Robert Scoble has been at the forefront of the technological trendlines in Silicon Valley his entire life. Now he’s dedicating all of his time to virtual and mixed reality. But why?
If you pinch the little Cirque du Soleil artist you can make her bigger and when you click on her she will start performing just for you. Right there in front of you by your desk. At the same time a zombie is coming through the wall while the CNN is on next to your work screen. Sounds like a fantasy come true. Well, it is.
Robert Scoble has seen it. Just like he has seen a lot of other stuff from the frontier of technology for the most part of his life growing up in Silicon Valley. And there has been some crazy things going on around him. Microsoft happened. Apple too. And then Facebook. Silicon Valley has been the center of technological innovation in a lot of industries. It’s been like a science fiction tv-series for the last 20 years with more breakthroughs and disruptions of industries than killings in Game of Thrones.
But you’ve seen nothing yet.
Now it’s time for something even more radical. It’s time for virtual reality and the even more immersive mixed reality as Robert Scoble favors.
“20 years ago one of my friends had a complete set up for VR games. And it worked. Only the computer running it cost a million dollars. Now you can get the same technology the size of a mobile device for just 2000 dollars.”
And that changes everything, says Scoble.
“Now we have low cost, small size and more bandwidth. But most importantly we have social systems. Like Facebook. And that’s why VR, AR and mixed reality will not only stay but change everything,” says Robert Scoble of UploadVR. And that’s when he starts to explain the six technologies that are fundamental to create all these new devices that will mix our reality with artificial experiences.
He’s fast paced. It’s about optics, sensors, high speed, dimension mapping, artificial intelligence as in deep learning. And audio. Audio will be tremendously important in the field of virtual and mixed realities.
It’s not that Robert Scoble is fast paced for the sake of speed. He is after all reclining horizontally in a sofa as we speak at the Trouble offices in Copenhagen. Like a missionary buddha of technology trendlines. But Robert Scoble is a storyteller with a lot of information. Just take a look at his social media appearances on Facebook and Twitter and his Scobleizer blog.
We’ll skip the technological explanation for now and go straight to consequences.
“We’re now in the fourth state of user interface of the personal computer era. The first was character mode as we saw in MS-DOS. The second was the GUI as in Graphical User Interface known from Macintosh and Windows. The third was touch as we know from the iPhone or Android. And here comes the fourth of spatial computing.”
It’s the most intuitive thing there ever was in computer interfaces. There almost is no interface. But to grasp the full potential of it you have to try it for yourself. You can design things in virtual reality and manufacture them in real life with the push of a button.
The article continues under the video.
So it’s three dimensions but this is not like 3D TV where it’s just an effect. This is actually a 3D replication of the world. Think about that. Or let Robert Scoble explain:
“We’re gonna put basketball games on the floor and I’m gonna be able to go on the court with Steven Curry and the Warriors and then I’m gonna stop the game and practice my three point shot right next to him. And I’m gonna hit play and see if he makes the shot the same way I did. He might even turn to me and give me some tips.”
And the thing that will tie all these new ideas together will be the social layer of the internet. If it’s gaming, everything is more fun when you play with someone else. In journalism it feels more real if you bring people virtually to a refugee camp in Syria instead of reading about it. Art will be extreme when you do anything you want. Medicine will change because you can better diagnose concussions. It is already happening.
“Everything about our world is going to change. And this means deep cultural change. The kind of change we saw in the 1960’s when the electric guitar brought us rock’n roll, when the pill brought us the sexual revolution and when the space race brought us to the Moon and gave us the internet.”
It feels promising. But will the feelings be real, virtual or mixed?
Let’s dive in.