Watch the eerily-possible dystopian future of advertising

23 May 2016

We’ve been told by the likes of Google and Microsoft that a future in which we inhabit an augmented reality (AR) world is only beneficial, but what if it all goes horribly, horribly wrong for all of us?

With many people these days installing ad-blocking software on their browsers by default, those responsible for putting out that advertising are finding whole new avenues in which to push their products.

You just have to take a quick look on Facebook to see that the whole thing is pretty much one giant advertisement, which you should expect since you’re not paying anything for it; or how about those adverts that come up on whatever online TV player you use?

While even these mild inconveniences and annoyances might seem excessive and to be only getting worse, how do you think the world would be if we all wore AR glasses every day?

We’ve already seen demos of a day in which you could be walking down a street minding your own business when a wild animated Pokémon comes out of nowhere and asks you to play with it.

AR has already been trialled for a few years now by major brands just waiting for the moment the Microsoft HoloLens, or other AR glasses, hit the market and a whole new avenue of advertising bombardment can begin.

It’s almost too real

This was the thinking behind a short film released recently called Hyper-Reality, directed by artist Keiichi Matsuda, that shows a dystopian near-future in which our entire lives are lived in the AR world.

As you’ll see from the compelling short, capitalism has run amok with the main character, Juliana, working as a grocery collector for an Instacart-like service where every action has been gamified.

This concept isn’t too dissimilar to the truly questionable decision by the Chinese government to begin scoring a citizen’s ‘social credit’ rating based on how they behave in their everyday lives, with their standing lowered if they do not comply or act as good citizens’, whatever that might mean.

This video is scary.

It’s scary because so much of it is very possible.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic