Pokemon Go and the case for augmented/virtual reality


Illustration credit: Maya Avelar / The Foothill Dragon Press.

Sam Bova

In today’s age, incomprehensible ideas have the opportunity to become reality. All of our thoughts can have an immediate, drastic impact on the world.

We are always making advancements; technological progress towards a better world. So, our thought-to-be unrealistic ideas, which remain dormant inside our heads, don’t need to be anymore. Any negative aspects of an idea can be refined.

These advancements are progressive towards the expansion of ideas built upon others, from one generation to the next. Whether good or bad, right or wrong, revolutionary new technology is created often.

For example, representative of both political and technological progress, nuclear advancements may someday lead to nuclear war.

However, the good thing about any revolutionary technologies is that they can be controlled for change and new direction within society rather than profit, entertainment, or even devastation.

The next big technological advancement of our generation is called augmented reality (AR). This is a technology which uses a computer-generated image to provide a more complex view of the world. It imposes new ideas about what surrounds us each and every day, and allows us to see things that aren’t prominently visible to the naked eye. An example of this is Pokemon Go.

Now, sorry to disappoint, but there aren’t really Pokemon living among us, waiting for millions of people to control their fate. No, but Pokemon Go does create a compelling case for the future of augmented reality. With the worldwide success of this game, the possibilities for it to actually be beneficial to our lives are very interesting.

I believe we shouldn’t allow technology such as this to control our lives to the point where we forget that there is a real world outside of our phones and tablets. With that in mind, I would argue that things like Pokemon Go are not a practical use for the technology, and the negatives may outweigh the positives. However, the practical use to better our lives and create better futures for our children is that which can truly make a difference.

This goes the same for virtual reality (VR), which is similar to AR in a way, but rather than seeing the world around you in a different way, you enter into an alternate, virtual world in which you can interact with and experience a whole new setting. 

In our education, technology is already becoming a predominant resource for learning. I believe augmented reality should not replace our fantastic teachers, but rather be a tool to enhance education.

Imagine a history teacher using AR to sweep his/her class off to an ancient civilization with information to be explored, surrounding them on all sides. Or picture a biology teacher using VR to whisk a class off to study life in the oceans, or see the impact of global warming by watching an iceberg melt before their very eyes. Or in English class, can you see yourself reading and creating stories, and experiencing them virtually to get all the impact and emotion from the powerful messages presented by journeying through them yourself. You can completely immerse yourself into your learning.

For sports fans, watching their favorite sports can become where they are so completely immersed in the game, using virtual reality, that they can feel the nerves and levels of stress the players are experiencing. For athletes, say an NBA player, you can put yourself in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, with the last shot, and practice sinking it with the pressure on. This might’ve helped Stephen Curry in the Finals to get some ice in his blood, and maybe what were a bunch of bricks could’ve been money.

Now, I’m not trying to sound like I’m advertising augmented/virtual reality. I’m not, to be clear. However, my opinion is that humans make positive and negative advancements, and this is a positive one that should be used for practical use. You can see it as a science fiction future being brought to life, for means of discovery, outreach, teaching, and direction.

This technology may also be a key piece in the future of the wellbeing of our planet and all life that exists on it.

I don’t know how many more years our planet can take our abuse.

Augmented reality may lead to research which can end the issues of climate change, protect our biomes, and conserve nature’s wonders. Also, for space exploration, the benefits of augmented reality can virtually hold the hands of astronauts and assist them on board. The technology may pave the way for the next chapter of humanity’s exploration of space.

Some arguments against the use of AR are for reasons of privacy and security, which is why it should be used for helpful, practical usage, rather than any of the dumb things some humans will of course come up with in order to find themselves in situations which require privacy.

To maintain safety and security, AR can be used to make drivers more aware on the roads, making the world a safer place for everyone.

So, as I said before, we as humans will continue to make advancements to improve our lives. Whether it’s inventing the wheel, discovering fire or metal, beginning to write things down to spread information through generations, mapping the world and expanding it, capturing the world in a photograph, inventing a plane to fly above the clouds, putting a man on the moon, or creating the iPhone 7, they are all to bring us together and build ideas on top of another to settle us down and create a safer, happier world for everyone.

Advancements in augmented reality, for the right reasons, may be next to add to the list.

What do you think?