Part 3: The Language Stack

“A culture cannot evolve any faster than its language evolves, and it cannot be any more glued together than the bandwidth that its languages will tolerate.”

  • Terence McKenna

The rise of spatial computing is not confined to smart cities and AI or how machines communicate with each other. Earlier this year, Apple clarified their direction and position as a spatial computing company with the introduction of the Vision Pro.

On stage, Tim Cook said that just as the Mac introduced us to personal computers and the iPhone introduced us to mobile computers, the Vision Pro will introduce us to spatial computers.

When Apple says that spatial computing is the next big thing, it’s hard to overstate the significance of what they are trying to tell you:

A shift as momentous as that from desktop to mobile is here, and it is going to change the world.

The coming shift is not just the transition from phones to wearables but a historic change in how we interact with information and each other. The next era is not a computer in your pocket or on your face, but experiencing the internet in physical space.

The previous transition from personal computers to mobile computers profoundly impacted how we interact with computers and relate to each other. New forms of connectedness and communication emerged, but also new and alien depths of loneliness.

Almost every industry was transformed by mobile computing, and an enormous percentage of the world’s population interact with computers and the internet mainly through their handheld device.

Apple, Meta, and many others see how the transition to spatial computing and AR is promising to unlock new forms of communication, collaboration, and togetherness - it is almost certainly, and quite literally, the future of language.

Augmented reality allows you to manifest your knowledge and imagination in the minds of others, directly in their beheld reality. It’s an incredibly potent form of communication, especially when combined with the awesome powers of generative AI.

The late great Terence McKenna once said that “a culture cannot evolve any faster than its language evolves, and it cannot be any more glued together than the bandwidth that its languages will tolerate.”

The hidden implication of this inspired vision is that building out the language stack itself is one of the most transformative things that humanity can engage in, but for augmented reality to be an effective language, it has to be shared. We need to see the same digital layer rendered on top of the world - and our digital devices cannot solve that task without a shared understanding of position and physical space.

And so, the sixth protocol is at the intersection of three of the largest economic opportunities in history: AR, IoT, and AI.

It’s no wonder that tens of billions are being deployed by the world’s largest and most competent tech companies to solve the problem of digital positioning.

But there’s a dark underbelly to augmented reality, self-driving cars and drone-delivered cookies - at least the way it is built today.

Let’s talk about positioning and privacy.

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