Mark Pesce is a VR pioneer who has been thinking about networked virtual and augmented reality for over 20 years now. He developed the Ono-Sendai Sega VR helmet prototype, co-created VRML, and presented his Cyberspace Protocol spec at the first Web conference in 1994. This CP spec evolved into the Mixed Reality Services spec, which aims to be a distributed system that would grant geospatial permissions for mixed reality applications.
This system would be an open way of preventing AR games from being played at culturally sensitive locations, but also provide Universal Resource Identifiers to bring the open web to the real world. It could provide permissions for airspace & drones, surveillance permissions, AR game permissions, hazmat warnings, electrical and plumbing layouts, and hours of operations for buildings.
I had a chance to catch up with Pesce where he gave me a history of his work on the canceled SEGA VR helmet, VRML, and the evolution of the Mixed Reality Service. We also talk about his first ritual in VR and Technopagan explorations, as well as his thoughts on ethics in overall tech industry.
LISTEN TO THE VOICES OF VR PODCAST
- Pesce on The Mixed Reality Service
- Pesce on The Web-Wide World
- Pesce on POST NO BILLS
- Pesce on Why I quit Facebook
- Spirits of Place
- Technopagans and the CyberSamhain Ritual
- Binge Breaker: Tristan Harris on Unplug SF
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[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. My name is Kent Bye, and welcome to the Voices of VR Podcast. So at CES this year, I had a chance to meet and sit down with Mark Pesce, who is a longtime VR pioneer. Back in the day, he created VRML, and he actually gave a proposal for something that was so ahead of his time that we don't really understand what it means until some of the contemporary examples. So essentially, what Mark was wanting to do was put this layer of metadata over physical space. And he was proposing this back at the very early days of the web. And I think people were like, what are you even talking about? But over 20 years later, and now we have both Snapchat and Pokemon Go, as well as Facebook, just at their developer conference, where they essentially announced that they're going all-in into augmented reality. Mark Zuckerberg, during his keynote, said that they want to turn the camera into the first augmented reality platform. They're making this huge shift from, I think, text-based and what I would call the information age and moving into the experiential age where they're really putting the camera at the center of all their applications, which means that we're going to be moving much more towards visual communication as well as using their camera phone to be able to create an augmented reality platform that's really mass scale. Now, you could argue that Snapchat has already been doing this, and I would highly recommend people to go back to episode 370 with Dougie Daniels, who was essentially talking about Snapchat as a camera company, where they were putting the camera at the center of all of their user interface. So Facebook's in this major transition right now, and they're kind of going all in into augmented reality. And so this idea that Mark had was that you need to be able to annotate space, to say who owns what, so that it's able to give permissions as to what you are or are not able to do on someone else's physical property. They have these scenarios like you might be playing Pokemon Go at Auschwitz, or it may be dangerous for people to be playing Pokemon Go. It might be putting their lives in danger. And one of the examples that Mark just wrote up about was Zuckerberg during the keynote of F8 saying, wouldn't it be great if you could just put augmented reality graffiti on any wall? And Mark was like, well, wait a minute, actually, who really owns that virtual space? Should there be some level of permissioning to declare what is and is not okay to happen on that space? So that system that Mark's been thinking about for over 20 years is called the mixed reality system. So we'll be talking about that as well as Mark's more esoteric and magical roots that has played a part in informing him how he's been creating his technology specs, but also how these are ethical frameworks and some of the ethics of what's happening within technology today. So we'll be talking about all of that and more on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. But first, a quick word from our sponsor. Today's episode is brought to you by the Voices of VR Patreon campaign. The Voices of VR podcast started as a passion project, but now it's my livelihood. And so if you're enjoying the content on the Voices of VR podcast, then consider it a service to you and the wider community and send me a tip. Just a couple of dollars a month makes a huge difference, especially if everybody contributes. So donate today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. So this interview with Mark happened on January 4th, 2017 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.
[00:03:54.600] Mark Pesce: My name is Mark Pesci. I'm probably best known as the co-inventor of the Virtual Reality Model Language with Tony Breese, which we did in 1994. And I've done a bunch of things sort of before and after that. Currently I'm doing a lot of, I guess, advising in Enterprise VR, but I'm also working on something called the Mixed Reality Service, which we'll do for both real world and for virtual worlds, what DNS does for IP address. So it's a way of mapping metadata to space so that when you're in an arbitrary space, you can find out what's going on around it. And that's going through a W3C, so Web Standards Group standardization process right now. But that's been a 25 year process.
[00:04:34.507] Kent Bye: Wow. So maybe you could go back to where VRML all began for you.
[00:04:38.669] Mark Pesce: So in 91, it's Christmastime 1990, but early 91, I read Mondo 2000, episode number two, which had a big interview with Jaron Lanier. And in it, he was talking about VR and all this stuff. And he said, look, VR is not the television of the future. It's the telephone of the future. And literally, you can divide my life into before and after I read that line. Because I understood that this was a medium for communicating, for people communicating. And I was like, OK, what am I going to do? I'm a network engineer. I've been working for 10 years. I'm going to build a networked VR system for consumers. And I didn't really, I think, even at the time, understand how bold that was in 1991, when most VR systems cost, say, $200,000 or $300,000, and a multiplayer VR system would cost $2 million to $3 million. Because Reality Built for Two had come out, Placeholder had come out. These are multi-million dollar systems. So I got a couple of friends who were also into it. We formed a company we called Ono Sendai Corporation. We got permission from Bill Gibson to be able to do that. And we started working on the problems to reduce the cost of the system. The first problem we solved was head tracking. So you have to get the orientation of the head correctly in 20 millisecond latency or else everyone gets sick very quickly. So we put together a clever solution using effectively geomagnetic car compass and a tilt sensor. And you put those two together and you get y'all pitch and roll. And we took the cost from about $1,000 to that component down to $1. And we ticked off one box and we were working on everything else, including rendering, when another small company came along and said they wanted to do consumer VR, Sega. Sega at that point was the biggest video game company in the world because they'd just beaten Nintendo. The Sega Genesis was the big platform and so we hitched our wagon to their train and we spent a year working on what was called the Sega Virtua VR. And we're recording this at CES in 2017. So tomorrow's the 5th of January and that'll be 24 years to the date after we showed it at CES. Because at that point there was no E3. E3 hadn't been launched yet. So this was also the big video game show. And the Sega booth was massive, took up acres and acres. And what they would do is they would book in time with the buyer from Target or the buyer from Walmart, and they'd take them through a series of smaller and smaller and smaller suites, which would get more and more dim. And finally, they'd have the suite with our prototype unit, which literally looked like a miner's helmet with a whole bunch of stuff gaffer-taped onto it. But it was a working VR system. It was plugged into a Genesis and the buyers completely lost their minds and they said absolutely This is what we want. We're gonna order lots of them. It's gonna be the big toy at Christmas 1993 now you may be wondering why there aren't millions of systems like this out there well as they went further into the manufacturing process and then sent units out for testing it pretty much came back quickly that And Sega was very vague on this point, and has never really publicly owned up to why the most hyped product they'd ever announced was just silently cancelled. They've never really said why. My understanding is that Virgin's accommodation conflict, which is this thing that we know a lot about, it's just a quality of binocular displays, was proving to be a big problem, particularly with kids, because kids' brains will train to any stimulus they're given because they're not finished forming it. And what I was told directly was that Sega's lawyers told Sega they were opening themselves up to the largest product liability lawsuit in history. And so what was probably the most promising consumer VR product for the last 25 years was basically quietly killed. And Sega basically said nothing about it ever since then. You know, my startup blows up because we were depending on that licensing revenue, but I still knew that I wanted to do networked VR, and this was just the moment that the web was coming around. And this is the moment Tony Parisi moved to San Francisco. I sat down with him over some beers with him and his wife. He said, what do you do? Two hours later. He was convinced that what I was doing was kind of interesting. He said, let me help. And Tony and I luckily have completely complementary skill sets as engineers. I know how to write a rendering tool. He knows how to write a parser. Those are the two things that you need to make VRML work. And within a couple of weeks, we had the first VRML browser up and running. I dropped a note to this guy in Switzerland I hadn't really ever heard of who was asking about VR on the web and then got an invitation from him. Tim Berners-Lee is his name, to actually present our work at the first international conference on the World Wide Web, which was in May of 1994, and that kicked the whole ball off.
[00:09:14.365] Kent Bye: Wow. So in looking at this time period since the 60s, really, when computers and personal computers eventually came on, I kind of see this as a big enough change of the last 500 years of a completely new medium of the computer being the new Gutenberg press of the 21st century, bringing in this new experiential age. And whether that's virtual reality technologies where you go have an experience, or whether it's artificial intelligence where you train it by giving it an experience, It feels like we're in this new era of what a lot of the science fiction writers have talked about, this metaverse idea where you're able to go into these networked worlds and be able to explore all around. And I've gotten into a few Twitter discussions over the last week or so with people really doubting the visions of the metaverse, saying that, you know, this was written before the web was really proved out. A lot of the lessons of both the internet companies, but as well as the gaming industry in general, we kind of got this balkanized, fractured ecosystems with people really wanting to own the platforms and not really collaborating, but yet at the same time, we have these dual tensions that I see. The people wanting to own the platform and make everything closed and proprietary with walled gardens. And then on the other side, you have this open ecosystem of really wanting to rise the tide for everybody to create open standards with the Kronos Group for virtual reality. There's web VR. There's all these counter things that I see happening within the VR ecosystem where I see kind of both things happening where There's perhaps a similar console war that's going to happen with those walled gardens, but yet at the same time, this open ecosystem and the dream of VRML of creating a lot of these open standards to be able to create this open metaverse. So I'm just curious to hear some of your thoughts of how you've seen that evolving and where it's going.
[00:11:05.323] Mark Pesce: This is a really interesting point because I think it touches on the heart of the matter. I think the thing we didn't know and we do now know is that there's always a tension between open and closed systems and there are advantages to both. But the interesting advantage to an open system is that it tends to move faster than a closed system. How long would it have taken to build Wikipedia if Wikipedia was closed? Jimmy Wales gave up and opened Newpedia and turned it into Wikipedia because it was taking so long to do it in a closed way. And so what you have is, if you need the advantage of speed, then you need to be open. If you need to have the advantage of 5 billion people on smartphones participating in knowledge sharing and now with VR experience sharing, then you use WebVR for that. Is that always the perfect solution? No. Is it always going to be a solution that offers benefits that you don't get anywhere else? Yes.
[00:12:11.532] Kent Bye: Yeah, and it seems like with the WebVR standards at the last moment had Microsoft come in and start to change the specification to become more compatible with some of the concerns of augmented reality. And it sounds like some of the stuff that you're working on with mixed reality is taking that to the next level in terms of trying to have some level of contextual awareness of space and be able to map that. So that perhaps something like Pokemon Go, if there's Pokemons going into someone's backyard, there could be some way to gate that off and maybe have an open way of having anybody that wants to do a location-based type of experience. Maybe you could talk a bit about what you're doing enables and where it's going.
[00:12:49.168] Mark Pesce: The thing is that you hit it completely, because 25 years ago, when we were doing networked VR, because the Onisandai systems were always designed to be networked, because they were running on ridiculously slow computers. If you take a look at the example of, say, Fallout 4 and Pong, alright? Fallout 4, you're pretty much in there by yourself, but you've got all the toys. Pong, you've got no toys, but you have someone else. And so therefore, the gaming world is opened up. And we kind of knew that our systems were going to be closer to Pong than to Fallout. And so we always knew they would be networked because as soon as you bring a second or third person in, you explode the universe of play possibilities with that. Now, as soon as you do that, you have to have permissioning. Hi, this is my space. I can do things in it. You can't. I can invite you in or I won't invite you in. So all of that. And so we solved that problem. I specifically solved that problem with something called CP, Cyberspace Protocol. And the joke here is that when I wrote the big paper for the World Wide Web Conference, it was sort of 80% about CP and 20% about this visualization layer that we put on top of it, VRML. But everyone was really interested in the use case for the visualization layer and couldn't understand the use case for CP until July when Pokemon Go came around and you have people playing Pokemon Go at Auschwitz. Right? Not a good look for Niantic, not a good look for anyone, because the space was unable to speak for itself about what its qualities were. And so I took all of the work, which I've been trying to explain to people for 25 years, and dusted it off, changed the name a little bit, redesigned it for JSON and all the world of the current web protocols we have. And it's already now gone to W3C and the WebVR Working Group as a standard. Because we have all of these devices and all these capacities, we need this now. as a service that's open and internet wide. One of the other reasons we need it for is for drones. How can a drone, if it's autonomous, pull in airspace to know whether it has overflight rights there? And what if those rights are changing based on the time of day or whether someone's taking a shower? And so it's that kind of information. The world doesn't speak for itself. We've created an enormous web. So in cyberspace, there's lots of stuff going on. In the world, there's lots of stuff going on, and they don't talk to one another. And so it's actually time now to be able to knit those together. And that's what MRSE is meant to do.
[00:15:07.359] Kent Bye: So we have latitude and longitude, which locates in a space, and we have altitude for the height. So you have those three dimensions of the latitude, longitude, and altitude to be able to basically draw cubes of space to then add a layer of metadata. How do you take something that could be considered a little bit of a subjective quality and then try to objectively create a taxonomy that is able to interface with computers.
[00:15:33.251] Mark Pesce: And you do, in some sense, fall into the taxonomy trap. And one of the things we're very clear on in the specification is we don't necessarily say too much. We recommend there are certain things in the taxonomy you can do. But at one level, all you're doing is when you say there's a particular volume of space, all you're getting from that back is a URI. You're getting a pointer into resources. what those resources are, what those resources mean. You can use standards for them. We will develop standards. There are already a lot of metadata standards, and so we didn't want to redefine the universe. All we wanted to say is there's a way to be able to point to that data. Once you can point to that data, depending on the space and the category of usage, because a drone is going to need different data than Pokemon Go does. Then you have to start to think about, well, what's your structured metadata and all of that, and that's another level. We've kept that specification separate because it's big, it's hairy, and you don't need to solve that problem so much as give people the capacity to solve it in their own specific use cases. It's like the web. The web doesn't really say too much about what a document is structured as. You can structure a document as HTML. But you can structure it as anything else, as long as it has a good pointer. And so it's very much like that.
[00:16:47.296] Kent Bye: Could you give some examples of some of the primary use cases of different applications that be using the system?
[00:16:53.500] Mark Pesce: So again, you have the AR use case. So you can permission a game. Can a game be played somewhere? But you can also turn that around. What if I'm a business owner, if I have a restaurant, and I want someone to be playing in there? that I can actually invite and sort of advertise the fact that my space is available for those kinds of things. So those are sort of two sides. Another one is being able to go up to a building and get its building metadata. What's the building directory? What are its hours of operation? All of that without actually having to do this. In some ways, Google does this now, but Google only keeps the information that Google cares about, which is not necessarily the information the building cares about. If you're a first responder and you want to know what the hazmat problems are on site, or where the water is, or any of that. So again, it's something that locates in real space the qualities that people need to be able to use that space. And so it binds those two together.
[00:17:47.351] Kent Bye: So on the internet you have DNS which basically resolves internet IP addresses and that you're able to essentially own specific parts of the internet and have control over it. Is there a centralized server of who is going to manage this data and how do you How do you say I own this property or this volume?
[00:18:06.752] Mark Pesce: So this was an interesting problem that was sort of one of my sticking points when we were doing this 25 years ago, because you have to deal with a scalable distributed system, fortunately. And I remember when all of this sort of came to pass around 2011, and I was very heavily studying something called what we like to call now the distributed ledger, but is more commonly known as the blockchain. And the blockchain is a distributed permissioned database. And so what happens is the network of servers that are running MRS, every one of them is keeping a copy of the distributed ledger. So when an entry is made in the distributed ledger that someone has permissions over a particular space, that entry is then replicated securely across all the others, so it can't be falsified, it can't be wrecked. It means that the process of making an entry in the database is somewhat time-consuming, as it is for DNS. Because when you make a DNS mapping, not only do you have to go through a registrar, but it takes time to propagate. So that's a slow operation, but it should be, because that's probably not something that should be changing super fast. Someone who has permissions over a particular volume of space is probably not going to change very often, so it's the same thing. We are looking at the case of a car, because what about the inside of a car? And the car is going to be moving, and so there's some of these cases that we've looked at that we know we aren't perfect at yet, but for the immobile parts of the world, we already know that the solution will work relatively well. But that's a good question. You managed to sort of piece out how that could work. And until we actually got to the distributed ledger, that was always a really hard part. Now, one of the funny things is the three authors of the VRML1 spec are myself, Tony, and a guy named Gavin Bell. Gavin Bell doesn't go by the name Gavin Bell now. He goes by the name Gavin Anderson. And Gavin Anderson is now the chief scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation. And so there's this weird interaction between the work we were doing and now the work that I'm doing, which actually ties both together.
[00:20:05.031] Kent Bye: What that makes me think of is when you buy a house, going through the state, you sign a bunch of paperwork, but you basically get a title of the house, and that's sort of managed by the state as to who's owning that piece of land. And so, would this be a government entity, or who would be able to make entries into this distributed blockchain database of space?
[00:20:24.466] Mark Pesce: Exactly. And there's a specific part of the protocol that deals with credentialing. And so essentially any node that's making entries in this database can request any number of credentials from a person who's trying to make an entry in that database. And the protocol is very clear, they can reject it for any reason whatsoever. But if they accept an entry in it, they're also storing those credentials securely so that they can be provided on demand as a proof to any other node before they replicate that entry in their database. I've done a lot of work. It's funny, because I've had several careers since VR. The fact that VR is back is astounding and exciting to me, but I've had several other careers, including in fintech. And these are fundamental questions that bankers are always dealing with when they're dealing with what they call know-your-customer and anti-money laundering, which are the primary obsessions. And so some of those solutions, which are very well thought out, can be brought into this.
[00:21:18.603] Kent Bye: Well, one of the things that, you know, we just were here at CES, we just came out of a press conference with NVIDIA. They're making an announcement about being able to essentially run high-end gaming games through the cloud and on your Mac. And so they're essentially doing this hosting service through these cloud services and charging you and metering you in some ways. And at this point, we have an internet that you basically pay for your pipe and you're able to essentially get as much data as you want, given whatever that internet service provider is giving you. But yet at the same time, there seems to be a little bit of a fundamental flaw in the way that the internet was architected in the way that it's up to each individual to have to buy and maintain a server and pay for that, and then that never can happen forever. And so if that person dies, then that website can go away. And thank God for websites like archive.org that's trying to at least save and archive this, but yet that isn't necessarily sustainable indefinitely. And so I see something like this distributed file systems and the blockchain maybe moving over into this new system where you go to a website and You're participating and distributing that bandwidth in kind of like a BitTorrent type of peer-to-peer fashion. Do you see that we're going to be moving towards from this current model, which seems to be a lot of companies going with this cloud hosting model, but yet it's concentrating power into a few hands versus something that's going to be more distributed?
[00:22:43.025] Mark Pesce: You know, I had always thought that the distributed model is the better model because it's inherently more resilient. And of course, the reason that we've seen major outages, particularly in America over the last year, is because a lot of our infrastructure is much more concentrated than by rights it ought to be. Capital likes concentration because the internet is both capital intensive and capital producing. It tends to produce concentrations of capital. That's economics right there. When you're talking about distributed systems, DNS is theoretically distributed. It's not as distributed as it needs to be, which is why it's not as resilient. MRS is designed from the ground up to be as distributed as it can be for precisely these reasons, to learn from the mistakes of the past. Because if we were doing DNS over again, it would be done differently. But it was created in the 1970s and 80s when we didn't know anything yet. So we can always go to best practice, but whether best practice 20 years from now, we might be going, oh my God, look at all of these holes because we hadn't encountered any of these problems yet. So I think that's part of it, but there's always a tension between distributed and open systems. I took a look at IPFS, which is another one of the protocols for being able to distribute some of the data. BitTorrent, all of these different strategies have taught us very important things about how to build distributed resilient services. I think another question we're moving into is that the internet is becoming a progressively more hostile environment. You know, that's a sign probably of maturity, but it also means that systems that aren't designed around an awareness of that hostility are not going to be persistent. And so that's the pushback toward distributed and resilience is that centralized systems, they become either too expensive or too unreliable because they're too easy to attack.
[00:24:31.872] Kent Bye: Yeah, I mean, one of the things that we have right now is centralized identity. We have, like, the Facebooks and Twitters and social medias are able to kind of own identity. But, you know, in talking to different people in the tech industry, you know, using the principles of the blockchain, you could start to distribute some of these fundamental principles and then that Raises the boat for everybody to then be able to essentially have that dream of being able to go anywhere you want and have a persistent identity Across different open public spaces essentially, but on the web and so being able to go into these volumetric 3d websites and have an identity and avatar and be able to interface with other people that you may kind of synchronistically bump into just as you would if you're walking around a real world and I think that My conceptualization of a virtual reality that is indistinguishable from real reality is that you're able to do that. You're able to have a level of anonymity by just still walking around, but yet if people do recognize your face or your avatar, then you're able to then bump into people in these random places. But it seems like right now, because we have all these centralized mechanisms of identity, but also just centralization and walled gardens already, I'm just curious to hear your thoughts on all the different layers of the tech stack that you see are going to potentially go the route of blockchain, or if we're going to end up in this kind of weird hybrid for a while.
[00:25:57.781] Mark Pesce: So it's really interesting, because in fact, when you're talking about identity, identity is not a technological problem. It's a socio-cultural governmental problem. And I've been looking very interestingly, the Australian government has been working on this and they asked for proposals and they got a very interesting distributed federated identity proposal and they sort of waved it away because they wanted to do something that was centralized. And as they got closer to a specification, what happened was Australia's security agency stepped in and told them that they will not do this because any centralized system is much more vulnerable, not just to identity theft, but to identity forgery. than a distributed federated system is. And the problem is that most bureaucrats are profoundly unused to, I don't even want to say against, I would rather just say unused to and therefore uncomfortable with distributed systems because there's no locus of control. And they see those as being inherently chaotic. And so, part of what we need to do, I think, in the tech community is to allow them to walk into the water by small steps. Like, don't say, oh, we need a blockchain-based voting system, because that freaks everybody out. But rather, let's try a driver's license. Let's try a hunting license. Let's try a pet license. Little things. And get people comfortable with little things being reasonably reliable. And also, There's the hubris of tech to assume that the first pass of something is going to be perfect. And the blockchain is really good. It's not necessarily really perfect. It's changed a fair bit as we've learned more about it. And so I think it makes sense to experiment a lot and get runs on the board and to learn a lot right now. And as we become more confident, then people will be more confident with doing more things with it.
[00:27:51.554] Kent Bye: Going back to being able to annotate space in what seems like an undistributed fashion, but also in kind of an official way of being able to have this universal platform for people to interface and know what their permissions are. But just going through Google Earth, my own subjective experience was that I have these emotional peak experiences in these different physical locations. And I was able to zoom out at a certain level and remap the emotional architecture of my life. And by doing that, kind of tell the story and personal narratives and something that isn't necessarily at the level of having to be at a very slow official blockchain level. But still, I can imagine a future where people want to share the meaning of place and be able to share that in augmented reality type of experiences. And so how do you see that balance between both what you're suggesting, which is a little bit more official, but also these more informal ways of annotating space?
[00:28:48.938] Mark Pesce: Yeah, I mean, one thing that MRS does is it essentially doesn't enforce at a personal level, right? If you're running your own MRS server, which is talking to all the other servers, you're getting the official version. But whatever's coming from the version that you're putting on top, is completely legitimate. So you can think of that as, I guess, your own private notes about what space are. So the thing that I realized very quickly on when I passed this speck around to friends of mine, some of them gave me some very nuanced comments. And one of them said, well, you know, particularly in Australia, there's this idea not just of who owns something, but who the traditional owners of the land are. Because we have a 70,000 year indigenous culture in Australia. So it, in a sense, has the longest continuous history of any land in the world. And every square inch of Australia is, in a sense, still has traditional owners, has a tribe that owns it. You know, at my house in Sydney, it's the Gadigal. And we all know this. It's the Oranation, and it's the Gadigal, and those are the traditional owners. And so you need a way to be able to represent not a unitary owner, but in fact that there's quite a nuanced sense that there's a traditional owner. There might be the owner of the building. There might be the lessee of a building. there might be your corner of the office, and that all of these actually co-exist and co-produce, and that the metadata you're interested in at any point in time is driven by your needs around that, not around what something is being authoritative for.
[00:30:13.202] Kent Bye: So how do you deal with conflicts, then, if some level who's the building owner says, I'm going to give permission for people to play Pokemon Go in the building, but people in room 237 say, no, I don't want that at all?
[00:30:25.542] Mark Pesce: Well, I mean, you would normally consider that as a hierarchy, right? And you would then refer to the leaf node in the hierarchy for what the permission is around a particular volume of space. You would normally do that. And the same thing would apply to DNS, because if you think of DNS, there's subdomains and then subdomains and subdomains. And so, at some level, those are authoritative, but they're not necessarily authoritative at the registrar level, they're authoritative at the domain manager level. So, it's these sorts of things. We have solutions for most of these things. But part of what we need to do in 2017 and 2018 is just get it out there because, and I love this, one of my favorite lines from William Gibson, the street finds its own use for things, uses the makers never intended. So we want to get it out there for people so that we can understand what these edge cases are. I mean, DNS wasn't done on day one. I don't think MRS, when it comes out, is going to be perfect. I think what it's going to be is usable.
[00:31:18.845] Kent Bye: What has it been about virtual reality technologies that has kept you inspired and kind of motivated to keep at this for so long?
[00:31:29.731] Mark Pesce: 1991-92, I was very much obsessed with the idea that we needed better tools to manage the planet. And, of course, Snow Crash comes out. And Snow Crash has Stevenson's Earth in it. And very quickly thereafter, I created something called WebEarth. WebEarth.org. You can all hit it. It's all done in WebVR now, but I've sort of been keeping it up ever since then. And I ran into Stevenson and showed it to him after that. He's like, this is what I was thinking. And then, of course, there was a project called T-Vision out of Germany. It was a very nice high-end art project, ran on a graphic supercomputer like an SGI workstation, so half a million dollars of hardware. And then we come to Google Earth, and we keep on getting better and better and better. And now we have Google Earth VR, and that's still my favorite podcast of yours, because it was just great. And listening to your enthusiasm, I was the same way. You know that morning I was downloading it, I was playing with it. delighting in how I was feeling with it, but going not just, oh my gosh, we need to scan the world in much higher resolution, but this now needs to be as open as possible so we can start integrating as many important data sets in it as possible. so that we can give the next generation the tools they need to work and think at a scale. Because the key to VR is it allows you to work at scales that we are not normally equipped with. We can work at the nanoscale. The nanomanipulator from 96 is still one of the most key piece of works because you hooked a scanning tunneling microscope up to a VR system and chemists could run their fingers across the surface of a molecule with haptic feedback and they could understand things about structure they could never understand from a photograph. And then you go up to Google Earth VR and you can see things and learn things. And so we now have this incredible tool. It's up to us to now start working on the details there. But I've been waiting, I guess at this point patiently, because after 25 years what else can you say, for the tools revolution to catch up with what I always thought was possible.
[00:33:32.398] Kent Bye: I was talking to Tony Parisi about some more esoteric sides of virtual reality and the more invisible, spiritual, esoteric. I'm just curious if you had any other thoughts about the deeper implications of virtual reality in that realm.
[00:33:47.985] Mark Pesce: How much do you know about the Cyber Salon? I haven't heard of it, no. What is that? So in 1994, so we held the very first ritual in cyberspace, and it was October 94, so Halloween in 1994, Life on the Water in San Francisco. It was written about in Wired. I'll flip you a link. And we did it with a number of workstations that were all wired together that all had views into a VRML world. And it was literally sort of witchcraft, pagan, Wiccan ceremony. Tony's wife Marina was the high priestess. I was the high priest. We had people doing everything. And we really sort of took that idea and ran with it because we had this idea that the virtual world was an imaginal space, just like the magical world. And so we had this idea of wanting to bring it together. And I look at it now and I don't think it was so much immature. I mean, we did the best we could with what we had at the time. now. But when I got Tilt Brush, I got my Vive, and when I got Tilt Brush, the very first thing I did in Tilt Brush was draw the magic circle, because I just knew I had to do it. It was a way of me both making an intention in that space, but also me saying, okay, I now have the tool, and I'm going to use the tool in the way that I understand it to be used. But I also think that part of the way that we're framing this, and if you listen to the framing at the Intel event, you listen to the framing at the NVIDIA event, they're really using not quite magical language, but highly evocative language around the imagination. and they're really starting to get into this territory and most of the folks who are doing this have no grounding in this and they're not really doing it super well and it's maybe not gonna produce the kinds of things that they want because they're not entirely well informed by this and so maybe part of what we can do is start to add some language and add some form to that marketing speak, so it actually has some depth behind it. So it's not just, oh, you can do anything you want. It's actually more of a discussion of how do you reveal yourself? How do you reveal yourself to others? How do you reveal your intention? It's more around that and, you know, my understanding of the virtual world and the magical world has always been very psychoanalytic in that the only thing that's ever in VR is something we put in there, right? So it's always a reflection of us. It's never not a reflection of us. And so we can use that as a tool to explore ourselves because it is us.
[00:36:16.474] Kent Bye: Yeah, one of the things that makes me think of is that there's a lot of inner subjective experiences that we have that can't be quantified by the tools of science. And so, you know, I think if we look at cutting edge consciousness research, I think people like Dean Radin, in essence that it may not be actually possible to completely separate the subjective and the objective experience, but yet we live in a context which is very driven by objective numbers and results and the quantified world, but yet virtual reality, I think, is starting to really put more of an emphasis on the subjective experiential aspect, and I think that these esoteric traditions are very much in that realm of more of the subjective inner experience that can't be seen. And so because of that, I just think that there's something that could potentially be informed from how to archetypally describe experience or to use it in a magical way with more deliberate intention.
[00:37:13.470] Mark Pesce: I was lucky enough to be invited to contribute to a book called Spirits of Place that was published at the beginning of December. It's a series of essays about places. Alan Moore was one of the contributors, and Warren Ellis, and they're both heroes of mine, and so I immediately said yes. And they said, OK, well, we want you to write about cyberspace. I was like, that's just a small place. And what I did was sort of take 25 years of magical thinking about this and constructed it as a bit of a spell. And the title of the piece is Malleus Speculus. the hammer of mirrors. Because what we're trying to do is to break through the aspect of VR where it's only just reflecting back at us into something. that might be beyond that. What that is, is co-constructed. It's not just me, it's not just you, it's also the world. I mean, this is one reason why MRS, to tie that back in, I think the world actually has a voice and MRS is about providing a framework for that voice to express itself. And so, in that sense, there's a strongly mystical aspect to what MRSE is, even though it's got enormous practical applications. I see a world that can speak for itself as a world that I would prefer to live in. So, there's a framework for being able to talk about these things, for being able to share what we understand about these things, and to build these things. that allows us to capitalize on the qualities of this space as imaginal. One of the problems, I think, with social VR, just to sort of bring it down into the mundane, is that we really actually don't have a good idea of how other people are. We're almost always seeing the reflections of what we think other people are. And so it may be that to solve the problem in social VR is going to help us to solve the problem on how we actually represent not just ourselves but others.
[00:39:18.437] Kent Bye: Yeah, the thing that that makes me think of is that there's a certain fundamental problem with reputation systems that try to quantify your expertise in any given domain. And it's so contextual that you may be an expert in one area, and you have a number associated with that, and you go into a different context, that number doesn't translate. So it's just this problem of trying to put the quantified world into something that is fundamentally qualitative. And so it's perhaps avoiding that tendency to want to put numbers on something that may not be able to be turned into a number. And so it's just like we have learned how to interface with each other in a way in the real world without that quantification. But yet, when we're in the digital realm, there's that tendency to want to do that.
[00:40:05.117] Mark Pesce: Well, it's, I mean, particularly because the connections in the digital realm are often done by engineers who may not have strong social skills as their first skill set. And it's interesting because Jaron Lanier was writing about this 15 years ago. You know, he talked about the shapes of our interfaces really starting to shape the form of our communication. You know, this is one of my, and I have a lot of bugaboos with Facebook, but one of them is that it tends toward a particular kind of connectivity which is particularly easy for them to monetize, and it's not particularly broad, it's particularly narrow. And, you know, all commercial systems will have their drawbacks around this, but I think that if we think about the potential of what it means to be represented in and with other people, then we can start to build frameworks, ideas. I don't even know, we don't have a really good language for this yet. Spells, for lack of anything else, right? We don't have a good language for what that means. I do know that when I've seen the Holoportation demos, I go, yes, that's part of the future. When I've seen the amazing demos from 8i, I go, yes, that's part of the future because there's a feeling associated with them of That's starting to get toward how we represent one another in a way that makes us feel like we're there. You know, the social problem, and I think people are trying to solve it up front, the social problem may be one of the last to get solved.
[00:41:33.688] Kent Bye: Just by being on Twitter, I've noticed that sometimes if somebody retweets me, I'll get like 50 retweets and I look at them and they're like these sleeper bots that are just automatically retweeting such that at some point they'll be turned on and just completely overrun the system. You said that the internet is this place where there's a lot of conflict in terms of people trying to game the system in different ways. And I feel like the thing with social VR in the future is we look at the potential of AI getting to the point where perhaps you're going to have these entities that can pass a Turing test and you're not quite sure if they're human or not. How do you then deal with being in these social spaces with these entities that are perhaps trying to game you for some reason?
[00:42:20.178] Mark Pesce: Subtle reason that may never even be explicit you may not even ever know and you know that the old line the magicians were taught to test the spirits Right, which is kind of almost saying, you know, ask them to pass the Turing test But the other one is also to don't necessarily trust strangers. It goes back to your whole idea of reputation and authenticity if someone comes up to you and and starts talking to you and seems to know a lot about you and you don't know why, you have every reason, I don't know if suspicion is quite the word to use, but you have every reason to maybe use all of the tools at your disposal, which are substantial now. to be able to examine that other entity in a way that subjects it to the kind of inspection that it was probably doing to you before it came up to you. I mean, I think the interesting thing is we tend to look at AIs as others. And the world that we're going into, there will be AIs as others, but there are going to be intensely personal AIs that we will co-evolve with, that will be a companion mind and companion consciousness to our own, and they'll be intensely personal. It's interesting because her kind of did that well in an interesting way. I mean, not quite as well as it will be, but it pointed at that's a thing. That's clearly coming. And when said entity pops up and starts to talk to you, your AI is going to give you the particulars on that entity. And so it's not ever going to end, but that's going to be an interesting race to be run.
[00:43:55.423] Kent Bye: Yeah, it just reminds me of this uncanny valley of social interaction where you may be talking to an AI and they may drop a very intimate personal detail about yourself that just feels creepy. Like, ooh, wow, how did you know that type of feeling? Because right now we have this big data that's driving a lot of these companies like Facebook and Google. They're storing all of this data about us, but we don't really necessarily have a window into it at all. imagine they feed that into these AI assistants that are interacting with us and then at what point do they start to subtly weave that into the conversation that we then start to question the whole nature of how they came to that piece of information and it could potentially start to have that same type of creepiness that falling into the pit of the uncanny valley of a robot that looks just human enough but not real enough to really convince you and just feel really gross.
[00:44:46.228] Mark Pesce: Listen, I suspect that if you took me from 1991 and dropped me into 2017, I would be creeped out really badly right now by the world that we just sort of slowly got into. And in some ways, it's because the web won. All right. You know, it's funny, because to be at the first web conferences, May 94, it's 300 people. These are basically all the researchers on the web at that point in time, because no one knew about the web. We all knew it was the beginning of something. I don't even think Tim knew it was going to be this. We've created an architecture for knowledge. And the prize for that is that we can now pretty much know almost anything we want to know or reach almost anyone we want to know. But the downside of that is that that information is also now universally available everywhere else. Right. And so we never really thought about what happens when information is weaponized, because the only people that ever weaponized information before that were national security agencies, right, and spies. Those are the only people who could. And now you have an entire culture which is sort of formed around this idea that information exists, has power, and, oh yes, can be weaponized. This is a new culture. This is a brand new culture in the sense that it's really only post-Facebook that we've come into this world. And we haven't recalibrated our cultural or economic or civic responses around that.
[00:46:08.497] Kent Bye: How do you see that playing out? Because it seems like there's just a lot of fundamental privacy questions on all dimensions of technology that even at the CES, I think there's just a subtle like... You see a demo of something and go, oh my god, right?
[00:46:22.461] Mark Pesce: When Jensen was showing off the spot, right, which is this little thing that listens to you all the time and can triangulate you around the house, which is really cool, but it also means that your house knows where you are all the time, which is fine unless someone is trying to figure out where you are in the house. just because you can do something, right? I mean, it's that level. Just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you can do it. There's no transparency about how any of this information is being used in Google now. In Siri, Apple is somewhat more transparent, but certainly not in Google now. I don't know, but Alexa is not being transparent about it. So we do have these enormous data gathering engines and no transparency. And where you lack transparency, you have every right to be quite nervous. Now in 2010, I resigned from Facebook very publicly, full-page article in an Australian newspaper, because I was very public about why I was, and I said I didn't want anyone else to have control over my social graph. Because at that point, research was starting to show how many things about you could be derived from your social graph. not just your political affiliation, or your sexual preference, or your income status, or whether you're going to be divorced, or whether you're going to be fat. I mean, it's amazing the amount of stuff that we were learning about sociographs. And I did not feel comfortable with Facebook having dominion over that. So I opted myself out from that, which is interesting, because I live in a Facebook-free world, which is unusual these days. But I've still also seen it really doesn't matter anymore because Facebook has woven itself so completely into the fabric of the culture. And when I open my browser, there's probably still 10 Facebook cookies in any site I go to that I can't really do anything about. I can try to block them, but who knows? And so when you have a complete adoption of a technology whose essential service is surveillance disguised as social sharing, then you've got a framework for control that we know because we know that they ultimately the news feeds, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, that I find profoundly disturbing.
[00:48:17.229] Kent Bye: Well, then you add in biometric data, you have where you're looking, where you are moving your hands, potentially even your emotional states, EEGs to actually start to derive even more information about what's happening inside of your mind. And so, I think there's a shadow side of a lot of this technology around all of this, and It feels like it's already jumped the shark beyond what even should have already gone. But yet, VR just feels like a technology that pushes it even further. And I feel fundamentally conflicted about it, because it feels like it's just going to get even worse.
[00:48:54.781] Mark Pesce: It was interesting watching Jensen give his big car AI demonstration, and there was the AI assistant. And the AI assistant was doing eye gaze tracking and all of this stuff. And it could do voice analysis, and so it could know if you were stressed in a particular situation. which may be fine for the car AI to know, but is the car AI sharing that information with your insurance company? Do you get a lower rate if you're driving while you're calm? Does it start charging you more or does it in fact preemptively switch to the AI driver because it has made a decision that you're impaired either emotionally or perhaps because you've had something to drink. And so there's a whole framework of ethics that need to be put in place here. You can't have these kinds of technologies without having strong ethical frameworks in place before you roll these technologies out, right? We're now hearing about the trolley problem, right? If you're going to hit someone by staying straight, but hit someone else if the car detours, or hurt you if the car detours, is it programmed to hurt you? Is it programmed to hurt another person? So these are actually ethical questions. They're not technology questions. A programmer is going to give you the options. A programmer cannot make the decisions there. And so you really do have to take a look at any new technology like this inside of an ethical framework. And maybe this is, again, another area where a more philosophical and mystical point of view can offer some assistance, because all of those are pretty heavily invested in ethical frameworks. And if they're not, run away from them, because they're not going to be good for you or anyone near you. But you need to be able to then come back to that. And part of what we need to do, and I've certainly been a big champion of this, is make sure that engineers get at least a background, a basic background in ethics so that they can understand the consequential natures of the decisions they're putting into code.
[00:50:37.398] Kent Bye: I just read a profile of a man in San Francisco who is starting this movement of unplugging from technology, not getting addicted to phones, and trying to embed a deeper sense of ethics within technology. It seems like there's little pockets of people who are recognizing the value of not being connected to your mobile phones 24-7 and looking at it 130 times a day. What do you perhaps be more present to other parts of their body beyond just their mind. And I think that when you think about ethics, I just think of it's just more compassion and empathy and operating more from the heart rather than from logic or the brain. And so I don't know what has to happen for a larger movement within the industry. It feels like it's a bigger issue in the larger tech industry, but I'm just trying to have these conversations and talk about it, but I don't necessarily know what the next steps are to really address some of these bigger issues of privacy and ethics.
[00:51:52.756] Mark Pesce: The area that is now most visible and the area that's broken most is security and connected devices. So you have the Mirai botnet that went and attacked the DNS servers and all of this stuff, and of course it was because these devices all shipped with default passwords that couldn't be changed. And you have a generation of consumers who are basically, because Apple did their job well, expect that they can take something out of the box, they can plug it in, it will just work. And they don't really need to fuss with it more than that. They might have to do a little configuration. But they don't normally need to think about the security settings, or they hadn't needed to. And we now have devices that are unsafe by design, right? They're designed to be open when you plug them in when they shouldn't be. And they're also hard to change. And, you know, you may not have a high-end vendor doing that, but you're going to have a crapware vendor doing that, maybe out of Shenzhen or out of Thailand or out of Taiwan or Mexico or wherever, who isn't spending the time on the kind of firmware and the user experience design and all of these things. Because technology products are experiences now. They aren't just things, they're experiences, and so you need to think about them comprehensively. But a consumer sees something on the shelf and goes, oh, here, this is $14, the other one's $40. Well, that cost differential, in some sense, went into user experience design. What they don't see is the additional cost of what happens when that device gets hacked into and starts to attack Estonia, or whatever happens, because there's no consequential connection around making that decision, because they just think they're buying a device and that's all they need to. We need to fix that problem first. If we don't fix that problem, if we just hand wave that problem away, we are going to fail at all of the other problems. Because if we're allowing people to buy devices that are unsafe for them and others now, why would we ever stop doing that? What would be the magic moment that would ever do that?
[00:53:44.669] Kent Bye: Great. And finally, what do you see as kind of the ultimate potential of virtual reality and what it might be able to enable?
[00:53:54.704] Mark Pesce: One of the things that we learned very early on from a project called Virtual NYSE, so this is 98. was that you could increase the human capacity to understand data that was being presented to them. If you took text versus well-designed VR, you could do it as much as 5,000 times. So we can make ourselves, I don't want to say smarter, 5,000 times smarter, but perhaps 5,000 times more capable of coming to an understanding. And that's probably your best case approximation. But even if we can do it 100 times, and we can do that on a regular basis, that's an incredible thing. I don't know that that's the final solution, but I think that opens the door to us. And just to the listeners, if you think about reading a page of text versus looking at an infographic. Same information, but you're absorbing it almost instantly because it's being presented in a way that we want it presented. We have a generation now to figure out how to take everything we need to know about the world and to present it in a way that makes best sense to us. Once we do that, then maybe we get to start to ask questions about what the final goal is. I think right now what we have is a lot of what's going to be really interesting work, but also very important foundational work.
[00:55:13.281] Kent Bye: And is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say?
[00:55:20.510] Mark Pesce: I am so excited. I literally tell people now, it's like the doorbell rang in May of this year and VR was back on the lawn saying, I'm back, moving back in. You know, to see what's happened, even just in the last six months, has been exponential. Not just in my time and attention, but how much is going on. There is so much to do and there is an amazing generation of young people who are stepping up to it. You know, I think that folks like Tony and I can give as much advice as we can, and we can take the little things that we're interested in and try to do our best on them. But I think for everyone else, there is so much to do right now. It is an incredibly exciting time. It is like the web in 1994. And I have a friend named Kevin. He invented the web button. And I think everyone thinks, what do you mean he invented the web button? He means he attached a link to a picture, because that's what web buttons are. No one had done it before that. And he did it, Kevin Hughes. He did it back in 1993, because it just needed to be done. This is where we are in VR right now. We don't really have any standard interfaces. Every time you throw up another app, everyone has to learn a different way of using it. all of these things and you know these are not bad things it's just that everything is so new but it also means that we have a lot of learning to do and we have a lot of teaching to do and we have to do that with a lot of humility because to quote William Goldman, no one knows anything.
[00:56:47.113] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. It was great to really catch up and dive in here. Thank you very much. So that was Mark Pesce. He's the co-inventor of VRML as well as the spec writer for the Mixed Reality Service. So, I have a number of different takeaways about this interview. First of all, I'm not quite sure if this Mixed Reality Service spec, which is basically an open web spec, is going to be applicable for these walled garden apps, whether it's from Snapchat or Facebook or Google. But it seems like this is a system that could be helpful across the entire industry. So I'm hoping that it really takes root and is something that people can start to adopt. So I think it just makes sense. It's kind of like the DNS to be able to control permissions around these different physical locations. So maybe you want to have people come to your restaurant or even just your backyard or your home and just allow them to play whatever augmented reality games that they want to. I think the big lesson of Pokemon Go was that it got people out of their normal routines. It was getting them outside, exercising, walking around, exploring parts of their neighborhoods that they were never really interested in before. But whenever you start to overlay this narrative or game on top of it, then it was breaking them out of their loops. And I think that Facebook made a pretty huge and somewhat surprising strategic shift at their F8 conference. So Snapchat has had these filters for a long time where you're able to look at your face and put something on top of it. Now, Facebook is basically open sourcing that, where they've created this AR studio so that anybody could start to create those types of Snapchat filters into whatever app that you want to create. They also have all sorts of crazy, amazing artificial intelligence that can detect your room. It can make it into a 3D mesh. You can start to put things on top of these spaces. You're basically talking about the first layer and iteration of these augmented reality games that are starting to come out. And Facebook just is going all in on this. To me, I was really quite surprised. I just kind of always thought of augmented reality as something that's going to kind of follow on much later after VR has really proved itself out. But we really kind of have this parallel development of these phone-based augmented reality apps. And I think that glasses are going to come at some point. If I were to put a date on it, I would say nine years from now. Everybody's going to have augmented reality glasses and we may have some sort of convergence when it comes to both virtuality and augmented reality glasses. Maybe you'll be able to have the same experience where you're able to have one pair of glasses and be able to completely shut out the entire environment and go into a VR experience. But when you're out in the world, you have AR types of experiences. Now, for me, I think there's all sorts of unanswered privacy questions around that. What's it mean to be out in public and to have other people wear glasses that could potentially identify you and record and store that information? I mean, it just starts to get into all sorts of social and cultural issues that I think Google Glass came into, which is that whenever you have a camera and you're walking around and you don't actually know if you're being recorded or broadcasted, it kind of creeps people out. So to me it was a little bit surprising that Facebook is kind of going all in with all of this without having a clear ethical or privacy discussion or framework around everything. That's something that I certainly hope to continue to have more discussions about to unpack that more But just looking at this mixed reality service I think that it's gonna be a crucial part of permissioning as to what's even possible Because Mark Pesce was making the point that you know in Zuckerberg's keynote. He's just allowing people to Spray-paint augmented reality graffiti on your home now. You could say okay. What's what's the problem with that if If this is kind of like the public web, where if you walk by a building and there's a piece of augmented reality art, that could be kind of like graffiti, that it may actually be in contradiction to the symbols and the meaning that is trying to be in that physical space. So maybe the owner of that property wants to have control over that. And right now, there's actually no distributed or universal way to give those owners the right for that. And to me, it was really fascinating to hear more about Mark's esoteric background into these hermetic traditions of magic and Wicca and just how he uses it as an ethical framework, but also kind of some level of inspiration to have the world speak through this technology and to kind of give the world a voice through this metadata that's being served by the Mixed Reality Service, but it's allowing you permission to do things or not do things. So check out mixedrealityservice.org for more information on that. I also just wanted to kind of loop back into some of the discussions that we were having about ethics, because this discussion back in January has kind of stuck with me, and it's been just coming up more and more over my coverage over the last number of months. And when I was at CES, there was just a lot of kind of creepy things that they were showing. Just as an example, right before I talked to Mark, we were just in a keynote by NVIDIA, and they had this artificial intelligence that was reading your emotions and feeding that into a computer to kind of track your emotional state as you were driving. And it was kind of made without comment, but not really asking the question, well, do I actually want my emotions recorded while I'm driving? that's really personal and intimate information. And, you know, is that going to be sent to the insurance company if something goes wrong? If they say, oh, well, you were in a fit of rage and we have the data to prove it from this AI. So obviously there's going to be a lot of benefits for this technology, but there's also a lot of ethical issues that I think need to be discussed in a more broader way. And for him, the types of questions that he's really interested in is, With these immersive technologies, how does it reveal yourself? How does it reveal yourself to others? And how do you reveal your intention? So these are all kind of like depth psychology, inner psychological perspectives of looking at the technology more of as a way to connect deeper to your inner life. And that's what I kind of see is happening with these technologies, is that you can start to take an inner expression of the depths of your soul and be able to project that out as art, or have it in your day-to-day life as some sort of reflection, whether it's your heart rate, your biometric data, or some other representation of what's happening inside of you. Also, just like as these different systems are being developed and formed, Mark is quoting Jaron Lanier who said essentially that the shape of our interfaces shapes the form of our communications. So all of this is happening within some sort of economic framework that is shaping a certain limit of interaction that we have. and we're kind of in this media of attractions phase. I had this discussion with a media theorist talking about the early phases of new media and technology before the business model really starts to settle in and we're really in that experimental phase right now and it's super exciting because anything is possible and yet nothing is really super sustainable and so we just have a lot of enthusiasm without a clear business model or path forward and so as those two converge and the money starts to come in, then it's going to change and shape these interfaces as we move forward. And so that's just something to keep in mind, especially as we start to think about these more walled garden platforms that may be the Facebooks or Googles or Snapchats of the world, if they have these specific frameworks and apps that are being sold through their app ecosystem, or if it's going to be something on the open web. And I think there's going to be a little bit of balance between those two realms. So looking at the mixed reality surface, I think it's based on the web right now. But my question is, is this going to be able to make this jump and be applicable across all the different augmented reality domains, whether it's a Facebook app, Snapchat, Google, or WebVR, WebXR application that's happening on the web? So that's all that I have for today. I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And if you enjoyed the podcast, then please do spread the word, tell a friend, and become a donor. Just a few dollars a month makes a huge difference. So donate today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.