In our time today, the dawn of virtual reality is now underway; and augmented reality is becoming closer as well. In gaming, VR headsets have given way for gamers to go beyond the screen; and the Google Glasses too has been made available in the market. Thus, in 20 years time it is not surprising that the simulated will take over our realities and this virtual and augmented realm will definitely have a huge social impact in the way people communicate and perceive space and time.

Welcome to the future - the Era of the Simulacrum.

As we reach into our pockets, we find our very own portal to our augmented realities - the AR smart glasses. Generation Y, Z and beyond becomes the cohort that can easily alter their space - making loved ones who live oceans apart become present in their own realm, and making projects of new surgical technology for once impossible operations; and infrastructures that are friendly to the disabled and those who have special needs easily erect in the here and now.

But it does not stop there. The once uncharted waters of hybrid glasses has become within the reach of our own hands. These AR glasses can easily be shifted into VR smart glasses. Now, the lack of resources to travel around the world can be easily solved by simply plugging yourself into a new virtual actuality. And the problem of being single can easily be fixed by summoning a virtual girlfriend or boyfriend with the use of your own glasses. Creating your envisioned reality becomes as easy as flicking a switch in your eye wear.

Companies can take advantage of this too by giving the consumers an actual feel of a future that has been molded by their very own brand. Apparels online can easily show the consumers what it is like to wear their clothes; and restaurants can quickly trigger the appetite of their own target market by showing their mouthwatering meals right in front of them. Social Media, Tinder and dating apps can be taken beyond our imagination and online dating and socializing can be as good as meeting people in real life.

While this kind of visual technology can make the industries of architecture, communication, marketing, education, health and performing arts reach greater heights; and while it can also create more inclusivity with the accessible technology to address the necessities of those with special needs and disabilities, augmented and virtual realities can also impair individuals of their skill to differentiate the virtual from the reality. This confusion can be brought about by the goal of this technology to trick the brain into thinking that the simulacrum is real.

Virtual girlfriends become the most convenient choice, virtual nature can soon replace our depleting forests, and simulated processes in surgery and architecture can leave unskilled workers with no jobs.

That is the paradox of the Simulacrum Era - while it can bring about inclusivity, progress, means by which we can enter the screen and expand our idea of what is present, it can also leave us trapped in our own virtual realities, leaving us with a more limited idea of space and time as compared to what we had before.

By Nadine Co and Patricia Sarmiento


Photos by Nadine Co

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