Jun 06 2023

First thoughts on the Apple Vision Pro

Published by under Hardware,Software,Thoughts

From a pure technical perspective, the freshly introduced Apple Vision Pro might be a very interesting and impressive piece of technology. It could be the first product that does Augmented Reality (AR) “right” – even though this product, naturally, only plays well with the rest of the Apple ecosystem and does not even bother to integrate with other industrial or office platforms.

Apple only showed a fistful of usecases, and those usecase only interest their usual target audience: The “creatives” that most of the time work alone somewhere. And content consumers, of course, who need a new way to consume their AppleTV and Disney+ subscription – somewhere.

Unlike when Microsoft introduced HoloLens, Apple did not show how this product could be used in an actual factory or during an actual surgery. Or in the cockpit of an airplane. Or, gasp, on a battlefield. The thing is: Back in the day, Microsoft showed what the HoloLens can do for real people in the real world at real workplaces in real situations where the product can actually help and be actually useful.

In Apple’s world, the Vision Pro is a compact, mobile home theatre that can also do the occasional video call in which you can also look at a presentation. Or play a game – even with a Sony PS5 controller.

But only adults with a (home office, remote) job can play games. They did not show children or adolescents using the device. Simply because the gadget at 3500 USD (without taxes) is way too expensive – and too fragile – for that audience, so they know that those kids won’t ever get one.

Of course, the device is also not outdoor compatible at all. With an expected max battery life of two hours, where the battery is even connected via a cable, you won’t be using the thing somewhere outdoors. First of all, you couldn’t use it long enough, secondly you would look like an idiot and thirdly, you would be way to afraid to break the expensive thing.

Just as they’ve shown, this thing was designed for being used in your home, on your couch or bed, maybe at a desk. It was designed for “affluent” First World customers that no longer leave their home and who already have everything else. The Vision Pro will make it even simpler to isolate oneself from the world. Maybe that really is a product we scared and rich members of Western civilizations need more than ever.

But in the Western hemisphere, there’s a gigantic majority of people who will never ever use a product like the Apple Vision Pro. For example all the homeless people that currently inhabit the streets of San Francisco, not far from Apple’s HQ who cannot even afford to rent a place in that city anymore, even though some of them still go to work every day. For them, as outlined in the novel READY PLAYER ONE, a device like this could be an escape from their hopeless reality, it could be “a place to go”. But not at that price tag, and not with an industrial design that only allows for using the thing within the safety of your bedroom.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the industry will respond to the concept of this gadget. Without a doubt, the hard- and software of the Vision Pro are ahead of other AR headsets on the market and there certainly are many use cases for it beyond the realms of entertainment, 3D photography and video conferencing. The next incarnation of the product will probably also address the ridiculous battery “solution” that Apple came up with for the initial product version. Heck, maybe version 2 will even be useable outdoors. But as we know Apple, it still won’t be affordable for average people who live in the real world and only make an average or low income working real jobs. You know, those folks who sell you your coffee at Starbucks or who flip your burger at McDondald’s. Or who take away your trash or who make your bed in your hotel room or the janitor who fixes the broken lightbulb for you. The wage slaves who work at the sweat shop that produces these expensive gadgets that they could never afford to buy with the salary they make in that shitty place.

But this all just fits with the way the product was even introduced and presented: Rich white people who have completely lost touch with the reality of the world were singing the praises of a new toy whose main purpose seems to be to allow wealthy people to consume (preferably woke) Disney+ content. Very obviously, no thought was wasted on how such a product could also improve the lives of the worker bees, the disabled, the handicapped and the not so fortunate.

The Vision Pro lacks actual vision.



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Apr 19 2023

Thoughts on Elon Musk’s interview on Tucker Carlson Tonight

Published by under Thoughts

Elon Musk was interviewed by Tucker Carlson a few days ago, and here are my immediate thoughts on his statements about aliens and his thought that we need more children to uphold our civilization.

He’s only talking about Western civilization, of course — because India, China and the entire African continent certainly do not have the problem of shrinking populations.

My take on this is very simple: Resources are limited, so the solution to most of this planet’s problems would be to passively shrink the human population, not increase it. China has done it for decades (rather ruthlessly, but also brutally efficiently), it was the only way for China to defeat famine.

We need to face and accept the fact that our numbers are not sustainable. The one thing this planet does not need is more humans consuming and destroying it. You want a prosper future on this planet? Make sure that there are not more of us than this planet can feed and support.
Now as for his statements on aliens and that he has not seen any evidence for them, yet. I think this is also rather straight forward:

If a race had the technology to travel through space fast enough to reach distant places in their own lifetime, their technology and civilization would be so advanced that – at best – they would only be interested in us as research subjects to be studied, just as H.G. Wells has written in his novel The War Of The Worlds over a century ago: “No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

If those aliens are out there and aware of us, we should be grateful that they do not behave as humans would: If it were the other way around, we would already have invaded their home world, taken their wealth and their resources and enslaved or possible destroyed them. Just what the technologically more powerful nations did when they set foot on North and South America and found humans there that could easily be conquered. Remember that the Spanish Conquestadores literally depicted the people of South America as animals, they even painted pictures of them in which the natives had tails, so the invaders could morally justify their horrible deeds in their home country. Do not believe for one second that we would act any differently if we found a world inhabited by an alien species that could not defend itself against our weapons.

We might know how to build rockets and nuclear weapons, but at our core we are still wild primitives. If we were as advanced as we love to tell ourselves, we would have long ago abolished nation states, would have formed an actual world government and live together in peace, we would willingly share our wealth and we would use all our scientific knowledge to make this world a better place for everybody – including all animal and plant life. But the facts are that we are still killing each other, we destroy everything that we touch on this planet and even in space and we are still waging a holocaust on all animal and plant life.

So be grateful if alien visitors of our solar system are more advanced than mankind and choose to either only study us from a distance or to ignore us completely.

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