Social Commons for the Physical World Platform

Tish Shute holds such great interviews for UgoTrade, that it should be considered a crime not to read them if you are an augmented reality fan or professional. Her last interview with Anselm Hook is especially interesting and engaging.

However, Tish’s pieces are usually quite long, and may be intimidating. In order to lure you into reading the whole interview with Hook, here are a few hand picked quotes:

Even things like Google Maps or mapping systems we think are so great are really just kind of almost an aspect of a hyper-local view. You actually don’t really care what is happening 10 blocks away or 100 blocks away. If you could satisfy those same interests and needs within a single block, one block away, you would probably be really happy. You really just want to satisfy needs and interests, find ways to contribute, or get yourself fed, or whatever it is you want. And AR seemed to be the playground to really explore the human condition.

There is a real risk of our augmented reality world being owned by interests which are not our own. There is a real question of when you hold up that AR goggle, what are you going to see? Are you going to see corporate advertising? Are you going to see your friends’ comments or criticisms? It is going to be an Iran or a democracy, right? It is unclear.

We, as a community, need to assert an ownership, kind of a commons, over how computers will translate what they see to information that we perceive.

As we move towards a physical internet where there’s no clicking and there’s no interface and the computer’s just telling you what it thinks you’re looking at, translating, you know, an image of a billboard to the name of the rock star who’s on that billboard, or translating the list of ingredients on a can of soup to the source outlets where it thinks that, those ingredients came from. When you have that kind of automated mediation, the question of trust definitely arises.

Search needs to be inverted, trust filters need to be built. We need to democratically own our data institutions. We don’t right now. That will be more of a concern, especially with AR.

Again, this is a very concentrated version of a most excellent interview. The ultimate augmented reality experience will be much different from today’s web. Instead of entering a search string and getting 10 results as possible matches, we will look at the world, and for each physical item we will get the first “I’m feeling lucky” result, as Google has determined for us.

If a new data provider finds it very challenging getting into the Google’s organic results these days, imagine how hard it would be for such a provider to win the first and only spot in tomorrow’s augmented search results. That’s assuming Google will keep playing fair and show results by how well they fit the search query (let’s just assume they are currently playing fair).

On the other hand, democratizing the outernet’s search engine may result with increased spam results. You may look at the Venus of Milo through your AR goggles, and get ads about prolonging your manhood. Wikipedia successfully fight spammers and hooligans. But, is there another Wikipedia like enterprise? Can the whole outernet be moderated by a limited number of industrious editors?

I don’t have an answer for any of those questions, but it seems to me that’s those are the most exciting and important problems we can try and tackle in the coming year. Tish advances the idea of a federated Google Wave-based infrastructure for AR. What do you think?

5 Responses

  1. It shouldnt be done in any one way, and certainly not only moderated by a select few.
    If its a distributed system, then various channels of information could try their own various methods of spam prevention. That would include wikipedia-like systems, but also just read-only channels, private channels, public channels with auto-filters etc.
    Users would tend to support layers without spam problems, and thus (Id hope) a survival of the fittest effect happens.

    The other thing to remember is that severs could remove spammers *and all the posts they have made* in one step, as its hosted content linked to an account.
    You cant do that too email. You can ban their email, but it wont retroactively remove all their junk.

  2. It’ll always be a battle versus black hats and white hats. Spam is like viruses. You just know you’re going to get sick every now and then, but its helpful to take your shots.

  3. @DarkFlame – but who would help you find the right channel? Even though everyone can create his/her own channel, there may only be one future “google” (or one that dominates the market)

  4. I’m not sure with AR we even have a clear idea what a search engine will be yet.
    For wave-based AR you can always look up a wave by its tags, but that isnt really “search”.

    When we start looking at AR search on a big scale is it going to be active or passive? Whats done sever-side and what client side?

    We can metatag our 3d mesh’s and look them up like a text search, but metatags are hardly trustworthy. (which is why few websearchs use them at all these days).
    Will we need to develope sophisticated “mesh recognition” technology like we have image recognition today? Something to give the search-engines a hint over what they are looking at?

    I think there’s so many unanswered questions about how to get information there’s going to be room for a lot of new players if they have innovative ideas.
    We might eventually have one dominating Google, but it wont necessary be Google.

    The only thing I think we need to worry about in the short term is whatever structure we go for is open enough to allow various ideas and experiments in content filtering and retrieval to foolish, and we dont add anything systemically into it thats open for abuse by a single party.

  5. @rouli

    The layer that dominates the market will be that which is most enjoyable to experience, selected out of those whose organizations are large enough to assure user security.

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