Gray-boxed

So… Meta Quest 3 just got officially announced today. It’s no surprise that, just like Apple’s Vision Pro, it’s a headset with strong focus on Mixed Reality (MR) experiences. Listening to the keynote immediately triggered my memory of a concept I had a while ago – of how our future, powered by MR technology, may unfold.

The CEOs of both companies don’t shy away from publicly stating how MR headsets will allow us to unclutter our lives and to replace unnecessary devices with virtual holograms*.

It is very likely that in the near future, powered by growing concerns of irreversible climate change, tech giants will hijack eco-friendly messaging to push for more holograms. Likely messaging will include appeals to reduce rare metal and plastic use by getting rid of physical devices: Why buy a new TV every couple of years if you can have the latest model on day one – virtually.

These holographic devices would not only be always updated with the latest features, but also cost a mere fraction of a physical item – utilizing a subscription model, naturally. Big new SONY 100″ TV that needs to be shipped across the ocean and then delivered on a truck to your house, costing you several thousand dollars – or the same picture quality and features for a $10/mo holo version?

It’s not difficult to see the appeal. Once head-mounted displays get replaced with light frame glasses, contacts or implants – it will be a no-brainer.

Why stop at TVs? That painting? How about a new one every day? How about a carpet that adjusts its pattern to the time of the day and weather? How about one t-shirt that displays whatever image you load onto it? We’re in for some fun time.

Until we lapse in subscription payment.

…because once the monthly sub does not go through, you will find yourself in a room painted MR-friendly 50% gray, sitting on a 50% gray box, holding a small 50% gray box in your hand and staring at a 50% gray frame, where the window to your garden should be.

PS.
Funny enough, the term gray-boxing is commonly used in 3D and game level design. Before putting in final art assets, spaces are typically prototyped using basic gray box geometry to test the lines of sight and procession of the space.

PPS.
Not all Byte-Sized Futurism episodes are going to be dystopian, but sometimes it’s hard not to see the future in 50% gray after watching corporate keynotes.


* Zuckerberg had the audacity to suggest that art is one of the things that should be replaced with holograms.