Through the Looking Glass Darkly

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Admittedly, I have been hesitant to wade into the AR/VR/MR world (augmented, virtual, and mixed realities) primarily because it’s a massive body of knowledge for which I feel I just don’t have the bandwidth to comprehend given everything else going on in my life.

I guess I believe it’s so far down the road in the future that I’ve got time to learn about it later. But Craig Weiss’s post,  Special Report – Hacking in the MR World — The Craig Weiss Blog has me wondering if I may be wrong.  I’m sure it’s the futuristic science fiction fan in me that makes the topic of Craig’s post so chilling to me:

Mixed Reality will become the leader in immersive experience. But what no one is paying attention to is the hacking potential.

Craig provides three mixed reality hacking scenarios that seem simple to execute by a hacker and certainly would dupe me by utilizing socially trusting moments (social conversations, a date).  In each of the scenarios, I definitely can see myself falling victim to hackers without a clue that my data was being stolen.

Craig has called upon the corporations who are driving this new technology platform to build in safeguards to protect our data.  But what do we need to do to protect ourselves?

Two major questions come to my mind.

When I do enter into these new realities what do I need to be aware of?  As we started using the internet, we all learned to not put our phone numbers our websites and how to conduct e-commerce safely.  As I wrote 10 years ago in ,the darkside reaches the blogosphere on eelearning, every technological advance has afforded con men the opportunity to take advantage of adopters of that technology.

But the case of Mixed Reality feels radically different. In the past, a healthy distrust of the technology was, in general, enough to protect us.  How do I come to trust a hologram?  What are the telltale signs of a malicious hologram?  Is this one out to get me?  Or is it really my best friend?

The second question is my decision to adopt this technology. When, why will I be compelled to adopt this technology?  I’ve been a “curiosity adopter” with much of the technology that has been introduced in my lifetime. I also do get a kick out of being an early adopter. The ability to access more information and to communicate more effectively where the two drivers of my adoption of the internet.  Voluntarily providing my credit card number in a secured form is very different than exposing my deepest secrets to a hologram I’m on a date with.

While I think I would argue with Craig’s statement that we are just a few years from the widespread adoption of MR, I do think that we need to begin thinking through what it will mean for us who will end up using it.  What do we need to know?  How do we make sense of a mixed reality that may not always be looking out for our best interests? We know how to protect ourselves in the real world.  We can’t assume that it will be the same in a manufactured mixed reality.

What do you think? Are you ready for AR/VR/MR?  How should we approach these new realities?  Should we?  What will compel you to adopt it?  Please share your thoughts below in the comments to this post.

Featured image: “Gamescom 2015 Cologne Sony Morpheus Virtual Reality”
by dronepicr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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