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I am writing an academic essay in which I talk about a new futuristic technology that has not arrived yet but will soon become a reality. Can I say the following sentence?

XR2 Technology is upon us, promising a better experience for users with visual impairments.

Does this sentence mean that this new technology has already arrived or is arriving (on the way)? I want to convey the second meaning. Two related questions:

  1. What does this phrase "be upon us" really mean? I have already checked dictionary but the answer there is still vague to me.
  2. Any alternative suggestions to help me communicate my message more clearly?

Thank you for your time

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    If it’s upon you then it’s here. If it’s almost upon you then it’s not quite here yet. If you are set upon by lions they’re not arriving soon, they are tearing your arm off now.
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 3:23

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The phrase "《to be》upon us" means that the situation described is actually in place or is in the process of striking us. Also there is something of a suggestion of menace inherent in its use.

You can say things like "The summer holidays are almost upon us" before they actually start but you should only say "The summer holidays are upon us" if they start no later than, say, the day after tomorrow. The sense of threat involved with the summer holidays is concerned with hectic organisation and the stresses of travel, having the children at home all the time, the roads being full of cars and, in resort areas, floods of tourist descending on the area. This isn't to say that there are no pleasant aspects but using "are upon us" tends to concentrate the mind on the negatives.

If you are trying to say that the new technology is about to become available and that you are, as you seem to be doing, focusing on the improvements for people with visual impairments I would suggest that you use 'is imminent' rather than 'is upon us'. 'Imminent' means just what you say, that it has not yet arrived but is expected any time soon.

It might be better to insert "the arrival of" before "XR2 Technology" as well as it the arrival that is imminent rather than the technology itself, the technology not actually being a temporal entity. I'd suggest that you do that even if you want to use "upon us" but if you use "upon us" I suggest that you say "The arrival of XR2 Technology is almost upon us". That expresses the imminence of the arrival but does communicate its disruptive and revolutionary nature.

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