.
The physical layer of interface will rapidly vanish with the developments in voice and gaze, leading to frictionless interaction and almost instant access to information.
The proof of the pudding is in the popularity and growth of smart speaker technologies such as Alexa and Google Home. Gartner Research suggests that voice-driven search queries will become the dominant search mode for mobile users.
Even the retail interface is changing the way we shop with the development in facial, retina, and fingerprint recognition. The Amazon Go store is one such example.
The enormous personal data that gets generated during interactions with technologies such as machine learning and biometric systems will be used to augment our understanding of ourselves. This is a boon in the wellness and healthcare sectors to provide better services for healthier, happier lives.
Financial and insurance sectors can offer hyperpersonalized services to consumers. Automakers too, by using connected cars and driving data, can help improve personal performance, efficiency and safety as well as upkeep of the vehicle.
fluid versus the collective self
Every individual will be spoilt for choice in everything that is consumed, since we are now able to choose at the click of a button. We can enjoy personalized products, services, and experiences, which are driving a movement of bespoke production at scale. At the same time, however, AH has also enhanced the human ability to enjoy group experiences, making it easier for us to connect with large, like-minded groups across the world, to come together and share a tribal, collective experience.
Blockchain technology will be paramount in arresting the generation and circulation of everything fake and not trustworthy. Be it fake news, unearthed information, or non-existing processes, it will all be curtailed. People and brands will be able to interact and transact honestly and transparently for safer and faster growth.
AH will give humans the ability to feel and experience the world differently and in deeper ways, although harder to quantify. For instance, use of holograms in mainstream retail to facilitate purchase. Also, the ability for people to be ‘present’ in multiple places at the same time using technologies like telepresence and co-presence. XR (extended reality experiences owing to AR, VR, MR) will be the new normal where users can inhabit and experience a world that may normally be closed to them—or indeed be impossible to imagine otherwise.