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Marc Andreessen: audio will be titanically important and VR will be 1,000 times bigger than AR

In a new a16z podcast with the venture firms founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, theres a lot to enjoy, from Andreessens TV recommendations to Horowitzs secret to excellent barbecue. (Its pretty much just time, as you might imagine.)
More useful for our founder readers may be Andreessens predictions around tech and, because hes asked about them specifically, his predictions when it comes to wearables, including that virtual reality will be one thousand times bigger than augmented reality. Its an interesting statement given the firms bet on Magic Leap and its AR goggles.
You can find the entire podcast here. Our favorite parts are excerpted below for your weekend reading:
On audio:
The really big one right now is audio. Audio is on the rise just generally and particularly with Apple and the AirPods, which has been an absolute home run [for Apple]. Its one of the most deceptive things because its just like this little product, and how important could it be? And I think its tremendously important, because its basically a voice in your ear any time you want.
For example, there are these new YouTube type celebrities, and everybodys kind of wondering where people are finding the spare time to watch these YouTube videos and listen to these YouTube people in the tens and tens of millions. And the answer is: theyre at work. They have this bluetooth thing in their ear, and theyve got a hat, and thats 10 hours on the forklift and thats 10 hours of Joe Rogan. Thats a big deal.
Of course, speech as a [user interface] is rapidly on the rise. So I think audio is going to be titanically important.
On sensors:
The second thing Id nominate for wearables is the concept of sensors on the body. Here, the Apple Watch is clearly in the lead with what theyre doing with the heartbeat sensor. But I think well have a full complement of medical-grade sensors on our body in a way that we have chosen to [have them] over the next five or 10 years. I think well be able to predict things like heart attacks and strokes before they happen. Talk about a killer app. [Laughs.] Beep. Im going to have a heart attack in four hours. Maybe I should drive to the hospital.
The survival rate [or heart attack victims] at the hospital is, like, 99 percent. The survival rate for people at home is like 50 percent. Theres an opportunity for a massive increase in quality of life with the sensor platforms people are going to have.
On the future of AR/VR:
I think optics are coming. Its going to be a long road, but I think AR and VR are going to work, and that were going to have heads-up displays that are going to remove the need for what we have now, which is this little pane of glass that were expected to experience the whole world through.The whole world is going to open up around up.
I think AR has tons of potential applications, both at work and at home. [But] I think VR is going to be about 1,000 times bigger. In the Valley right now, this is a very contrarian view. The general theme that you hear is that AR will be bigger than VR, and obviously it should be. If you can do things overlaid over the real world, that should be inherently more interesting than having to construct a synthetic world.
I just think thats only true for people who live in a really interesting place in the real world. But only something like .1 percent and 1 percent of people on Earth live in a place where they wake up every morning and think, Wow, there are so many interesting things to see. So for everyone who doesnt already live in a college campus or in Silicon Valley or in a major other city, the new environments were going to be able to create in VR will inherently be much more interesting. And there will be a lot more of them. So its going to be amazing.
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