In Hoc Signo Vinces, “In this sign, conquer” reads the translation into Latin in historian Lucius Lactantius’ account of Emperor Constantine’s vision of the Chi Ro (Chrismon); our dear Emperor was not a Christian per se though this event of the invisible did leave an indelible mark on his soul – you may not believe this – which single-handedly changed the history of a continent, and the world as well. This sign inspired him to win a great battle.
For those of us who work – and feel passionate about – the field of the intangible, that is, the internet of everything, we need signs to understand and meet such feats. Here is a way of hinting at them: University of Toronto Professor Derrick de Kerckhove, the philosopher and champion of emerging media, offers three distinctive signs on his milestone book Connected Intelligence: The Arrival of the Web Society; they are known as Interactivity, Hypertextuality and Connectedness.
Thus, in this day and age, what would be the signs through which we shall conquer? And, actually, what is to be conquered and which battle? Now, that’s a question to take to bed every night. Let’s be pragmatic!
We should think of Interactivity as the “body” or physical linking of people; Hypertextuality, the linking of contents or knowledge-based such as the human memory; finally, Connectedness – a term New Agers are so fond of – as the “mental” linking. Interactivity is touch; Hypertextuality is zapped all-encompassing content; Connectedness, the medium (aha, now you recall McLuhan!).
Is it inevitable we portend AR and VR as results of these “signs”? The answer is yes. It’s inevitable. How do I know that? Well, have you ever tried Google Glass? Or a snazzy pair of Epson Moverio glasses? And what about other wearables? They all seem to be “smart”.
If we venture further, we find that even a blind person is able to interact with his/her environment with Droiders’ first-ever ReadAloud OCR (Optical Character Recognition) app on a pair of Google Glass.
As humans, we are accomplishing the extension of our senses into the unseen (just like any mystic used to) just as Constantine once did. We have become more complex. Hail complexity!