(spoilers on the episode)
Recently there has been much discussion about augmented reality and virtual reality on social media but also on this blog. There has been talk about how it may impact the workforce, our social lives, games and entertainment, and so much more. After having read a blog post about the Netflix series Black Mirror, I got to thinking about another Netflix series called Love, Death & Robots by Tim Miller and David Fincher. The series is a collection of short episodes of science fiction, horror, and fantasy, much like Black Mirror. Each episode is different and includes several different types of animation and plots, one episode however that got me interested in the series is the episode called Fish Nights, released in 2019, the thirteenth episode of the first volume.
This episode is less than 10 minutes long and is about a father and son who have their car break down in the middle of a desert in the United States. Unable to get anywhere they decide to stay and wait for somebody to come by, but as night falls, the older man starts talking about how this desert was once an ocean floor and how there should be ghosts of creatures. The men fall asleep in their car and when the radio suddenly turns on, they wake up and are surrounded by sea creatures, as if they were in the ocean those millions of years ago. They step out of the car and the younger man gets excited when he discovers that they can move through him, and begins undressing, saying he wants to swim with them. As he floats in the sky (or ocean, however, you want to see it), a large shark comes from behind and kills him. The episode ends with all the sea creatures disappearing and the lonesome elderly man in the cold, dark desert.
I think what got me so interested in this episode and consequently the series was the thought that could this potentially happen in the real world through technology. It got me thinking about augmented reality, because (even though it is an animation) the overlay of the sea creatures in the desert very much functions a lot like augmented reality. Augmented reality incorporates virtual aspects into the real world, much like how the sea creatures are placed in the men’s real world of the desert. The one difference though, is that the young man eventually gets sucked into this augmented/ virtual aspect of the world, something that isnt possible in the real world, and only virtually. This reminds me of virtual reality and games, as I imagine (from what I know) that you (your avatar/ character) could be underwater surrounded by sea creatures, float, and probably die, all virtually of course. But could this happen in the real world? Currently, augmented reality is relatively underdeveloped compared to what the episode suggests, and is mainly prevalent in the workforce. The introduction of the Apple Vision Pro suggests its use outside of the workforce and more in daily life and entertainment. Could it be possible in the next few years that we can “surround” ourselves with sea creatures that lived millions of years ago? Could it even be possible (in the far future) that we would be able to interact with these virtual creatures in augmented reality rather than virtual reality? Technology is evolving and who knows what devices could be created in the future… are the possibilities endless? What do you think of this episode, and the notion of augmented reality?
“Love, Death & Robots.” IMDb, IMDb.com, 15 Mar. 2019, www.imdb.com/title/tt9561862/.