The old saying is that software will eat the world. In reality, digital has eaten humanity. We are so consumed today in our digital lives that almost all trending stories belong to the digital space: NFT, Defi, cryptocurrencies, social media, cloud gaming, SaaS, metaverse, OTT streaming, all related to the ones and zeros they have. our lives. become so dependent on.
It’s not that digital is bad or digital is good, digital is what we do with it. Digital can be used for whatever purpose we humans set out to use it for. Like most things that humans create, it is a tool, how it works and the role it plays in our society and for humanity is determined by the end user. Digital life has been so central to our lives that it improves the way we enjoy life, prolongs the time we live, and allows us to connect in more ways than ever with people around the world. Simply put, digital life makes life better.
But everything digital also has its cons. It has created a new generation of humans, one that has lost the sense of what it means to live in the real world. This new generation is the digital zombie generation, where digital consumes and dominates every aspect, almost every waking moment in some cases, of someone’s life. TikTok, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Fortnite, Runescape, World of Warcraft, Destiny, Madden, Skype, Zoom, Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus; Many people never stop looking into the abyss of digital space and when they do, they usually do so in their pockets waiting for them to re-enter. It’s so surprising that this very week Facebook canceled its Insta project targeting our youth after considerable disturbing reports surfaced. regarding how much they know about how harmful Instagram is to our youth, particularly girls.
As the father of 3 boys between the ages of 9 and 13, I have recognized many of these trends and recently realized that what the world needs is not another solitary solution or platform that disconnects us from the real world we live in: the one in which we can use all 5 senses at the same time. Rather, what the world needs is a solution and a co-reality platform that allows us to come together to engage and collaborate. The co-reality experience is one where people can play together, work together, build together, play together both physically and digitally at the same time.
Co-reality is an extension of what Dan Ostrower wrote in 2014, in his article titled The war for our digital future: virtual reality vs integral reality. Dan defines Integral Reality as follows:
Integral reality intertwines the wonders of digital with the physicality of real things. With embedded and invisible digital components within objects, Integral Reality will not separate us from the real world, but rather promises to create emotionally engaging experiences with it.
Integral reality falls into the broad spectrum of Mixed Reality. While Virtual Reality experiences like those created by Oculus or those seen in movies like Ready Player One fall at one end of the mixed reality spectrum, Integral Reality sits at the complete opposite end, with Augmented Reality at the far end. half. The current interfaces for Integral Reality are all tangible user interfaces, whereas Virtual Reality is mainly controller-based and Augmented Reality is generally gesture-oriented. This concept of Integral Reality is not something completely nascent, there are a series of experiences and solutions that have been built in space until now.
As the CEO of TapTop (aka Blok Party), our company was fortunate to have the backing of the leading Venture Capital firm that invested in the new Whole Reality experience: Alsop-Louie. At TapTop, we built the world’s first commercially available tabletop game console, which fused the physical with the digital and created an experience where families and friends could gather around the table to play games and interact with physical and digital objects together. . Our interfaces activated most of our senses: we used a large format LED screen with incredible designs and graphics for games; We were one of two non-Amazon devices with built-in Alexa SmartScreen for voice-based gaming (the other being the Facebook Portal), we used amazing sounds to bring games to life. The premise of TapTop was that we digitized the most popular board games for today’s hard and medium level table gamers, including Catan, Ticket to Ride, Machi Koro, Space Base, Pandemic, Spirit Island, Codenames and many more. . In addition to purely digital games that could be played in a co-reality, we shipped over 5,000 units of physical toys, playing cards, and dice that, when in contact with the TapTop screen, could be detected through RFID interaction with our sensor. patented RFID display. technology. Unfortunately, global supply chain problems and semiconductor shortages hampered our efforts and stopped our plans.
We weren’t the only Whole Reality company in Alsop-Louie’s portfolio and, in fact, Stewart Alsop once said of Gilman Louie that “he’s starting to see the whole world in terms of 3D, where everything could be interconnected online and out of line”. That bridge between the physical and digital realms is being created by their portfolio companies like Niantic, which created the hit phenomenon Pokemon Go, Hover, which allows contractors to use a smartphone to create an accurate 3D model of a house construction. in 3D and mixed dimensions. which brought digital avatars and game characters to the physical realm using some of the most advanced 3D printing and in-game capture software whereby entire game scenes can be physically collected, Drop Kitchen’s human-computer interaction for home appliances from Kitchen and Shape Labs, which develops a scale by which users scan, track, measure and compare their body shape in photorealistic 3D.
Other companies are already operating in the space and have also received billions of dollars in investment from the biggest names on Sand Hill Road. Self-driving cars like Waymo, robotic kitchens like Chef Robotics, human-computer interfaces like Nueralink, experiential museums and entertainment centers like Two Bit Circus, and humanoid robots like Sophia the Robot from Hanson Robotics. Investors, whether they realize it or not, are enabling the future of holistic reality and, more importantly, the product, platforms, and co-reality solutions that I believe the world so critically needs right now. .
The future of co-reality that I envision is one that brings people back together, side by side, face to face, to create bonds, create lasting memories and share incredible physical-digital experiences. The fact is that today’s society is more connected than any other point in human history, yet we are more disconnected and divided than ever; so much so that we are losing our humanity. I believe that co-reality, multi-user and in-person experiences can and will save our society and humanity.