• Basya Benshushan

The Overpromise and Under-delivery of Disruption

If we were to show today’s world to people who pondered about it 50, 100, even 200 years’s safe to say they’d be pretty disappointed. We mean; back in ’68, Mr. Kubrick

himself thought we’d all be roaming the Earth in shiny silver spandex by 2001.

It’s now 2017, and we should have been commuting to work by flying car/hoverboard by

2015 already.

The problem? The balance between expectation and delivery. Or should we say...the misbalance. We live in a world where disruption is over promised, and under-delivered. Every time a new iPhone is released, the expectations of technological innovation peak.

Global powerhouses have a habit of sugarcoating their innovations – in all the

marketing molasses they can find. Take Virtual Reality (VR). It’s gained a lot of attention over the last few years, in particular, the Oculus Rift. The creation actually celebrated its 1st birthday last year, and its growing pains are undeniable.

The hype crossed the starting-line back in 2012; moving from prototype to consumer

version through a carefully-crafted marketing campaign. Promises were made, and promises were broken. One of the main goals was to make VR mainstream. However, most people on the mainstream market just don’t have $800 to spend on a piece of entertainment. Let alone $2000 for its top-of-the-range counterpart.

Consumers are confused. Oculus creators are fighting legal battles. It’s a nightmare, and

definitely not one Palmer Luckey envision when he created Oculus to change the world.

Still, Mark Zuckerberg (Multi-Billionaire Facebook Founder) labels VR as “the next major

computing platform”. Sure, it probably will be. But it should have come a lot further on its

journey by now.

The theory is this: VR won’t just be used for gaming, filmmaking, and other forms of

entertainment. In Zuckerberg’s words: “VR is a good candidate to be the next major

computing platform.” Zuckerberg acknowledges that it will take a while to reach this point

(at least someone is realistic) yet remains optimistic that VR could evolve into our primary

source in communication one day. “In the near future”, in fact.

Again, Kubrick’s shiny spandex. What people think will happen, and what will actually

happen, are two different concepts. It’s just not that simple. The telephone as a

communication device has been evolving for more than 100 years. While our smartphones

look nothing like Antonio Meucci’s original 1849 masterpiece, it’s still a device that we talk

into to have a conversation.

What people think will happen, and what will actually happen, are two different concepts. It’s just not that simple.

Zuckerberg, among others, think that this century-long tradition will be put to bed, and the

whole world will throw on VR headsets and go to town. Well, not go to town; seeing as

nobody will go anywhere anymore. No need to see people’s faces or interact in the real

world if you’ve got a VR device encapsulating your head 24/7. Virtual reality is not, never

has been (and never will be) reality.

Look at the Bank of America. Just look at them. Their lousy, sloppy integration of digital

and analog experiences. Ergo, Erika. Sometimes, it’s best to sit back and work out all your

kinks before releasing something so sub-par, there’s just no making up for it. The bank

promises that Erika’s artificial intelligence will provide consumers with 24/7 banking

capabilities. It’s no secret that most banks’ prior bot experiences are poor. Is the Bank of

America overpromising once again?

Back to VR: It’s great, and can indeed change the future. It already has. However, we need to remain realistic as to how and when we as a species will become fully reliant on this technology. Looking beyond entertainment, VR does indeed hold incredible potential to change the face of healthcare. Just look at Telemedicine – connecting doctors and patients from opposite sides of the planet. This concept has done wonders for those in rural areas who would traditionally not have had access to medical services.

We’ve still got a long way to go, and as soon as the world accepts that, a middle-ground

can be found. No over promising. No under-delivering. Simply...accepting VR for what it is:

no sugarcoating.

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