Monday, February 6, 2017

Futurist: Surrogates

So virtual reality and augmented reality technology is starting to crop up again.  This has happened in the past a few times and normally people get bored by the limitations, but this time it might be different.  

The main difference this time is Steve Jobs.  Well, the introduction of the iPhone really.  Because the iPhone was wildly successful, multiple large corporations entered into the mobile technology space.  So now we have a bunch of very impressive mobile display and computation technology that has been commoditized. 

So if you happened to have a lot of free capital floating around AND you were sufficiently imaginative AND you had enough connections, then what might you use commoditized mobile computers and displays for?

Commoditized unskilled labor.  Here’s what you do.  Take a motorcycle helmet and put a good display inside of it.  Now grab some sort of motorcycle like suit and fill it with haptics.  Finally, offer consultant services.  You tell us what problem you need unskilled labor to solve and we will generate an interface that will tell someone in our computerized motorcycle suit how to solve that problem.  The laborer can get away with zero training because the computer suit will monitor and supervise 100% of the job.  The laborer can now do anything any day any where.  

With a sufficiently good system the laborer might not event know what job they’re on.  All the laborer sees is a virtual reality display of where to walk and where to put their hands.  The suit will make sure the job gets done correctly.

Second thought:  Surrogate telepresence.  Let’s say you have an unskilled laborer who also happens to be good at pantomiming.  Setup the system to have a series of icons which will tell the laborer how to emote.  Then take an OLED and wrap it around the helmet.  Now you can have a “dummy” person that can be “driven” by someone on the other side of the country via the internet.  You don’t need to travel across the world in order to be present in a meeting. 

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