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I never get used to the feeling of surprise that strikes me when I hear people referring to 3D video as a "fad," in the sense that it will sooner or later be a thing of the past, collecting dust in a crowded bin alongside Pet Rocks and Disco, at a time when we will look at eachother and shake our heads as if to say, "What were we thinking when we grew those Afros together?" It is not. To believe that 3D technology is in a similar vein as these "fads" requires, I am sorry to say, a startling lack of foresight.

There was a breakthrough in visual technology a few years ago that was initially met by many with a similar skepticism, but in that particular case, the skeptics who believed it was a gimmick that would soon fade were incorrect. They were called "Talkies." "How could you be so easily led," they might say, "by this gimmick of adding 'audio' to a film, when written words work just as well?" Reading for pleasure has not yet gone out of fashion (you are doing it right now), so there must be a reason for the success of the Talkie apart from the elimination of text.

Is this comparison unfair? Perhaps it would be fruitful to consider in what important ways 3D technology is similar to Talkies, whether there are other technologies that share these impotant factors, and make an attempt to identify exactly what it is that warrants the discrepancy in opinion that some of these technologies will fail while the others will not.

The single thread of commonality that stands out to me whenever I consider the advances in television and film that really stuck is that, invariably, these advances represented shifts in technology that resulted in film more closely mimicking actual life. Talkies, color television, high definition, 3D.

Reflecting on the advent of color television, I get the impression that it was "bound" to happen - and bound to persist - that if the inventor of color television had died young, someone else would have invented it later. Our world is not black and white. Color television was "bound" to happen. Our world is not pixelated. Higher definition was "bound" to happen - and bound to persist.. Our world is not two-dimensional. Thus, 3D is "bound" to happen - and bound to persist.

If the case is as clear as I insist, and the answer so plainly accessible, then why is there still a debate, when with color and high definition, there is not? In the case of color television, the test of time may be enough, but 1080p is still fairly new. Doomed inventions have lasted longer.

So, in what way are 3D and HD technologies so different that an argument still must be made on behalf of the future of 3D, though the future of HD requires none? In theory, I do not believe there is one. It is only in practice that such a crucial difference exists: virtually everyone enjoys the experience of HD, but many do not enjoy the experience of 3D. That is the key difference between the two, but notice that the extrapolation of the demise of 3D technology from this observation would be misled. Popular opinion can only gives us glues about the survival of extant technology. Thus, the conclusion that should actually be drawn is that HD, in its current state, will endure, while 3D, in its current state, will not. If we wish to make intelligent predictions about the future, principles must inform our predictions. The principle of approaching realism tells us that 3D, in more advanced, more universally tolerable forms, will be a permanent part of our future. Please take care to avoid the temptation to conclude that this line of reasoning defends the future of haptic, gustatory, or even olfactory augmentations to film. All of the aforementioned advances in technology are improvements of the visual sense, except for the addition of audio, which can be reasonably assumed to endure, as was said about color television, by having already withstood the test of time.