Imagine wearing sunglasses that know what you’re looking at. It’s now possible with Audio AR, which adds an audible layer of information to everyday activities. Your experience changes as you turn your head.
“It’s amazing,” Saschka said. “AR headphones were joked about but they’re actually like glasses that can register rotation. The millimeter-accurate positioning means I could sit down on a chair and hear thoughts of a person that in my narrative sat there a year ago, and as I walk away, the sound becomes quieter. You could create a whole narrative overlay of a city purely in audio. It’s hugely fascinating.”
The technology was announced by Bose, mostly known for its high-end headphones, at SXSW this year. Use cases of Bose AR (see what they did there?) include the simulation of historic events at landmarks while you’re traveling, providing more information about a painting you’re approaching in a museum, translating a sign you’re reading, or helping you navigate an airport.
5. Our data is biased.
AI, which requires large data sets to power neural networks, is flawed because all of our data is inherently biased.
Algorithms would, for example, link an image of a kitchen with a woman, which needs to be addressed. “At Facebook we always asked ourselves, ‘Why are we doing this?’ and ‘Should we be doing this?,’” Ana said, revealing that there is a whole organization inside of Facebook that’s been set up to start looking at societal issues. Companies are now hiring consultants to retrain the systems and data sets.
“We might think a data-based system is neutral,” Saschka agreed, “but unless you actively countersteer, the data will just reinforce what’s there.”
“We need to ask ourselves if the next round of capital that we’re going to raise is going to change the direction or the ethics of the company,” Ana said. “Don’t be silent, express your voice, and be sure you maintain the authenticity within your craft. That’s going to be really important.”
Without a doubt, immersive technologies like AI, AR, and VR are driving the next wave of design, and opening up creative opportunities that just a few years ago were the realm of science fiction. Some of it is still a little too rudimentary, and we need to be mindful of what kind of data we feed our systems, but traditionally very tech-heavy industries are now turning to creatives to create experiences that have an impact on the outside world and bring a human aspect to the technology.
The time is now to really embrace the technology, the panel agreed. “When you pitched a project, people used to ask why I was using VR,” Saschka said. “I always found that so offensive because no one asked you why you’ve written a book and not directed a movie. You need to embrace what’s unique about the medium.”
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