Posts tagged augmentation
The topic of transhumanism has been a hot one lately, for reasons that probably stretch from recent surges in bio- and physical computing to questions of economic and political equity that come out of the other end of a global recession. We’re very fortunate that two people with provocative viewpoints agreed to take part: writer, researcher and critic Paul Graham Raven and researcher, writer and anthropologist Lydia Nicholas.
Writing from photographs seems as though it should produce the same effect, sharpening the way we convert experiences and events into prose. I suspect that it also changes not only what we write but how we write it. It’s no coincidence that the rise of the selfie coincides with the age of autobiography.
We know that applications such as Google Maps, Google Earth and StreetView already acquiesce to regulations that require obscuration of government installations, private companies’ facilities in some cases, some brands, and private citizens faces and number plates—even as it works hard to decipher items like house numbers. In other words, technology is used to differentiate what we can see and not see, depending on the legal or ethical (or otherwise) standards of a particular place. For the most part, Google Maps, Google Earth and StreetView are forms of augmented reality. They digitally render reality with forms of markup, of contextual data, which adds to our perception of places. Except in the cases of blur, pixelation and, it could be argued, accidental presentation of various kinds of render ghosts—people and things only partly captured or partly presented, artifacts of digital accident or persistent memory. Some kind of determination is made that there are things present in reality that we can’t or shouldn’t see.
More completely, they’re all mostly addressing their headgear with a sunny “OK Glass.” We are in the middle of a strange five-minute demo of Google’s already iconic head-mounted computing device, Glass, and the sensation is not one of empowerment, but of awkward disorientation mixed with racing curiousity. Five minutes, give or take. How to see the future in five minutes? For some, it’s trying to find pizza or barbecue. For others, it’s attempting to video someone else. For most, it’s a slightly zombifying experience, turning slowly, staring just above the horizon, or squinting at a clock floating in front of one eye. Some are talking to their Glass, giving it short commands. Others, like me, are finding the noise level of 50-odd people all muttering to the metal on their heads falling short of the promise, the magic.