Augmented Reality: Greater Power, Greater Responsibility

The chance to make better choices with a nascent technology

Jesse Weaver
Published in
9 min readJun 24, 2019


Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

AAugmented reality (AR) is technology designed to enhance the physical world by integrating digital images into or on top of it. These composite experiences are often delivered through a heads-up display built into glasses or goggles, or in its current nascent form, via a smartphone camera.

AR differs from VR (virtual reality) in the way it integrates with the physical world. VR is a completely digital experience not tied to reality, like playing an immersive video game. AR, on the other hand, directly modifies a person’s experience of the real world.

This deep integration of the real and the digital has been a long-discussed potential future but to date, the technology has been unable to deliver on the hype. Beyond a few prominent examples like Pokémon Go and Snapchat filters, much of the current AR offerings live on the edges of consumer awareness, a playground for early adopters and tech enthusiasts, with most implementations leaning more toward flashy eye candy than actual useful applications. This will not be the case for long. Over the next five to ten years we will see an inflection point in the quality of AR products and subsequent growth in consumer adoption.