Augmented Reality the New Communication Barrier?

13 Jul Augmented Reality the New Communication Barrier?


Pokémon Go, the new augmented reality game from Nintendo has become amazingly popular in a short amount of time since its release last Thursday. Within two days of release the app already overtook Tinder in downloads and probably soon after the release of this article it will have overtaken Twitter.  If you grew up in the 90s, as I did you might understand a bit better why this is such a huge thing. Pokémon was an obsession to kids back then so now being able to interact in their real world on a device with the characters is a mind-blowing experience for them. Pokémon Go is one reason all the 25 year olds seem glued to their screens.  However, is augmented reality the next step to us separating even farther away from face to face interaction?

According to a study done by Forbes, 93 percent of communication is nonverbal. Not receiving the cues people use to decipher messages received in person, people will not be able to truly understand what the other person is trying to say to them.

In total, Americans spend about 26 minutes a day texting. That compares to spending about six minutes a day on voice calls (Chicago Tribune).

Even our face to face interactions rarely occur without the presence and usage of a digital device. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to dinner with a friend and she will consistently be checking or scrolling through her phone. It’s scary when you have to tell someone to snap out of their digital world to have them be fully engaged in reality.

We have even seen digital replace actual interaction in our dating habits. Between 2005 and 2015 there was a 15% increase in positive outlook on online dating. The number of 18- to 24-year-olds who uses online dating has roughly tripled from 10% in 2013 to 27% today (Pew Research Center). This pattern correlates with the launch of many of our popular social media sites that have slowly moved most of us to online interactions. Exchanging Pokémon characters could become the substitute for flowers.

Now with augmented reality roaming the streets (literally) people are going to be paying even less attention to each other and more to their phones. The scary thought is, will we know the difference between true realities and the digital version in the future or will they be so blended it will become true reality for most? Let’s all remember the movie WALL·E and how the humans only interacted through screens and hope that isn’t our future.

The success of Pokémon Go will only inspire more companies to try augmented reality flooding our streets with more distracted pedestrians living in a digital world.

What are your thoughts on augmented reality? We would love to hear in the comments below.