It's impossible to predict the future, but it's fun to try.
Adapted from Daniel H. Wilson's short story of the same name, filmmaker Giacomo Cimini's short film "The Nostalgist" shows a futuristic world where mixed reality serves as an escape from a less-desirable physical world.
The engaging short has already performed well in festivals, earning numerous awards, but now you can watch it for free online (right above this sentence, in fact). It offers a complex view of technology in a dystopian society that will likely never mirror our own future, while asking an important question: can mixed reality shape the way the world works for us, personally, and is that a good thing?
Many people see virtual, mixed, and augmented reality as an escapist technology that separates us from the world we live in. Yet, "The Nostalgist" depicts this as a good thing. Through a pair of eyeglasses—something that seems unnecessarily cumbersome in a world filled with highly advanced artificial intelligence—he can enjoy the world as he prefers without becoming encumbered by its downsides. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Is this brand of escapism healthy?
Behind the film's desire to culminate in a battle with an android wunderkind and geek out over dystopian future technology, it asks the viewer these questions. And they're questions we all ought to think about. Some day soon, many of us will be wearing less-capable mixed reality headsets, and how we experience the world will change. That can become a source of division or a way to share our imaginations with one another. That's our choice.
You might want to decide what next reality you want before the world changes while you're still looking at the past.
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