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Immersive Reality Ate the Hologram

Back in the 1950s sci-fi enthusiasts dreamed about someday interacting with holograms in their daily lives. To date, the main focus of the holograms has been limited to movies. 3D displays of dark lords such as Darth Vader or plucky singers such as Jem and the Holograms have captured the mind of many, but never proliferated to applicable reality.

The simple truth about holograms is that they are nearly impossible to produce and people don't want them. On a zoom call, you don't want to see the side of someone's face, so why would a hologram be better than a 2D display. You want to see people's faces straight on, even if there are twenty people in the virtual room. The concept of holograms sitting around a table talking to each other is inherently flawed. Aside from the cool-factor, there just isn't a reason.

Alternate realities are proliferating left and right. We're seeing everything from virtual house tours, which lets people "move" through a home and see it from many different vantages, to realistic backgrounds on conference calls. They're stepping out of the cumbersome 3D goggles and movie theater glasses into our hands—or phones.

Technology should meet us where we are, not the other way around. We carry cell phones around, which made the old-school DSLR camera obsolete. New technologies must be as easy or easier than swiping a thumb across a screen. Interacting with holograms in the movies always requires larger gestures, which nobody want's.

We are still in the early stages of immersive realities. Some day we'll have the technology displayed in The Matrix, where we can interact with either augmented reality or virtual reality in a way that looks, feels, and even smells like the real world. Hopefully we won't have to add ports in the back of our brains, and computer overlords won't enslave us, but the technology will come.

Some will choose virtual reality, like Ready Player One, while others choose to overlay their fantasies on the real world. Better yet, enjoy the benefits of both. Virtually vacation in Rio during your off hours, and turn your stuffy work environment into a beachfront villa.

Forget looking at the cilantro stuck between Joan's teeth. Edit that green gunk out. Who cares if Bob smells like stale basement gamer. Replace that stench with cool mint.

Sci-fi needs to put away holograms, and accept realistic augmented overlays and immersive digital environments as our future.

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