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What Pokémon GO Just Did for Transhumanism

Original Article: What Pokémon GO Just Did for Transhumanism

Water Bear Declare: Gotta catch em all! Gotta catch em all!Water Bear

Pokémon GO – An Augmented Reality Sensation

If you haven’t heard you must not watch the news. Pokémon GO, an augmented reality phone app is sweeping the nation, no, the entire world! Suddenly people everywhere are outdoors scouring the planet to capture rare Pokémon, cartoon dinosaurs that battle one another.

Pokémon is a Nintendo franchise that took over the world back in the 90’s. Today it’s making a comeback on Android and iPhone devices in the form of a free downloadable game. Recent reports say Pokémon GO is so popular it’s about to overthrow Twitter in terms of daily active users. Now that’s impressive!

Anyway, I was thinking about this Pokémon sensation and about some of the effects of gamification and that’s when I realized Pokémon GO just did something really awesome for Transhumanism and the life-extension movement. We’ll get to that in just a sec. First let’s check out how the game works.

Pokémon GO Connects Fantasy with Reality

So here’s how it works. Pokémon GO taps the power of your phone’s clock and GPS to figure out your location and time in the game. From there it makes Pokémon characters appear around you. It’s your job to catch them. So you go searching for Pokémon and depending on where you are and what time it is, more Pokémon appear for you to catch.

The core concept is meant to get people outside and back into the real world instead of laying around on the couch all day. It gets people moving, it gets them searching, it gives them feelings of adventure and reminds them what it means to be alive. It reminds them that there’s fun in the world and it does all of this through augmented reality.

Augmented Reality is what you get when technology combines with normal reality to enhance it in some way. It’s not the same as virtual reality. Virtual reality takes you into a completely new world. Augmented reality uses the reality you’re already familiar with and builds on it.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXZ7guchLCQ]

But that doesn’t explain why people love the game so much. There’s a lot of reasons to love Pokémon GO, but probably the most obvious reason is simply that it has a long history dating back to the 90s. Since Pokémon first appeared in Japan the world has always wanted to catch the little monsters and play on their own.

Until now, catching Pokémon was left to video and card games. Nothing enhanced the experience quite like Pokémon GO. Plus it connects a whole new generation with the original fantasy and makes it fun to be a kid again. All of these equal a recipe for success and so far it works.

How Do You Play Pokémon GO?

If you wanna give it a go, all you gotta do is have an Android or iPhone and follow the instructions below:

Step 1 – Get the game: To get a copy of the game you’ll need to download it from the Google Play Store for Android devices or the Apple App Store for iPhone. Click install, then click open to launch.

Step 2 – Log on: When you first open the game (I’m on Android) it asks for permissions to several parts of your phone. I gave permission for everything just to see how it all works. I think you have to do this if you want to play.

Now a little window pops up and reminds you to stay alert at all times. You’ll have to enter your birthday and listen to the iconic Pokémon intro theme. Uncheck the “Send Pokémon GO-related offers” unless you want them, then accept the terms of service.

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Step 3 – Meet Professor Willow: The next screen introduces Professor Willow who gives you the 411 on the Pokémon world. Click the words on the screen to get through Willow’s instructions.

Step 4 – Choose Your Character: In this step you pick a boy or girl character. Then you choose their features such as hair and eye color and also their clothes.

Step 5 – Your First Capture: Now you go straight into your first Pokémon capture. Your phone’s camera flips on and you see a Pokémon before you. Click the ball at the bottom of the screen and give it a flick toward the Pokémon. When you hit it, you’ll capture it.

Step 6 – Catch Em’ All: When you finish the tutorial you get to pick your username before heading out into the wonderful world of Pokémon GO. With everything else out of the way the only thing left to do is go forth and find Pokémon. Your GPS helps you locate Pokémon in areas around you, though it didn’t work so well from inside my house.

Once you get the hang of it, then you can find all sorts of Pokémon. You can capture them, level them up, and even battle others. If you want to go deep into this fun new world, try this site which has a pretty in depth breakdown of all the various pieces.

Why Should I Want to Play?

If there’s one thing a lot of Transhumanists (myself included) have trouble with, it’s connecting and relating with other people. Pokémon GO transcends that problem by giving you a way to share a bond with ordinary humans.

Maybe you don’t care about Taylor Swift’s new boyfriend and maybe humans don’t care about the Russian head transplant that’s about to take place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have something in common.

Even if you only learn the basics, Pokémon GO gives you a new tool to help you achieve your goal of bringing Transhumanism to life. By sharing in the fun and promoting augmented reality the movement moves forward one step at a time.

So What Did Pokémon GO Actually Do for Transhumanism?

At first when I heard about this silly little game I couldn’t figure out why people were obsessed. The whole thing seemed completely ignorant. I mean, why would I care about Pokémon when I have Dragonball Super? Now that’s a grown up cartoon! Maybe not, but still…

As stupid as this game may seem, it’s changing the world in a big way. Because the game is so incredibly popular I think it’s safe to say we’ll start to see a lot more mobile developers follow suit. That means we’re about to get a lot more augmented reality games.

But it’s not just important that we’ll get more games. It’s important that the world just proved itself ready to embrace change.

Through Pokémon GO we start to realize that people want technology that transcends what we’ve always had. So even when they say life is boring and they have nothing to live for, they prove to marketers and businesses everywhere that the opposite is true.

What I’m getting at is that Pokémon GO just gave the whole world the green light to dive in with immersive new technologies. People want it. They demand it. Now that they’ve had a taste, they want more.

There’s no doubt that they’ll play for a while and search for other games. They might also search for other augmented reality material too. Some of these searches might even lead them to r/transhuman.

Plus the media is having a hayday with Pokémon GO and they’re promoting the hell out of it. So not only did it already go viral, but now the game even reaches people who wouldn’t normally find it at all. So pretty much everyone on the planet knows about Pokémon GO and they all approve.

Though games like this might seem silly to those focused on life, they actually don’t harm the world as much as some would have you believe. Actually they might give humanity the push it needs to reach the next level. Here are some quick bullet points about what Pokémon Go did / is doing for Transhumanism:

• Promotes augmented reality

• Immerses humans in technology

• Creates a sense of adventure & wonder

• Connects people with their childhood

• Bridges a gap between generations

• Makes people crave more technology

• Makes people want to take the experience deeper

• Proves the world can still be fun & not boring

• Proves the world is ready for change & newness

• Will bring a tidal wave of new A/R games

• Encourages businesses to invest in A/R and other tech

• Gets people moving & out of the house

• Reframes current views about reality

• Brings long-awaited fantasies to life

• Causes people to ask questions like, “what’s next?” and “what will the future bring?”

One simple game built for profit. Nintendo may or may not be motivated to move people toward future technologies, but they’re certainly motivated by money. That’s true of most businesses and it’s not a bad thing, at least not when it helps the world adapt to a new age of transformation.

Are There Any Downsides?

Some reports suggest Pokémon GO was used with criminal intent by the dredges of society. Apparently there were instances of viruses being uploaded through the game or perhaps some kind of downloadable knock off. There were also reports that criminals used the game to lure unsuspecting victims to places they could easily be mugged.

Nintendo may or may not address these issues, so I thought I’d point them out. In general you’ll do well to use common sense if you play the game. Always pay attention to your surroundings and don’t go places you shouldn’t be. This is 101 level stuff.

As for the viruses, I don’t have a solution for that and I don’t know how the issue will be addressed. But viruses are pretty common of our world anyway, so I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which precautions to take. Hopefully Nintendo will address those issues to keep people safe.

The number of people using the game with criminal intent probably isn’t that large. Mass media likes to blow things out of proportion. Most people are probably safe, and as long as you do what you can to mitigate trouble, you’ll likely have a good time.

If you’re worried about it, don’t play. Then again, if you’re worried about viruses, you’ll probably have a hard time sleeping from here into the future because tech is here to stay.

The Pokémon GO Conclusion

Pokémon GO and the Pokémon franchise aren’t going anywhere. Nintendo has consistently released new Pokémon games since the 90’s and there’s no reason they won’t continue to do so. For Transhumanists that’s a good thing because it means the games will continue to improve.

More people will pick up the game every day. New games will arrive. The world will taste augmented reality and a very early Transhumanist perspective. Make no mistake, this game is a turning point for many people and might be the one thing that gives them hope for the future.

As a Transhumanist, hope is all I can do. Hope people change their minds. Hope people want to defeat death. Hope people choose to survive. Right now I think Nintendo is creating that hope. Nintendo is making the world fun again. That’s what Pokémon GO just did for Transhumanism.

I don’t know what the future holds, but hopefully in 10 years Transhumanism will be widely accepted and I’ll look back and thank Nintendo for giving the world another reason to live.

Until next time.

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