Tuesday, February 23, 2016


From Outsideness:
It’s rare for an image to become iconic so quickly . . .  
The picture was everywhere on social media, almost immediately. Zuck isn’t really looking at anyone (he’s staring forward into his own — eminently practical — dreams). The journalists are looking at what he’s showing them, and only that. We’re looking at them, asymmetrically (through social media). In other words, we’re seeing a new media system interring an old one inside itself. The press is being buried alive, in front of our eyes, and we’re (typically) trying not to laugh alongside Zuck too conspicuously, because the idea of that makes us nervous — perhaps even slightly nauseous. Everyone knows something real is happening, precisely because of its near-parodic virtuality. When people look back at this, it’s the obvious bizarre novelty of it — to us — that will look comical.
The age of VR is coming. Oh, sure, VR--even with goggles--has been around for a long time. It's like when you look up the cell phone on Wikipedia and discover that the invention was described in 1931. Huh What we are on the edge of will likely be disruptive and revolutionary in a way that the Smart Phone was to the land-line.

Maybe. The Omnivore means: we don't exactly how yet.

This blog describes what it refers to as the Smart Phone "Peace Dividend." The Omnivore submits that a closer parallel would be the technology innovations spawned by the Space Race:
The second is what Chris Anderson calls “the peace dividend of the smartphone war”: the runaway success of smartphones led to massive investments in processors and sensors. If you disassemble a modern drone, VR headset, or IoT devices, you’ll find mostly smartphone components.
This is a pretty good point: Drones or VR headsets alone would not have spurred the innovations--but smart phones did and now we can use the technology in a lot of other places.

The Advent of Cyberspace

If you are imagining that the VR Revolution might lead to people plugging in to a 3D virtual world with their headsets, what you might imagine this would be called is 'Cyberspace.' Cyberspace is a semi-popular term that now generally refers to the "nowhere" of computer systems and communications.

Gibson says he coined it 1982 in his science fiction story Burning Chrome--and he did, in the way it is meant today. But the word, itself, comes from 1960 and it dealt with non-digital architecture.

The Omnivore suspects that VR probably won't give us cyberspace work-places. It might give us some VR 3D play-grounds--but those won't (likely) be the killer app (although partnered with, say, cybersex).

What Might We See?

The odds are that something exists today--either in fiction or nascent technology (which has kind of overtaken fiction)--to which this might apply. Imagining piloting a drone with a VR headset so you appear to be flying around your neighborhood. That might actually appeal to a lot of people.

Augmented Reality is probably the "VR Headset Killer App" once the technology gets more mature. Google Glass made you look like a cyborg wearing it--but what if everyone was? What if the over-lay was really useful? You'd want one.

Consumer Telepresence. The idea of having a "robot avatar" that does stuff at the office while you are at home is only now being explored. The options are kinda goofy--but The Omnivore can tell you that being able to have your robot go and see if Bob is in his cube would be useful. Imagine police patrols of 3D, high-rez ground vehicles with detachable robots that could, for example, chase suspects through buildings?

Seeing a police robot--a ground unit--with a video screen of the operator--where the operator could see you, out run you, see in the dark, is bullet-proof, etc.? Even if the robot is not armed, that's actual presence.

These are just ideas--nascent things that we're kind of starting to toy with now--things that the smartphone peace dividend will make viable likely sooner rather than later.

We might also get Cyberspace--but won't be disruptive. Not the way the things we aren't planning on will be.

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