“Frontiers Talk: AR Dilemmas” by Pesce

  • ©Mark D. Pesce




    Frontiers Talk: AR Dilemmas



    Within the next 48 months, Ivan Sutherland’s dream of the ‘Ultimate Display’ will be realised at global scale. When billions don these consumer-oriented augmented reality ‘mirrorshades’ – from Apple and Facebook and whomever else wants to be in contention to shape our reality across the middle years of the 21st century – the world will suddenly reveal its inner ‘digital depth’. For the first time, the world will speak for itself; its content and context will shape our passage through it, because changing space changes us.

    By design, augmented reality is a technology of “hypersurveillance”, requiring users to wear an array of head-mounted cameras, orientation sensors and eye gaze detectors. Who collects this rich stream of highly personal sensor data? How is it used – and whose purposes will it serve? Who decides who gets to augment a particular volume of space? We clearly need a ‘right to write’, lest all space effectively become the property of those who control the technology. As we enter what will be known as the ‘augmented decade’, there are no easy answers, only questions of agency, power, authority and control, questions that technology alone can not answer – yet must be addressed before augmented reality achieves scale.

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