Entries in augmented reality (16)
It doesn't do any good to debate when Google’s Project Glass will become ubiquitous, or how many billions of dollars the Augmented Reality industry will make by 2015. You’re missing the point.
Augmented Reality (AR) is not just a technology. It’s a shortcut. Whether we can interact with data through a pair of glasses or contact lenses, the very nature of such technological immediacy will very quickly change human behavior.
First shortcut? We’ll get our hands back. Imagine your coffee and bagel, no spills — because you’re checking email on AR-enabled glasses.
It’s the second shortcut that will be much more profound. Personalization algorithms already guiding your life will turn visual. And facial recognition technology combined with this articulated AR means your rose-colored glasses aren’t just a metaphor — you’ll only encounter the world you want, the people you want.
There’s a culture clash coming, only we're talking too much tech, not enough tact.
“There are consequences to the technology we’re using that we cannot predict,” says Vint Cerf, VP and chief Internet evangelist at Google, most widely known for being one of the inventors of the Internet. “We’re moving into a time we’ve never quite been in before. The information explosion has been with us for a long time. But the ability to process it has been less available to us.”
Machines process faster than humans. While we may have a richer sense of context than our cyber counterparts, we don’t have the same ability to interpret and communicate information on the scale and speed that currently exists for machines today.
As an example, Cerf notes how the wine industry has begun using sensors to monitor plants in real time to learn what nutrients are needed to maximize productivity for the overall vineyard. This maximizes yield and optimizes the quality of the fruit.
Along these lines, Cerf also notes Glooko, a company that manufactures a connector between an insulin monitoring delivery system and a mobile phone. The mobile gets data from the pump and reports a moment-by-moment record of a person’s metabolic condition. "You could not do this in the past, before devices had such portability," notes Cerf. "There is an enormous power when linking these mobile devices to the Internet.”
Along with faster computing power and device portability, it’s important to consider how these examples will manifest in an Augmented Reality world. The initial answer is obvious: It won’t make a difference to the majority of us. Wine owners will utilize portable AR while tending their vines to keep their hands free, and people with diabetes will use a visual prompt to avoid high-glucose items.
But how about the effect on the restaurant owner serving wine to the diabetic? In the future, they’ll likely see a visual marker above diners' heads, alerting them to food allergies. When offering a diabetic a wine list, they'll know not to offer a menu with high-glucose selections, as a point of culinary etiquette.
Our immediate future will focus more on these new cultural paradigms than technical concerns.
Screenshot courtesy of Girls Around Me
“The data that is being pulled by these technologies and in particular with AR is already public,” notes Polonetsky, director and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. “Like the recent controversy over the Girls Around Me app, people get upset when information they may have shared via Facebook or Foursquare gets revealed in a different, but still public, context.”
Polonetsky notes that the stress we’re starting to see in such examples comes when data is portrayed in ways we weren’t expecting. The app Girls Around Mereveals women’s physical locations after inferring they're looking for dates — whether or not they actually are.
Many of these data-oriented stressors already manifest in our analog world right now.
Many of these data-oriented stressors already manifest in our analog world right now. For instance,mortgage data is publically available online. Who’s to stop me from cornering a neighbor at a block party and saying, “I cannot believe how much you paid for your house.”
The fact that humans can't avoid some level of insensitivity is a given. The bigger quandary is what happens when data is revealed in a visual context to people wearing AR technologies, especially when privacy preferences may fail. In the mortgage situation, what's to stop me from insensitively avoiding that neighbor because I’ve prejudged his financial status?
Similar situations will soon overtake driving. Ford’s MyKey technology, available since January 2011, lets parents program cars for teens, so they can’t go over 80 mph and can't listen to the stereo until all seat belts are engaged.
While the features were originally designed for teen safety, the technical framework could certainly be utilized in a different context. Polonetsky anticipates one could use the technology to vet whether or not a parent is worthy of driving children in a car pool. The issue, as with teens, is still about safety. If via my "You Drive Like a Squirrel" AR app, I see you score a two out of ten on safety, my kid doesn’t get in your car.
“We need to figure out what moral or social boundaries we want to draw,” notes Polonetsky. “We don’t know what the next adjustment or ethical framework looks like.”
A Direction for the Data
“Our job is to figure out compelling ways to engage people and improve their well-being through web and mobile apps.” says Chris Cartter, founder and general manager of MeYou Health (a subsidiary of Healthways), a company dedicated to helping people pursue, achieve and maintain a more healthy life by improving their well-being every day.
Most users sign in to the company's well-being product, Daily Challenge, using their Facebook IDs, which lets Cartter and his team quantify how users can support one another more effectively while trying to change behavior.
“We want to learn how to improve the well-being of the entire connected network, a community where people will share deeply personal health related information if there is genuine context and trust," says Cartter.
This environment could easily be possible in an AR-enabled world. People walking down the street could virtually reveal their health status, how it’s trending up and down. “And while there may eventually be facial recognition (via AR) for a billion people on the planet, I may only want to reveal my well-being score to a small selection of my Facebook friends,” he adds.
How can we fully protect the original intention of any of our data?
How can we fully protect the original intention of any of our data? What will likely evolve is a visual taxonomy where people can set how they’re seen or perceived, via AR applications that work in conjunction with platforms like Google Glass.
An example of this is CacheTown, an AR technology initially being used to help retailers project offers for products or services in the virtual arena. But CEO and founder Andrew Couch is aware of the larger concerns of privacy; the company is currently building what is essentially a Visual Virus Protection system where users can determine how they’re projected in an augmented world.
“Our assumption is that privacy will be the No. 1 area people may abuse within the Augmented Reality space," says Couch. "When people are able to enhance the perception of the world around them, they also need to be provided with a responsible mindset for these new interactions.”
Couch is also working on a guide to ethics surrounding Augmented Reality that addresses these privacy concerns.
“We tend to think about the future as something we don’t have control over. We need to create a future that we want to be a part of,” says Ramona Pringle, a faculty member at Ryerson University in Toronto, as well as host and producer of Rdigitalife, an online series that explores the relationships between humans and technology. She predicts that man and machine will inevitably merge on various levels, but insists that we need to discuss the ethics and culture of these advances over and above the technology itself.
While the idea of implanting technology in our bodies or wearing an AR-enabled contact lens tends to make most people uncomfortable, Pringle points out that we’re used to the idea of a nose job, a form of trading in our uniquely human attributes for “brand features” that reflect a specific perception of beauty. Again, these questions are not about technology, but of culture and context.
Within Rdigitalife, Pringle also researches artificial intelligence, specifically whether people could fall in love with inanimate objects, or robots. While this may seem far-fetched, ask yourself how much time you stare at your mobile screen, compared to the faces of your loved ones. And as a parent, have you found yourself telling your kids to turn off the TV while you’re sending a text or email? How will that behavior change when the virtual world permeates your vision and surroundings? Will there be a time when you program your preferences to avoid seeing loved ones altogether, if you’re busy or preoccupied?
It’s this cultural paradigm Pringle most wants to address. “It’s the responsibility of every citizen to be a part of this conversation involving technology," she says. "You can’t wake up in 20 years and say, ‘I didn’t think this would happen.’”
The Vocabulary of Vision
“I’m not trying to sell technology just so people will use it. I want people to spend less time tasking so they can create more value with their lives,” saysChristopher Rezendes, founder and president of INEX Advisors, which helps institutions understand how they can benefit from the deployment of Internet of Things, or M2M (machine-to-machine) solutions.
For someone so immersed in what many would call futuristic technologies, Rezendes actually points out networked technology has existed for years. His focus is on making intelligent and meaningful connections for people utilizing technology, versus moving forward with emerging media simply because they exist. He says, “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. We need to be intentional.”
He also points out that as the world becomes more interconnected, by definition, we’ll need to be more connected as communities. This isn’t an altruistic or socialist view of the future – it’s about business and functional operability.
Citing the idea of self-driving cars, Rezendes points out, “How can anyone release products that will hurt partners, if you’re a single entity in a tightly connected commercial chain? We won’t be able to operate independently of our upstream or downstream experience partners.”
Now consider this physical supply chain in the context of seeing one another’s well-being, needs or talents displayed via visualizations, viewable through lenses outfitted with AR. How will we perceive each other in the near future, beyond our physical appearances? How will our positive and negative traits combine to form a visualization that instantly defines who we are?
One thing that will change, according to Rezendes: our vocabulary. “I think in 10 years we’ll be actively working to redefine the citizen to stop calling them consumers. The term is outmoded and refers to a time when people’s primary value came from gathering goods or wealth."
Rezendes has a vision for the future citizen of the connected world, where our focus can widen to better provide value in a more holistic sense of a human supply chain: “We’re going to call people creators.”
Talk or Tunnel
Some say we’re losing serendipity, that the filters and personalization algorithms narrow our choices so we stop experiencing decisions we’ve dismissed in the past. But with AR, this form of tunnel vision will become literal.
I hope you agree, and I look forward to seeing you in the future. But evidently, that's up to you.
Google's hotly anticipated new glasses- which will wearers to summon up maps and other useful data on a screen in the lens- will create sound by sending vibrations directly through the wearer's skull, it has been revealed.
The features are included in documents filed with American regulators, and show how the futuristic specs will use "bone conduction", which sends vibrations to the inner ear through the skull instead of speakers.
Though not a new kind of technology- Panasonic exhibited prototype bone conduction headphones at this year's Consumer Electronics Show- the process is yet to be widely adopted.
One of its advantage is that it allows listeners to hear the noise in the environment too.
The Federal Communication Commission this week approved the web giant's patent for Google Glass, including "integral vibrating element that provides audio to the user via contact with the user's head".
Google co-founder, Sergey Brin, is leading the development, and last month he was pictured testing Google Glass on the New York subway.
The glasses also boast Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a small screen that appears in the wearer's normal field of vision. A tiny, voice-operated computer inside Google Glass runs the Android mobile operating system.
It is planned that wearers will be able to summon up maps and other useful data from the web straight on to their lenses.
The first complete Google Glass hardware will be sent to developers who have paid $1,500 to help refine the technology.
Google has said it hopes to introduce Google Glass commercially in 2014.
According to a post on Reddit (I know, I know – but stay with me on this), an Ingress player in Ohio was detained by police for his in-game actions. Specifically, he was "hacking a portal" near a police station. His phone had technical difficulties, which led him to linger by the portal/police station for a bit, catching the eye of local law enforcement and leading to the detention.
After the original post, other Ingress players responded with similar stories. One aroused suspicions by wandering around an empty parking lot at night. Another, trying to hack a portal next to an air traffic control station, had to run from the local sheriff. A third was called in for questioning after hacking a portal outside of a "high-traffic drug area."
It's In The Game
As Dan Rowinski mentioned in his earlier post, there's plenty of "creep" factor built into the game. In fact, much like geocaching (Ingress' non-digital ancestor), lurking in strange and hard-to-get-to places at odd hours is kind of the point.
Getting detained (as many Redditors pointed out, the poster wasn't technically arrested) probably adds to the intrigue, and certainly gives a player a certain amount of street cred. It could also call into question the boundary between the First Amendment and public safety.
Legal, But Risky
All of Ingress' portals are on public land. There's no law against walking past a police station, post office or airport. There are, however, very legitimate safety concerns held by the people charged with protecting those facilities and keeping an eye out for potential risks.
As one law enforcement professional joked, "I hope they don't put one of those in front of the White House." In fact, there are apparently abunch of portals in front of the White House, embassies and other sites that could be high-interest targets for vandalism or worse.
At least Ingress doesn't require players to dig up or bury physical objects, a phenomenon that has caused some high-profile problemsin the geocaching community. Still, as similar games take off (and they will), we're going to see more friction between gamers and law enforcement, particularly in full AR environments that use cameras. In addition to trespassing and loitering violations, there's greatly increased potential for distraction, perhaps leading gamers to injure themselves or others. It's all the danger of texting - plus headphones - with the added possibility of being labeled a terrorist by overzealous cops.
By all accounts, Niantic labs has been responsible about these issues. The game doesn't encourage trespassing or dangerous behavior, like using your phone in a car. Other developers may not feel the same sense of duty, or their goals may encourage "creative" players to take unnecessary risks.
If enough negligence, trespassing, and public nuisance suits (and maybe some claims of police harassment) hit the courts, we'll eventually wind up with legislation governing the balance between gameplay and public safety. We might see an increase of no-device buffer zones around sensitive areas, or certain games limiting accounts to only users of age to accept legal responsibility for their actions. There could even be outright bans on AR games in certain areas.
Until then, it's up to game developers to police themselves and players to stay smart. One dumb move could lead to a ton of regulation that could really spoil everyone's fun.
Immersed in the Digital World By Brian Wassom
Augmented Reality technology is all about customizing the world around us. Through video-enabled smartphone and tablet apps, and soon directly through eyewear, it overlays digital data over our perception of the physical world. The virtual world gets layered directly on top of the real one.
A key buzzword within the AR industry is “immersive.” Immersiveness is a measure of how seamless the integration is between virtual and physical data. The more immersive a user’s experience (or “UX”) is, the less the user consciously perceives the augmented content as being separate from, or inferior in quality or value to, what he sees with his naked eye.
For designers of almost any AR app, the more immersive an app is, the better. In a fully immersive environment, a user perceives the virtual data as being equivalent to, and indistinguishable from, his physical surroundings–in other words, just another part of the landscape. The concept video “Domestic Robocop” gives one vision of what this reality might look like:
Just Around the Corner
Of course, no AR company is currently in a position to achieve complete immersion. Hardware limitations make that impossible. As engrossing and useful as the display on a monitor, smartphone, or tablet screen is, it only augments one small rectangle in your field of view, and only as long as you hold the device up in front of you. Looking away from the screen doesn’t take much effort. Even the best AR app is no more immersive than a really good movie would be.
But what about in the not-too-distant future, when AR-capable eyewear is commonplace, and AR content is plentiful? At that point, it will be possible for a user to become totally “immersed” in a digitally enhanced view of the world. Personally, I’d love to have that option. That’s when AR as a medium will finally realize its potential. Walking directions that I can actually walk on, virtual FAQ buttons on physical buildings, and floating boxes reminding me of people’s names are experiences that I can’t wait to have.
Our Addiction-Prone Society
If recent experience with consumer technologies has taught as anything as a society, however, it’s that the more engrossing a technology is, the more likely it is that a certain segment of the population is going to develop an unhealthy fixation with it. Whether you call it “addiction” (a diagnostic term that gets thrown around far too often, but sure makes for catchy headlines) or simply a bad habit, the fact is that people love to immerse themselves in fantasy worlds to escape the doldrums and difficulties of real life. And fully immersive AR will be orders of magnitude more engaging and attractive than even the best of today’s digital content.
We see this type of behavior everywhere today. Gamers will sit in front of their consoles playing massively multiplayer online games for hours and days on end, to the point that just last week someone died from a blot clot after sitting too long playing Halo 3 on Xbox. I’ve personally seen people dedicate the majority of their non-working hours to online role-playing games like Everquest and World of Warcraft, a phenomenon that has ruined plenty of lives. And there were portions of my college years where the same fate could have befallen me while playing the computer strategy game Civilization–although the internet connectivity of newer games adds a social element that draws players in even further. Not that any of these games are bad in and of themselves. Rather, they’re so good–so immersive–that players with poor self-discipline can easily get sucked into playing them longer than they should.
Of course, the same technology that makes these games possible also makes it orders of magnitude easier to access other habit-forming content, such as porn and gambling.
The AR medium will make all of these experiences more immersive and compelling. For example, a recent article contained an ad for “the Peregrine,” a wearable glove that replaces the video game controller and proclaims itself to be an “interface like no other.” Accessories like that, and the explosive growth of proto-AR gaming systems like the Wii, Kinect, and Nintendo 3DS, demonstrate that AR is the future of digital gaming. And that is because of the unprecedented degree to which these systems allow players to physically immerse themselves in the game world. Likewise, AR (and Kinect) porn and gambling applications are already on their way.
Augmentation or Self-Aggrandizement?
What got me thinking on this topic was an offhand comment by Brendan Scully of Metaio during his presentation at the ARE2011 Conference. Toward the end of a very thoughtful panel discussion on the challenges of designing AR user experiences, Brendan said, “I certainly wouldn’t trust myself to design my own UX.”
This reminded me of some of the cautionary tales that pop culture has already given us about the drawbacks of having complete control over our surroundings. Star Trek: The Next Generation did this frequently (sometimes to a fault) via the “Holodeck,” a holographic room capable of replicating any environment and character imaginable.
In the episode “Hollow Pursuits” (and later episodes), the socially inept character Reginald Barclay literally becomes addicted to living in the artificial worlds he creates there–complete with racier versions of his real-life female acquaintances and diminutive parodies of the men that intimidate him.
Then there’s the classic virtual reality tale “Lawnmower Man,” in which the title character conquers an artificial world and declares, “I am God here!”
The special effects in these shows may be dated, but their message is timeless: the more control we gain over their personal environments and surroundings, the more those surroundings will tend to reflect our own narcissism.
It seems inevitable that at least some AR users will demonstrate the same tendencies, to varying degrees. For most people, AR will probably be a lot like text messaging or Facebook are today–a technological convenience that many people may actually spend too much time with and joke about being “addicted” to, but that leads to few actual cases of bona fide dependence.
But even if it doesn’t amount to “addiction,” the potential for unhealthy behavior through AR will always be present to some degree. Even today, for example, a jilted lover could use an AR app to display an ex-boyfriend’s or ex-girlfriend’s face at the physical location of every past date–reinforcing a vicious cycle of negative emotions. Pornographic content–already ubiquitous and responsible for an array of unhealthy behavior–can be displayed anywhere in ways that standard, two-dimensional monitors won’t be able to match.
As AR hardware and capabilities mature beyond today’s comparatively simplistic communication technologies into a more immersive environment, the potential for abuse will grow accordingly. To those who become accustomed to living in a “Domestic Robocop”-type world, non-augmented reality may start to seem unbearably mundane by comparison. At that point, we could very well see a number of real-world “Reginald Barclays.”
Will government or industry step in to regulate AR content and head off some of these consequences? Perhaps. Although governments have more or less lost the ability to regulate violent content, age restrictions on prurient material remain enforceable, and would certainly be applied in this new medium. Crackdowns on illegal gambling programs may well follow. And just as we see counselors specializing in addictions to such content today, we’re likely to see similar services available for those who lose themselves in their own augmented worlds.
Reasons for Optimism
Just because AR will be immersive doesn’t automatically make it addictive or dangerous. No matter how convincing its digital content is, AR is, by definition, the intersection between that data and the real, physical world. The most exciting possibilities for immersing oneself in AR are also the same features that would take users outdoors. Therefore, augmented content may never have the same tendency to isolate users into online communities and separate them from physical interaction the way that console-based gaming systems with monitor-dependent displays do today. Proto-AR systems like the Wii and Kinect are already heralded as getting gamers off the couch; AR could be the killer app for getting them outside and into the world around them.
Counselors, meanwhile, need not wait for AR-addled patients to start taking the technology seriously. Today’s innovators are already devising ways that AR can be used to counsel patients. Helen Papagiannis, for example, has designed the world’s first AR Pop-Up book for the iPad 2. It’s designed to let users interact with virtual representations of their phobias–spiders, for example–in a visually convincing, but perfectly safe, way.
In sum, then, AR as a technology will be interesting and powerful medium, with the ability to do both good and harm to individual psyches and society as a whole. It will offer ability to psychologically immerse users in artificial content to a degree unmatched by other technologies. But that ability itself is ethically neutral. How it impacts us–and how much it becomes incumbent on others to regulate our use of it–will depend on what we choose to do with it.
Regardless of your moral outlook, porn is a serious and growing sociological ill. It may not be the same type of problem as crystal meth, child predators, or terrorism. But it is a problem–and one that will get an order of magnitude worse when AR eyewear hits the market.How Internet Porn Affects Society Today:
The infographic to the right tells the tale. Twelve percent of all websites, 25% of all search engine requests, and 35% of all downloads are sexually explicit. Over 40 million viewers in the US alone, where the industry rakes in over $2.64 billion per year.
One of the most telling numbers on this chart, however, is “11.” That’s the average age at which a boy first encounters explicit material online. The Daily Mail recently featured an interview with a mother who told how her 11-year-old son’s “entire character” changed after he began watching porn on his laptop in his own bedroom. She wrote: If Charlie had been on Class A drugs he couldn’t have been more transformed. He became withdrawn, moody and sullen. He wasn’t sleeping at night. He lost his normal gargantuan appetite. He looked hollow-eyed and listless. He had none of the boyish energy and high spirits that we were all used to. He began writing things like ‘I hate myself’, or ‘Charlie is s***’ on scraps of paper, newspapers, books, even his bedroom furniture and walls. He drew obscene cartoons with speech bubbles filled with the filthiest words in the dictionary. I once rolled back his sleeve to find ‘I am disgusting’ scrawled on the inside of his arm. I managed to stop myself from crying until I’d left the room. But the moment the door closed behind me I broke down completely.
After intensive intervention, Charlie recovered. But millions of other 11-year-olds encounter similar pitfalls. In the article “Why Shouldn’t Johnny Watch Porn if He Likes?,” Psychology Today explained that “sexual-cue exposure matters more during adolescence than at any other time in life.” That’s because the age of 11 or 12 is “when billions of new neural connections (synapses) create endless possibilities. … By his twenties, he may not exactly be stuck with the sexual proclivities he falls into during adolescence, but they can be like deep ruts in his brain—not easy to ignore or reconfigure.” In other words, constant, easy access to porn-on-demand conditions young men to stimuli that real-life interactions can never match, setting them up for frustration and failed relationships later in life.
And indeed, the deleterious impact of internet porn on healthy adult relationships has been well-documented. As early a 2003, the New Yorker ran a piece on mainstream, well-educated, professional men who found themselves increasingly hooked on explicit internet imagery. This and other articles found the men correspondingly unable to relate to, or maintain a healthy relationship with, the actual women in their lives. At the same time, women find it increasingly difficult to find a man whose mind isn’t dominated by such content.
A word to the naysayers. Granted, not everyone who looks at porn online is going to go off the deep end. And yes, there are those who argue that it can benefit couples who watch it together. The data, though, speaks for itself. Much like alcohol and other vices, there are a lot of people out there who just can’t resist the temptation.
That’s the society into which AR eyewear will soon be introduced.
The beauty of AR is that it liberates content from two-dimensional monitors and sets it free into the physical world. But will that also be AR’s curse?
Painting the World With Porn “It’s not news, of course,” the New Yorker wrote in 2003, “that men are into porn—or that the Internet has made it possible to delve into the dirty without slipping into the back room at a video store or hunkering down in a Times Square peep booth.” But “thanks to the advent of cable modems and DSL connections,” it continued, “the mass consumption of cyberporn has slyly moved from the pathetic stereotypes (fugitive perverts, frustrated husbands) into the potent mainstream (young professionals, perhaps your boyfriend)…. Porn is not merely acceptable; it’s hip.”
Maybe that’s why, when Google[*] launched its Project Glass teaser video on YouTube, porn was a recurrent theme in the user comments. For example:
you can watch porn on the go!
* * *
Awesome, with this remarkable device it´s possible for me to watch porn while i watch porn on my computer. Life´s good!
* * *
download porno on a crowded bus!
The sentiment is easy to understand. Anonymity has always fueled porn consumption. First, there were magazines in slick black bags. Then pay cable stations. Then the internet. Now, AR eyewear will enable users to take the content with them outside the house, viewing it in public while still remaining anonymous. One of the New Yorker‘s interview subjects wrote of the thrill of danger he got by viewing porn in his university’s computer lab, while others worked in adjacent cubicles. AR-equipped thrill-seekers will be able to take this one step further, and watch explicit content while actually standing in front of and talking to those same colleagues. At school, work, home, on the bus–no setting will ever again reinforce a social stigma against watching it, because only the wearer will see what’s on his AR lenses.
There’s another reason that viewers are likely to take their AR porn into the public square. The ability to overlay explicit content on the real world–or, more to the point, on real people–will offer synergies that have been heretofore relegated only to private imaginings.
“I’m just going to say this right now,” blogger Jordan Yerman wrote on the same day the Project Glass video was released. “The dev teams for every online porn outfit on the web are watching the Google Project Glass video below and thinking, ‘we can create an app that matches sex footage from our libraries to the body positions of passersby spotted by augmented-reality glasses.’ I promise you, that’s what they’re thinking.”
Illustration by Owen Smith
That certainly appears to be what the guy depicted in this image is thinking. The New Yorker carried this illustration with its 2003 article, and it’s probably intended to depict what’s going on in the guy’s mind–i.e., his inability to stop thinking about porn and see this woman for who she is. Today, though, it almost seems prescient, and could pass for a depiction of what he actually sees through AR eyewear that’s running a “layer” of data that automatically overlays explicit imagery on passersby.
Of course, having that layer of data open in one’s eyewear ensures that one will have such explicit thoughts about every person one sees–thereby reinforcing the negative thought patterns that lead to compulsive behavior. That calls to mind the warning of 17th Century poet Thomas Traherne, who said, “As nothing is more easy than to think, so nothing is more difficult than to think well.” Walking around in the wrong AR layers will make it even more difficult to think well.
It may also land the unwary in legal trouble. What happens when someone using such a layer in their eyewear encounters (and therefore sees explicit material overlaid onto) a minor? The device may (hopefully!) be programmed not to recognize those who are obviously children, but verifying the ages of teens would be beyond its ability. And the truth is that a depressingly large number of men would use such devices for exactly that purpose. As my friend and fellow AR enthusiast Joseph Rampolla, a law enforcement officer and consultant specializing in cybercrime, says, “wherever society finds pornography, child pornography is not too far behind.”
And what about the effect it will have on women? They are increasingly forced to deal with men whose unrealistic expectations are fueled by images of models who never say no or have their own needs and standards. One woman interviewed in the New Yorker article admitted, “I think it will be really rare, and hopefully it will happen, that I can meet a guy who will be happy with only me.” Others find themselves compromising their own standards to meet men’s unrealistic ones. And still others find themselves actually participating in the porn industry, sacrificing their own dignity to feed the insatiable demand of the industry’s consumers.
Not that we haven’t seen this coming for awhile. More than a year ago, I posted an article on this blog facial regonition to what I called “body recognition“–the ability of AR eyewear to record the physical dimensions of passersby and put that footage to God-knows-what use. I even speculated that ”the fashion world will respond by developing clothes that throw off recording devices, much like the checkered camouflage wraps that the auto companies use to shield prototype cars from the paparazzi.” That conversation started just this week on CNN.
As the ravenous YouTube comments above demonstrate, we are going to encounter these issues as soon as AR eyewear hits the market. There are those out there who are already working to make the explicit content available for these devices. Others will line up on Day One to buy the eyewear specifically for that purpose. But we all have to live in the society that will deal with the consequences.
Again, none of these issues are unique to AR. But AR will bring an unparalleled degree of anonymity and unique abilities to overlay and create explicit content that will magnify the temptation, compulsion, and dysfunction with which our society is already riddled.
Sport equipment giant Oakley is joining the world of augmented reality with the release of its new “Airwave” goggles, which are designed to give skiers and snowboarders up-to-the-minute information about vital statistics, including their speed and altitude.
Wearers can also access “jump analytics” software and a “buddy finder” to locate their friends on the slope.
The Airwave’s heads-up display reportedly seems like a 14-inch screen sitting five feet away to the wearer, when in reality it rests directly in front of the wearer’s eye. Users can control the Airwave with a wrist-mounted control unit and a glove.
--> Watch the video HERE!