Opinions about augmented reality (AR) upstart Magic Leap (ML) today rage far and wide; endlessly. Investors have backed the reclusive startup to the tune of more than a billion dollars to create an AR system including a new type of headset that has the potential to kick the industry into high gear. Other than a few video releases like this or this, most of us have gotten few glimpses of the system and products. They’ve raised a lot of money, been building for a few years, and the “people” are getting antsy they want to see it. In the absence of actual knowledge, the volume is up on the talk after the company announced it will ship products by summer’s end.
I’ve been saying this for a long time and will memorialize it here: We should all be excited no matter what. We will all be winning no matter if ML as a company wins or loses and here’s why:
- Success. If ML succeeds the entire world will have access to amazing hardware and software to experience a better version of AR than we have now. No doubt the applications will range from medicine to movies to industrial manufacturing and education, and so many others.
- Fails. Failure can mean many things. The tech can succeed and the company fails or all sorts of other combinations. But here’s the thing, ML employs hundreds if not thousands of people by the time it will be said and done, and those people will have tremendous learnings to carry out into the world and spread around. In other words, technology evolutions work a bit like Lego blocks, the next generation is usually built on the successes and failures of what came before. Thus, armed with the knowledge of a failed experiment, the next generation will be built until one works.
- Regardless. Regardless of what happens to ML, there’s no doubt its mere existence encouraged the world’s largest tech companies and so many others to hit accelerate on AR or MR or visual tech development. The startup triggered billions of investment into R & D and something is real likely to come out of it as a result.
My take presumes ultimately AR will manifest into daily uses, both at work and at play; I believe it’s coming. Whether ML is a household name twenty years from now or not, it will have played a central role in developing what AR becomes. #Truth.