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AR/VR, the Metaverse and the Emerging Workplace
Welcome FullStack HR! Here we think about the future of work.
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Someone asked me if I could create a LinkedIn group that talks about Generative AI and HR - and sure, I can! The aim is to create a community that helps each other out by sharing knowledge.
With that said - let’s get to it!
A while back, a tweet from Packy McCormick caught my eye. His words encompassed a maddeningly accurate snapshot of the modern technology landscape: the battleground where every new product is dissected, dismissed, or destined for greatness, often within the same breath. His tweet centered on the Vision Pro and the perplexing, yet wholly predictable, reaction to its introduction.
McCormick wrestles with the techno-pessimism that plagues us. It's the knee-jerk reaction to dismiss, belittle, to throw the concept of a new product into the bin before we've even given it a chance. You've seen it – I've seen it. It’s as common as the changing tides.
Remember when Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) were seen as the overzealous child of tech, the ones always shouting, "Look at me!" but never quite getting it right? We lived through a glut of blog posts and think pieces on how AR/VR was a hyped-up dud, and that the metaverse was a fool's dream. Remember that? I do.
But, lo and behold, Apple waltzes in, hosts a presentation, and suddenly everyone's thinking, "Well, if AR/VR looks like THAT, sign me up! The metaverse IS the future!"
The sentiment around Vision Pro illustrates the predicament quite nicely. McCormick astutely pointed out that folks are often quick to critique and belittle the early, admittedly less polished versions of a product. They highlight every flaw, scoff at the impracticality of it all, saying, "It could never work." But that's just it, isn't it? These are stepping-stone versions – they're not meant to be perfect right out of the gate.
It’s akin to tasting an undercooked dish and then dismissing the whole cuisine – just because it’s not quite ready yet, doesn’t mean it can’t become something exquisite.
The real work, the real imagining, comes from contemplating what the brightest minds can achieve given time, resources, countless iterations, and the valuable lessons each of those iterations brings. It's hard to predict the trajectory of the future, but then again, if it were easy, we'd all be inventors, wouldn't we?
Packy argues that this pattern isn't unique to AR/VR. AI, biotech, electric cars, space travel, solar power, and, crypto, have all fallen into this trap. All ridiculed, dismissed, and then, suddenly, they're the next big thing.
The Gartner Hype Cycle remains undefeated.
It's akin to shaking a ketchup bottle – nothing, nothing, and then suddenly, everything.
If you've been following FullStack HR for a while, you know that I love exploring technologies shaping the work's future. And my take on AR/VR and the metaverse? I've always had a gut feeling about them, a sense that we were onto something big, though it was still in its infancy. This stance has been met with skepticism, doubt, and outright rejection. And who knows? Maybe they're right.
But with the arrival of Vision Pro, we've inched closer to that possibility, bringing it into a more tangible realm.
But this brings us to the million-dollar question: is this the future we want? A future where we sit in our living rooms, strap on a headset, and instantly teleport to our workplaces? There are undeniable benefits and potential pitfalls.
But, regardless, it's a future that's unfurling before us and one that's becoming more and more plausible.
I've previously pondered on the intersection of technologies, particularly AR/VR and AI integration.
Vision Pro not only strengthens the case for such a future but also nudges it from the realm of speculation into the realm of the probable.
Again, is this what we want? Is this the future we envisage?
I write because I believe we have a say in shaping our future. The upcoming technological changes are not inevitable; they're an opportunity, an invitation to create a world that resonates with our values and ideals.
This is the crux of the matter, my friends.
As we stand on the cusp of this technological revolution, we must resist becoming passive observers.
Let's not wait for the future to happen to us.
Let's shape it.
Let's challenge it.
Let's be part of it.
Because, in the end, the future belongs to us all.
It's ours to shape, and shape it we will.