The above video went viral last week, turns out it was an created by a group of Canadian students at Centre NAD for a class. The object was to design a viral video, 37 million views later they won. I discovered this via YouTube and traced back through the over 42,000 comments that it was, in fact, a student project—-I was totally fooled on first look. This video was brilliantly done, with truly convincing details like the low-fi everyman-in-the-park filming, and being sure not to overplay the animated eagle and falling baby. The way in which the bar of entry for shaping reality these days is ever-lowered with the insanely powerful tools we have at our fingertips is mind bending. The seamless fabrication of reality is both inspiring and deeply disconcerting.
After coming off the implications of the above video, my daughter Tess was playing with the AR (Augmented Reality) Game Cards that came with Miles’ Nintendo 3DS. I was truly blown away to find my kitchen table become a field of combat for an attacking dragon. The experimentation they’re doing with some basic Augmented Reality in a handheld gaming device like the 3DS is crazy. I’m just beginning to realize that the future arrived a while ago, but I missed it because I was sure it was supposed to look like a Ridley Scott film. We’re in one of those moments wherein technology is fundamentally challenging the landscape of our reality in simultaneously amazing and scary ways. Much like the advent of the car or plane, our cultural sense of space and time are being altered, with technology like 3D animation and augmented reality we further erode any monolithic idea of truth as well. I think we’re entering a moment in which the once ostensibly stark distinction between the virtual and the real can be blurred routinely by just about anyone with a computer. For me it reamins a strange oscillation between exhilaration and cultural vertigo.
I started thinking how sick it would be if something like Phylo game had AR Cards? The possibilities there are, indeed, wild—it occurred to me tonight at my kitchen table that immersive and contextualized augmented reality environments for exploration is not on the horizon—it’s pretty much here. So crazy. I guess 3D television is finally starting to make some sense to me 🙂 Now where is my totem?
I love this:
“I’m just beginning to realize that future arrived a while ago, I missed it because I was sure it was supposed to look like a Ridley Scott film.”
Me too though part of me was afraid that film would be Black Hawk Down.
I cleaned up the crazy grammar and spelling on this post since I wrote it, it was a late night blast without concern for readability 😉
Your comment (which made me LOL) made me return to this one and clean it up, so thanks. And Black Hawk Down was absolutely not the film I had in mind. I was thinking more in the way of Robin Hood. Oh Ridley, what happened to your awesome? I was so ready to relive the splendor of Gladiator.
Augmented reality isn’t impressing me in the edu-vendor sphere so far. It’s lots of frosting and that’s about it. I haven’t seen what the DS does with it.
I like the idea of HUD with contextualized information etc. but I see that as a deepening of reality rather than a blurring- kind of like ESP (People doing that stuff are wild. Old link from 06 but plenty of people messing with this now.).
It seems for AR to be much more than a metadata, real world background, or advertisement/entertainment layer then it has to start actively interacting with the environment or fundamentally altering my perception of what is happening (this would be the semi-dystopian view). Clearly lawyers and porn are already in the mix so it’s likely to be big.
To be fair, I’ve only seen augmented reality on a few occasions through iPhones and Androids that layer advertising on top of a map—not all that intriguing. That said, I know the field is far more complex than that, but I was taken by what I saw as an opening with the 3DS AR Cards game Tess was playing. I’m not pretending AR has arrived and can be rolled out for education in some packaged way, but I think it is there enough to start imagining what is posible. It was crazy to see Tess interact with her surroundings through a pretty cheap, consumer device. And while the interaction is still quite limited,–you can move around and trigger targets in 3 dimensions—it was still that much more than what I was expecting—hence the late night post. I’ve been pretty skeptical of the whole idea until this bit opened up the window for me of what it might be, and to some degree the technology is there—not unlike Tupac hologram which I consider augmented unreality.
I was kinda taken with this scene from Ghost Protocol and the optical interaction with reality that would really have to be there for it to be what you are suggesting (which I know isnt there yet, but it is intriguing).
Also, the Golden Eagle struck as a form of DIY augmented reality—in that people can;t really separate it. it doesn;t necessarily enhance reality as much as blur the distinctions which is deeply intriguing to me in terms of mediated reality more generally. Wikipedia notes, when defining augmented reality, that it should “enhance reality” —but the more I think about it I’m not sure that’s possible—and your idea above nails that :
That’s seems right to me, for AR won’t so much enhance reality as alter it through how we interact with it, and vice versa. In that regard, you are right, it’s not here yet, but even beginning to imagine that as possible through a handheld gaming device was the source of my excitement. In that way it’s kinda cool because the technical part is a doorway into the philosophical implications it will have on reality, which seems the most interesting thing about technology.
I can see the real power in showing a group of students how effective video 3d animation can make millions of people believe an eagle can pickup a 20 lbs child—that’s power. Now, what happens when this is a something we can manufacture in real time and space—kinda like the Owls in Blade Runner–or the replicants for that matter. This is where it all leads, and I’m finally understanding why I should be excited about that space give it might be closer than we think. And for me there is a great rift in understanding the idea of relativity once we can fragment reality into potentially 5 billion pieces—that’s a mind-blowing concept that is both scary and intriguing as an idea more than a reality. That like you said, will be sorted out by the porn industry and the lawyers.
I’m a total downer lately (always?). I wasn’t trying to crush your post. I am curious about the mix of AR and the Kinect style interfaces. I mainly see the edu versions of these things and they are not good.
I think I agree that the line between FX and AR is whether it’s live or not. Eagle Eats Baby video wouldn’t count for me.
My goal was to convince you that putting a magnet in your hand was a great idea (I’d also like to know someone who tattoos their eyes– something that’s far more popular historically than I realized.).
I’m pretty sure that a golden eagle could take off with a toddler based on what they do to goats.
Now I’m just waiting for it to really happen (both eagle attacks and next level AR).
You’re not a downer at all, and there is still nothing industrial bava made that Woodward can crush 🙂 It’s funny you get that impression of being a downer, when I like the fact you are actually thinking about what I wrote which makes me better and forces me dig in and think about the implications more. Never apologize for demanding sense. More comments should do that. Also, I was late to responding to your first comment because I was actually get a corneal tattoo 🙂
Also, I like the distinction between Augmented Reality have to be live and in the moment, that makes sense—now what the hell does putting magnet in my hand mean?
As for the Golden Eagle and the baby, I think the issue there is whether he could actually fly away with the baby to some great height. I imagine 10 or twenty feet might be to much for a twenty pound baby, but that is all hypothetical. Getting a goat at cliffside and forcing it over is much more compelling as a method—and suggests tactical thinking. What a crazy video, poor goat.
As for next level AR, I kinda want to make it happen now. More and more I want to be part of a team that imagines the narratives of this future.
Look at the link from 06 in the first comment. People implanting rare earth magnets in their hands to develop ESP abilities around sensing magnetic fields etc. There’s a better and more recent article somewhere that I read as well but that gets you started into some serious AR/android maker experimenter stuff.
The eagles are smart. They could be juicing.
Juicing eagles is augmented reality at its finest 🙂