mozilla-mixed-reality

diane-hosfeltMozilla Mixed Reality’s Diane Hosfelt says, “The immersive web has all of the problems of the 2D web, they’re just magnified and they’re harder.” She says the the privacy challeges around biometric data privacy are even more dire because you can’t change your biometric signatures and you can’t recover it. Hosfelt’s job at Mozilla is to secure the Servo immersive web browser engine, and so she’s thinking about how to apply the last 20 years of open web security and privacy problems, risks, and potential mitigations to the broader immersive web community. She recently authored a post titled Principles of Mixed Reality Permissions where she lays out the “PACE principles” of Progressive, Accountable, Comfortable, and Expressive.

I had a chance to talk with Hosfelt after the VR Privacy Summit that happened at Stanford University on November 8th, where we talked about making comforable privacy and security workflows that avoid the existing permission fatigue for Cookie authorization, the limitations of occuluding biometric movements through random noise, how independent researchers reveal privacy risks by combining data from multiple sources, an exploration of many of the open privacy challenges on the immserive web, and the open problem of how to educate consumers about the capabilities of these new immserive sensors, their uses, and possible dire consequences of them.

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Music: Fatality

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dave-maassThe VR Privacy Summit happened at Standord University on November 8th to explore pressing issues around biometric data privacy in virtual reality. There were around 50 representatives from around the VR industry with representatives from nearly all of the major companies, and I was the only journalist present for the event. The gathering was held under the Chatam House rules meaning that participants can talk about what was talked about at the meeting without providing identifying information about what other people said.

I talk to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s senior investigate researcher Dave Maass who attended the VR Privacy Summit To learn more some of the VR-specific biometric data concerns. Maass is a VR enthusiast, and talked about the EFF’s VR experience Spot the Surveillance, which was just relesed. I talk to Maass about the EFF’s perspective on what’s happening with privacy on the web, some of their broader privacy initiatives, how the EFF and other consumer privacy non-private advocates are still ramping up on the privacy issues in VR, and some of his takeaways from the first VR Privacy Summit.

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Music: Fatality

homestay

paisley-smithPaisley Smith’s Homestay is a deeply powerful spatial story that explores her family’s journey of grief from the death by suicide of an international student that they were hosting. She shares her journey of how to best tell this story in VR with many approaches that didn’t work. Homestay will be available soon from the National Film Board of Canada’s website.

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Music: Fatality

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monika-bielskyte-2018Monika Bielskyte is a futurist, science fiction worldbuilder, and a digital nomad who has been traveling around the world to over 80 different countries searching for where the future is headed. She’s in conversation with the bleeding edge of emerging tech culture from around the world, and trying to discern the underlying trends and catalysts for cultural transformation.

I recently had a chance to catch up with Bielskyte to talk about what types of trends that she’s seeing from around the world, why she’s interested in non-Western cultures and particularly the collaborative spirit that’s emerging in the Global South. She talks about various different decolonization efforts she’s seeing around the world, and how there’s a move towards contextual technologies and “designing with” rather than “designing for.”

Another big trend is a growing realization of the interconnectedness of all things, and how humans are fundamentally depended and connected to each other and the world we all live in. There’s also more people starting to embody the Ubuntu values of “I am because we all are,” and the old African saying of “If you want to travel fast, travel alone. If you want to travel far, travel together.”

Bielskyte also talks about how spatial and immersive computing represents moving to a regenerative economy that’s based upon the production of knowledge and experience and moving from ownership of material objects to have access to the experience. She also says that “It’s those who control the fantasy who control the future.” So she explores how science fiction world building within immersive technologies has the potential to inspire the culture to help build a future that we all want to live into.

Bielskyte is my favorite futurist as she’s got her finger on the pulse of what’s happening around the world, and so it’s always interesting to hear about her latest insights, pointers to International innovators, and where she thinks the future is headed.

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Music: Fatality

Image credit:
Crédit: world design Monika Bielskyte, concept artist eliud López, collaboration between ALLFUTUREEVERYTHING & LABCDMX

rust-ltd
Rust LTD is composed of four avant-garde artists who are experimenting with political philosophy as game design through surrealist narratives and open world sandboxes of resolving paradox through play. I spoke with Rust’s CTO Anton Hand about Hot Dogs, Horseshoes, and Hand Grenades at GDC where we talked about guns, morals, and capitalism, and I just had a chance to sit down with Rust CEO Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz about how he embraces paradox and confusion in his game design process to explore thought experiments in political philosophy.

We cover a lot of ground in this EPIC 2-hour conversation that explores his “No Method” theory of game design, experiential design inspired by political philosophy thought experiments, pragmatic advice he gives his game design students, the struggle of being a designer, the role of providing feedback, the ethics of journalistic photogrammetry, the ecological sustainability of immersive technologies, immersive poetry, how play allows us to escape closed systems of logic, and what it means to be a democratic citizen in today’s society. We also cover a wide range of ideas in political philosophy including Rawls’ “Veil of Ignorance,” Plato’s ideal size of a polis, Aristotle on politics as matters of communal concern, Tip O’Neill on “All Politics is Local,” Sheldon Wolin’s Politics and Vision, Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Community, Stoicism’s Enchiridion, and John Dewey’s Philosophy of Education. We cover a wide-range of deep questions about what it means to be a designer and artistre within our current political and economic context.

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Music: Fatality

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VRLA co-founder Cosmo Scharf talks about some of the deepest levels of our current socio-political and economic context, and how VR & AR can teach us that our beliefs and perception of reality is malleable. Cosmo says that we’re suffering form a values system disorder, and that our culture currently values money over community, culture, education, and our relationship to the planet. He talks about alternative solutions around a resource-based economy, Ubuntu contributionism, and universal basic income, and how virtual and augmented realities can help cultivate a context for the evolution of values and worldviews.

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Music: Fatality

future-of-xr-qualcomm
Qualcomm believes that the future of XR is mobile. TechCrunch published rumors published that the Oculus Rift 2 headset was being cancelled, which catalyzed a larger discussion about the degree to which Facebook/Oculus is committed to VR on the personal computer. Facebook denied that the second iteration of the Rift was being cancelled saying, “we do have future plans, and can confirm that we are planning for a future version of Rift.” They’re also not commenting on the timing of their internal product roadmap, and so it seems likely that if there was an internal delay of the timing of the second Rift, then they’re not commenting on those private plans. But it seems reasonable that Facebook is putting all of their focus and energy on the launch and promotion of the Oculus Quest, which hopes to be an iPhone turning point moment that shows that standalone VR is good enough and affordable for mass consumption that will then catalyze a critical mass of adoption for VR technologies to take the VR ecosystem to the next level.

Qualcomm is committed to this vision of mobile and tetherless VR and AR since their Snapdragon™ 821 powers the Oculus Go, and their Snapdragon™ 835 powers the Oculus Quest, Lenovo Mirage, and Vive Focus. Qualcomm also announced a XR1 dedicated chip during AWE that will be used in the next generation of self-contained XR devices that will likely start being announced in 2019. At GDC, I had a chance to catch up with Qualcomm’s Head of XR Hugo Swart as well with Hiren Bhinde, XR Product Management and Strategic Partnerships. We talked about the Qualcomm latest Snapdragon™ 845 system on chip and development kit features that were announced at GDC and the Mobile World Congress, some of the future display technologies they’re optimizing for, as well as Qualcomm’s four-pillared strategy for supporting the XR ecosystem.

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Here’s the announcement video for the Snapdragon XR1, which is the world’s first dedicated XR platform

Here’s Hugo Swart AWE presentation: The Making of an Ambient World: The Future of XR is Now

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Music: Fatality

Indiecade is the International Festival of Play, and Festival Director Sam Roberts curates innovations in game play and interaction paradigms that explore the questions of: What do I do? What happens when I do it? And how do I do it? Roberts sees an overarching entertainment trend where we’re headed towards more immersive, bespoke, and experiential entertainment and games where you can have your own unique story and experience.

Roberts and I talk about what Indicade tells him about the future of play including the combination of multi-modal inputs, how games are recontexualizing the space around us, interactive narratives, the latest AI-assisted procedural generated levels and player-adaptive game progression curves, the impact of table-top games in creating social dynamics in games, how role playing can create empathy or knowledge, and how games can create systemic metaphors where can come to a deeper understanding of complex systems through exploration the possibility space of the macrocosm through the context of an interactive, microcosmic game.

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Music: Fatality

jesse-damianiThe Spatial Reality: Artists Explore the Future of XR show is running from October 12 to 28 at the Ayzenberg sp[a]ce gallery in Pasenda, CA. I had a chance to see all of the pieces in the show, and then talk with the curator Jesse Damiani about my highlights from the show, where immersive art is at, and where it’s all going.

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Damiani says that VR & AR art has matured to the point that’s it’s ready to be displayed at art galleries, and the audience has matured to the point of knowing how to watch a VR experience as there were a number of self-service VR stations with looped experiences. The best practices for how to show and consume immersive art in a gallery context are still developing, and Damiani shares some of his lessons learned through curating this show.

These immersive artists and storytellers are pushing the edge of what’s possible in AR & VR, and Damiani wanted to feature artistic ambient environments that didn’t necessarily have a fixed narrative. He commissioned a site-specific piece by Cabbibo that spanned multiple levels of a staircase in the sp[a]ce gallery, and curated a number of other pieces from his network within Los Angeles and beyond. Damiani was influenced by Magik Gallery’s May 20th Show, and mentored by Nick Ochoa who is helping to pioneer a marketplace for AR & VR artists to be able to sell their immersive art.

I saw a lot of amazing pieces at the Spatial Reality show, and I recommend trying to check it either this weekend or next weekend in LA before it closes on October 28th.

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Music: Fatality

tony-parisi-2018Immersive advertising campaigns on phone-based AR platforms like AR Kit and AR Core are currently subsidizing a lot of development within the larger XR ecosystem of developers. I heard of many AR developers at Magic Leap who were doing phone-based AR contract gigs, and then working on Magic Leap in their spare time. At Greenlight’s VR Strategy Conference I had a chance to talk to Unity’s Head of AR/VR Brand Solutions Tony Parisi, who has been on the frontlines of evangelizing immersive and interactive advertising solutions to design agencies and brands. From what I hear from Parisi as well as from other XR developers, there’s a critical mass of phones that have AR functionality enabled which is generating a lot of excitement and traction with brands who are funding experiments with immersive and interactive storytelling on these new platforms. Parisi updates us as to where Unity is currently at, and what they’re committed to in terms of where the future of spatial computing headed.

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Here’s Unity’s Brand and Advertising Sizzle Reel:

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Music: Fatality