Pokemon Go: Your future reality is mixed

Pokemon Go is one data point on a line of convergence between physical and digital

The lines between physical and digital have become a lot blurrier since the launch of Pokemon Go. The technology isn’t that sophisticated. AR has been around for years. I was involved with a location-based gaming start-up run by my CANDDi co-founder a decade ago. But put these two things together with slick gameplay and an appealing media property, and you’re on to a winner.

Who wouldn’t want to capture Pokemon in the real world?*

Massive as the Pokemon Go phenomenon is, it is just a single data point that helps to describe the converging lines of our physical and digital experience. In a few years time it will be hard to distinguish the two, as long as there is some sort of intermediary filter on your physical experience: yes, glasses will come back. As I’ve always said, Google Glass wasn’t a failed product, it was a successful experiment.

Think about what this means for our future world. Imagine walking through a run-down area of town but seeing open parkland. Imagine virtual graffiti: the possibilities when pixels are your medium are endless. Imagine how real our virtual lives and loves can be.

Of course they won’t be quite real enough. You can’t walk on a virtual bridge. There are no virtual smells. Virtual wind machines will not follow you around. Virtual explosions will not burn your skin. In the early days our brains will fill in the gaps in the data. The experience will be visceral. But it won’t be long before we adapt. Before we gain the capability to discern the difference between the highest resolution rendering and the real thing.

Then the next stage of reality augmentation begins…

*Lots of people. But they’re just weird.


This post forms part of my Future of Technology series. For more posts on this subject, visit the Future of Technology page.

Tom Cheesewright


Futurist speaker Tom Cheesewright is one of the UK's leading commentators on technology and tomorrow. Tom has worked with a huge range of organisations across a variety of markets, to help them to see a clear vision of tomorrow, share that vision and respond with agility. Tom draws on his experience to create original, compelling talks that are keyed to the experience of the audience but which surprise and shock with unexpected facts and examples.

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