Saturday, November 08, 2008

More on Augmented Reality

I've written a LOT of posts on AR that I don't post, but I'd like to briefly discuss a slightly advanced reason that AR will change everything.

AR is, at least in early stages, almost entirely about tagging. This is what everyone thinks about. People tag restaurants with reviews, billboards with party plans, street corners with historical info, whatever they want. This is all well and good, and it could evolve into some extremely useful stuff, but the killer app for this kind of tagging is tagging people.

The difficulty with tagging people is that people tend to move around. So you can't simply record the tag as being at a specific spot: you have to assign the tag to a specific person and it has to somehow follow them around. If you don't mind limiting tagging to other AR-users, you can probably set up some kind of ident broadcast, so you can look up tags attached to their identity. There are other methods, but they're a lot clumsier.

Anyway, the point is that you can tag people.

This is a whole lot more useful than tagging places or things. It's an instant reputation, first off: you can look at someone and see what people think of them. Second off, it's great way to know what people's interests are... because I can easily tag myself.

If I'm walking down the street with a "let's have lunch!" tag, everyone on the arnet will see that I'm looking for lunch and would probably be happy to have it with them. Furthermore, they might see tags like "science geek", "go-go-gadget-genome!", "", "who wants custom ARt?" (That's, um, augmented-reality art. ARt. I just pawned it!)

This can be further strengthened by having contextual tags. For example, I might limit the "let's have lunch!" tags to only people I've met... or only people with some of the same interests, or only people with more green tags (like) than yellow tags (dislike). This means that if someone sees my "let's have lunch!" tag, they can feel fairly confident that I will, in fact, be happy to have lunch with them specifically. Talk about an ice breaker!

Those kinds of tags, mixed with the reputation tags, allow a far higher rate of connection between people than otherwise possible. People can easily connect to me, but they also connect to anyone who's ever had an opinion on me, via my tags. They may also have opinions on some of the people who have opinions about me, and that might diminish or strengthen the tags those people have attached to me: it can be a very complicated situation, but it's made completely transparent, and the end result is that anyone looking at me will know who I am. Not just my name, but what I act like, what kind of circles I move in, what kind of accomplishments I've had...

I think that would change the nature of community!


moonside said...

hi .. great work with the site, i always look forward to new posts when they pop up in the feed reader.

anyway, this is off-topic, sorry, but i couldn't find an email address on the site. i was just wondering why you took down the MONEY post from october.

darkflame said...

I think tagging people would also lead the ultimate test of the whole 6-degree-of-seperation theory.

I mean, it would be easy to see if your on hollyday and you see someone that knows someone you already know.

isaac said...

I like the implications this technology has for the death of anonymity: While governments are developing technology to track our every move and map our personalities, this AR tech subverts it and makes it a tool for the everyday person.

The protocol design would have to be quite interesting and game-y... With something like this, you'd need some decent spam-fighting tools built in too, or people would be walking around with profanities taped to their heads by evey douchbag they come across.

darkflame said...

In AR future (I can make puns too!), Spam will be fun to deal with.

We will lift our probably stylus-like controll things in mid-air and blast spam from the sky.

Or alternatively, if future tech goes with a more glove-like controller, then we will make our figures shaped like a gun and also blast it.

Either way, we will littarly be blasting spam to add it to a blocklist ;)

Craig Perko said...

Moonside: I took it down because it was too aggressive, but I've put it back up for you:

Isaac & Darkflame: I don't know what the protocol would be, but you have to remember that spammers/griefers are people with reputations, too. If someone who has a reputation for spamming posts a tag, it's going to be flatly rejected by most people's rigs: they'll say "this tag is from a guy that spams all the time, so I won't show it!"

darkflame said...

But I think we would today...people signing up with many accounts just to spam using automatic software.

If people absolutely wanted to aviod spam they could simple limit their enviroment to only allow a whitelist of users. Effectively making their overlays into just a private channel.

I think though, for most, the odd spammer wont be too much of a problem, and the advantages of having a semi-open world view would have too much advantages.

Frankly, theres so many interesting possibilitys is hard to know what will turn out to be the most adoptive method.

Maybe, for instance, it would be better to have things "less connected" to you appear fainter in your view then those strongly connected. (untill selected).

Or messages from friends and family visible from a further distance.

Or any number of dozens of options.

I think the world would be like a mix between photoshop layers and IRC channels really. Selective filtering of multiple catagorys of tags, public and private overlays etc.

Craig Perko said...

Yeah, I think that's all likely. However, it is important to remember that a big point of this is to build up a reputation: people who start up a new account just to spam don't have a reputation (and will rapidly gain a bad one), so their tags will rarely be of consequence.

It's possible that an entire group of spammers will create new accounts and compliment each other so that they have positive reps, but this, too, is flawed: those positive reps have no chain leading to you (my friend's friend's friend) so have no meaning to you...

I tend to think in these terms rather than thinking in terms of how users will have to actively deal with the problem. The infrastructure should deal with the issue, I say.

I would prefer the layers (I call them "arnets") to be more about what you want to see and do, rather than what you want to avoid seeing or doing.

darkflame said...

Yes, the degree-of-seperation techique would be a good method to reduce or even eliminate spam tags on people.

I think the problem I'm thinking is not everything that is usefull can be done with friend-of-friend style tagging.

For instance, if I go into a resturant, it would be usefull to see floating by the menu comments from what customers that day thought of the various dish's.
Its too unlikely that a friend-of-a-friend would have gone there conviently before I did.
So in this case you would have to have tags that are "totaly public".
(you wouldnt want the resurant moderating them either...because they would naturaly be quite bias).

Id do agree the infurstructure should be designed to minimise spam by its nature.
But I think we need both personal and public tagging methods to get the mostfullness in day to day life.

Craig Perko said...

Hmmm... I don't think that's true. More precisely, I think it's only true because we're approaching this stuff from our current viewpoint.

You would surely be able to "view all" if you like, but if you want restaurant reviews, you would just link to someone that writes reviews, probably with a contextual "reviews only" link, or similar.

Then not only would you see his reviews, but you'd see the reviews of everyone else connected to him. And by "connected to him", I mean like this:

Someone else has linked to him and a girl who reviews movie theatres. Therefore, the girl's reviews show up in your reality (weakly), even though the restaurant reviewer and the girl don't know each other at all.

When you see a review you think is particularly apt, just green-tag it and you'll automatically see that person's reviews with priority, and be linked to other reviewers in his circle.

This results in an extremely high level of connectivity. There is no need for "public" tags, because you'll only be two or three steps away from any given individual... good steps (I like his reviews) or bad steps (everyone ignores this troll).

Christopher Weeks said...

I love this stuff.

I know you're specifically not concerned with how we capture the person's identity for use in the ARNet, but that stuff is cool too -- image recognition, global tracking, subdermal RFID, etc.

One bit that makes me wonder if we're imagining things differently is "You would surely be able to 'view all' if you like..."

I doubt it. There will be private reputation networks that key on the ID and tag it in ways that are meant only for members of the network. That is simply bound to be true, so am I misunderstanding you or missing the point or what? And example will probably be a record of how you tip. Every waiter in the city (world) will know -- before you're seated, if you're a cheap-skate. But you won't know what they're seeing.

I do think that most people around us are scared shitless of the loss of privacy this (and other unstoppable technologies) are bringing to us.

Craig Perko said...

I simply meant there there would be some way to view all publicly available tags. Most people wouldn't want to view all those tags, so they would limit their views.

Anyhow, I actually have quite a system worked out in my head, which means that I sometimes forget that everyone else doesn't have the same context.

darkflame said...

I'd just like to say I'm not scared of privacy issues one tiny bit.
Freedom of information..even our nothing to be scared of.

If we do something publicly, it should be publicly knowable, imo.
If I walk down the street, and anyone can see me, thats as good as the world knowing, imo.

The time to get scared is when there is inequality in privacy...when a small group has information on a large one, but the large group has little information on the small one.

But systems like this I think will counter that.
Citizens will gain increasingly more information about their leaders.