Generally legally limited due to concerns about privacy and safety, the practice of altering perceptions of reality to include digital information, visuals, and other artificially generated sensory stimuli, Altered Reality (AR) is nonetheless a common technology among the governmental and military elite, who use it for sorting through large volumes of information quickly. In its ability to instantly recall and display old information, save new information, and personalize information, it is often considered essential to doing many of the high-information-volume tasks facing leaders within human-settled space.The Total Immersion Systems (TIS) used to control assault mechs, tanks, interceptors, and warships are modified versions of the more pedestrian civilian AR systems–which typically involve special eye augments, glasses, or contact lenses for the interface. The TIS, on the other hand, uses a helmet that induces signals straight into the brain, making it capable of both expanding the consciousness of the pilot to encompass views in all different directions and inducing in the pilot a deep focus most humans find difficult to achieve and maintain.
In most societies, AR is–because of its susceptibility to being hacked–seen as dangerous and irresponsible except for the most state of the art users; it is even stigmatized very often. The most notable exception is New Hong Kong, where the risks are readily accepted from the top to the bottom of society. This stigma does not include TIS usage, which is usually considered something different altogether, as it has all the protections that can be accommodated in a large piece of military hardware. The limits of size make light mechs and mech-infantry more vulnerable to hacking than their totally-immersive counterparts, which contributes to those military roles being considered less safe and desirable; this is to some extent mitigated by the honor and praise lavished on the mech-infantry and light mech units of the Knights by the twin orders’ leadership.
Some civilians consider this double-standard unfair and wish for greater acceptance of non-military AR, but the stigma from the years of first the UN’s dominion over Sol, and then the World Councils remains. During those years the world governments very nearly mandated the use of AR, but maintained massive digital secret police bureaus to monitor altered reality usage and punish those who did not fit the ideological-purity line of the state.