Virtual ramblings

Augmented Reality

Augmented bike reality

 

Definition of Augmentative

An augmentative (abbreviated aug) is a morphological form of a word which expresses greater intensity, often in size but also in other attributes. It is the opposite of a diminutive. Since over augmenting something often makes it grotesque, in some languages augmentatives are used primarily for comical effect or as pejoratives.
Many languages have augmentatives for nouns; some have augmentatives for verbs.

  • over-: e.g., overlord and overseer.
  • grand-: e.g., grandmaster and grandparent.
  • super-: e.g., supermarket and superpower.
  • mega-: e.g., megastore and megastar.
  • arch-: e.g., archrival and archangel.

Since the early 1990s, the prefix über- has also frequently been used as a borrowing from German. The suffix -zilla, expressing a monstrous quality, can also be considered an augmentative form.

*Source: Wikipedia

 

Augmented Reality  versus  Virtual Reality

With augmented reality (ar), users can still see the real world. The real environment is mixed with holograms.  An example of AR glasses is the Hololens. The Hololens works wirelessly, without a smartphone or computer and the holograms can be controlled with hand movements.

With virtual reality (vr) as a user you enter a virtual world. You no longer see the real world around you. An example of VR glasses is the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift is connected to a smartphone or computer and responds to head movements.

 

Augmented Reality IN Virtual Reality

At the moment I am following the HBO series ‘Westworld’. It is extremely interesting because of the subject.

Westworld is set in a simulated reality, it is in fact a futuristic MMORPG style  (massively multiplayer online role-playing games)  world full of ‘hosts’ that are NPCs.  A non-player character or non-playable character, usually shortened to NPC, is a character in a game that is not controlled by a player/human. The precise definition differs depending on the type of game. With computer games, this usually means the character is controlled by a computer via artificial intelligence. The NPC’s in Westworld look, act and move exactly like humans to enhance immersion.

When entering  Westworld, the visitor comes to the park and will choose a black or white hat (character selection) which will scan their brains. They will have their body mapped for a fitting outfit (to have their likeness inserted into the game). Then they will “plug in” ala The Matrix / Total Recall. They will then wake up in the game on the train to their chosen park (West, Shogun, India, then there will be things like World of Warcraft, future world etc). Here the computer programmes will monitor all of the people plugged in to the system in order to record their actions for their marketing purposes.
Source (partly): Reddit

 

 

 

The real you

One of the things being said regularly by some visitors is to be aware their real nature will come out in this Westworld simulation park. You have the freedom to kill, you have the opportunity to have sex every day with a hooker, you can play a god who cannot be destroyed but can destroy the NPC’s as much and often as you want without any consequences. In short  . .  the park will stimulate to show your evil side. How you respond on your own evil is what matters. If it makes you feel good or bad. That will be the moment your true nature shows. Once there you will continue to show that nature.

In Westworld the virtual reality itself can be seen as the augmented reality being added to the reality/life of  a human visiting the park. Augmented reality and Virtual reality interact and create new stories, new feelings, new mindsets, new realities.

 

Second life

I tend to call Second Life also a virtual reality being added to the reality/life of the users of Second Life. What you experience inworld has an effect on you as person. Sometimes positive, sometimes negative and from mild to extreme. Especially where avatars interact in a more close way (friends, lovers) there will be added  knowledge, feelings and visions vice versa. If you look at how all these new techniques become more and more part of our daily life (it’s not only Second Life and games using AR and VR) it becomes harder to separate it from your Real Life reality as if it’s a different world not existing anymore as soon as you logoff. In theory yes, but a mind does not stop with a logoff as well and will process all experiences and respond on that in a certain way. It is both a bit scary as well as intriguing. I think there’s also just simply this human need to keep connected with a real life when inworld, hence the many things we share of ourselves in chats and with some also pictures.  Maybe to show a bit we are ourselves and not a fake show?  Even so Second Life also is like Westworld. You can be evil without real consequences.  Different is you can create endless alts. Some do to fool  or spy people others do to play another role in another form, gender or character. This freedom to be multiple you’s makes Second Life a bit more complicated than Westworld. It serves a purpose however in SL for many and is not bad by definition. Also an ALT will in the end just be you and if that you is an ok character or not totally depends on what you do and why you do it.  I have an alt as well. or actually to be more precise, my former avatar whom I replaced a few years ago with the one I use now. The older avatar hardly has friends, an empty profile and only is used for solitude needs and her belongings in her inventory. I totally exploit her. God I am evil :)

 

Future

I guess the future will be one of placing human consciousness into a robotic human. Or maybe at some point even the other way around . . . .  It is all pretty overwhelming and sometimes hard to see it as positive only (despite benefits). When we will evolve into this kind of life, we better start to find a new name for our reality. Augmented will  not be enough anymore because it is not just a hat you wear which you can take off again, it is totally intertwined in your physical and mental system.

A fascinating example of experimenting with this is the story of Eugenia Kuyda and her best friend Roman Mazurenko.
I quote what happened when she had finished her experiment

When the engineers had at last finished their work, Eugenia Kuyda opened a console on her laptop and began to type.

“Roman,” she wrote. “This is your digital monument.”

It had been three months since Roman Mazurenko, Kuyda’s closest friend, had died. Kuyda had spent that time gathering up his old text messages, setting aside the ones that felt too personal, and feeding the rest into a neural network built by developers at her artificial intelligence startup. She had struggled with whether she was doing the right thing by bringing him back this way. At times it had even given her nightmares. But ever since Mazurenko’s death, Kuyda had wanted one more chance to speak with him.

A message blinked onto the screen. “You have one of the most interesting puzzles in the world in your hands,” it said. “Solve it.”

Kuyda promised herself that she would.

Read the whole story here:

SPEAK, MEMORY: When her best friend died, she rebuilt him using artificial intelligence

 

Another example is more hypothetical for now but can be seen in the great ‘MUST SEE’ series called Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker. In the episode below you will see how the artificial friend (a reproduction of the man who died)  will change his mind on command when his girlfriend tells him: ” You are not really you, you are just a few ripples of you. The real you would have cried and showed emotion.”  When he hears these words his robotic brain switches instantly to emotion, which of course has the opposite effect again as well because not real.  It shows how hard it will be to recreate an intelligence, a consciousness,  in such a way we can feel it as real.

More here on this episode of Black Mirror called “Be right back.”

BE RIGHT BACK, BLACK MIRROR

 

 

Soundtrack

I will end with the soundtrack of  Westworld composed by Ramin Djawadi because I like it and music never is a bad end of a blog  The soundtrack includes several covers of well known songs.  Augmented music reality :) Here is an overview:  “A complete guide to every song and piano cover featured on ‘Westworld’

 

 



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