Day 271: Pocket monsters

Pokemon Go is all the rage. It seems everyone is talking about it as the next social phenomenon. And it well may be, but as I look at articles about Pokemon Go, the accompanying photos all show tons of people together, but all alone, looking at their phones. Almost hypnotized. Brave New World-ish.

Yes, it gives people something to talk about with random strangers, or preteen nieces and nephews, and it has health benefits to get people out walking, but if you’re talking about pocket monsters and games, how much art of conversation is there in that?

It’s called Augmented Reality (digital world fused with physical world) so the map of the Pokemon Go is laid on top of your phone’s map and you play based on where you are. Marketers are already brainstorming how they can gain upside from Augmented Reality. Today’s specials? Discounts only for those who find the Pokemon in the store? Not sure how enticing that is.

Some of the downsides of Augmented Reality like Pokemon Go that have been discussed include that criminals could sway you into a place to take advantage of you; that crowds of people may gather at your home to find something there (and these days, crowds of people don’t always add up to anything good); and since you sign in with your gmail account, if you don’t have your security settings down tight, people can easily hack into your mail.

I don’t think that fears should hold us back from this type of thing, but we should be aware of the robotic nature that can happen when we get sucked in by something so “fun” but that may make us even more distracted and even more numb to real connections around us. Just food for thought as you’re throwing your poke balls at Pikachu.

DAY 271 HOMEWORK: Have some conversations with others about the pros and cons of Pokemon Go. At least it’s good to know what it is, and you can be aware of what people are doing when they congregate at your house to throw poke balls in your yard.

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