In the twenty-first century, the technology revolution will move into the everyday, the small and the invisible. The impact of technology will increase ten-fold as it is imbedded in the fabric of everyday life. As technology becomes more imbedded and invisible, it calms our lives by removing annoyances while keeping us connected with what is truly important.
Mark D. Weiser, 1999
The late Mark D. Weiser was chief scientist at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center, now named simply PARC) in the United States, one of Silicon Valley’s most revered institutions and home to several important computing inventions and technological advancements such as Ethernet, the Graphical User Interface (GUI), and the personal computer. Weiser envisioned a future in which computers are embedded in everyday objects with technology disappearing into the background, serving to calm rather than distract.
In 1996, he wrote the critical paper “The Coming Age of Calm Technology” with John Seely Brown (Xerox PARC’s chief technologist). Calm technology can be summarized as invisible and natural to use; it doesn’t interrupt or get in the way of life. It happens in the background, and it appears when you need it. This is how I personally see the second wave of AR evolving: it’s not about being lost in our devices, it’s about technology receding into the background so that we can engage in human moments, while being more deeply immersed in the real world that surrounds us.