Review: The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Change Everything

The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Change Everything
The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Change Everything by Robert Scoble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In brief, this book aims to educate business decision-makers regarding the likely disruptive change coming in the wake of VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality).

If you’re a deep computer geek (like me), this book isn’t likely to tell you anything you don’t already know, but that’s not its point. This one is geared to non-tech-heads who already have thriving businesses to warn them that change is coming. It is, I think, successful in making this clear.

Through the book, the author describes the technologies and their recent advances and differentiates VR, AR and MR. He discusses several of the major players in the industry. Then he goes over several of the current examples of how these technologies are already being used in a few select instances.

The book was clearly written in mid-2016 and given the rapid evolution of this field in the industry, I suspect it will be out of date by 2018. However, it is probably something almost every big-business CEO better read. Scoble does a good job of paralleling the potential disruption from the coming wave of VR/AR/MR technologies to that of the rise of the internet and how big an impact it has had on many industries.

He gives good examples of where the state of the current art is limited, but is prescient enough to know that things are going to change and change very quickly over the next couple of years. For this reason, business leaders at least need to be aware of the technology. From one standpoint, being aware of this could lead some businesses to leverage the technology into new products or capabilities in existing products or customer interactions. From another standpoint, it could be used to at least avoid forced obsolescence (look at the effect of the internet on retail in general and bookstores in particular, for instance).

Overall, it was a very quick read and I found it quite interesting.

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