Beware false dreams, Strange Beasts reveals technology’s dark side

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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

  • Sometimes we can forget how powerful, and how immersive, technology can be and this short film provides a timely reminder


 

Strange Beasts is a dystopian British short film of Netflix’s drama Black Mirror – and it packs an equally strong punch in about a fifth of the time.

 

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The film starts out with a game developer named “Victor” who’s promoting his new augmented reality game that allows players to “create, customise and grow your very own creature.”

Sound familiar?

“We don’t just want to sit around staring at a screen, we want to be a part of our own entertainment,” he says.

 

Be careful not to get too wrapped up in fantasy
 

Victor then goes on to explain the technology works by superimposing computer generated images over real world objects by projecting a digital light field, something that Magic Leap, the multi-billion dollar augmented reality (AR) start up that’s still in stealth mode is said to be working on, directly into your eye, and he insists the game isn’t dangerous to players’ vision. In fact it’s the opposite, he argues, it gives them a sort of “super vision.”

After meeting Walter, Victor’s virtual pet, we then meet his daughter, Anna, and her virtual pet, and while Victor says Strange Beasts gives players a “friend for life” it’s evident that things aren’t all they seem…

 

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As we use new emerging technologies, like virtual reality (VR) and AR to create new “powerful” experiences the film serves as a stark warning of the future we could end up “living in,” and for my part I’d suggest you watch it and reflect.

Is this the future you want? Arguably, we could all find ourselves marching headlong into this form of techno fuelled “coma” without realising it until it’s too late, and we all need to be careful to not let our humanity slip away.

Beware of false dreams.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, award winning Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute, a global futures think tank working between the dates of 2020 and 2070, is described as "The Adviser behind the Advisers." Regularly featured on AP, CNBC, Discovery and RT, his ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past five years as one of the world's foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive future. A rare talent Matthew sits on the Technology and Innovation Committee (TIAC) for Centrica, Europe’s largest utility company, and his recent work includes mentoring XPrize teams, building the first generation of biocomputers and re-inventing global education, and helping the world’s largest manufacturers envision, design and build the next 20 years of devices, smartphones and intelligent machines. Matthew's clients are the who’s who of industry and include Accenture, Bain & Co, BCG, BOA, Blackrock, Bentley, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, Du Pont, E&Y, HPE, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, UBS, the USAF and many others.

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