4S2021 will be a virtual conference supplemented by a toolkit so that people can organize regional get togethers and co-watching events if it is possible in their location.
Isabel Pedersen, Ann Hill Duin, and Andrew Iliadis will present The AR Cloud: Tech Imaginaries, Future Risks, and Potential Affordances: After undergoing 20 years of emergence, Augmented Reality (AR) is predicted to progress to become a full-scale ambient platform. AR is a method of human-computer interaction that blends virtual representations with physical spaces, seeking to augment, mix, or shift reality (Azuma, 1997). This presentation uses a digital repository of artifacts about this technology at https://fabricofdigitallife.com (Fabric) to explore the prediction that AR will evolve to become an ambient computing platform, and to shed light on both potential risks and affordances. The transformative quality of AR is that it combines virtual components with human sensory modalities (e.g., sight, sound, touch), meaning that it can augment the first-person point of view of the user with the potential to achieve a significant sense of virtual presence. Analysis of key artifacts in Fabric illustrates the next iteration of Augmented Reality, the ‘AR Cloud’ or ‘Mirrorworld,’ as a speculative plan to create a shared multi-user environment, a global augmented reality, and “a real time spatial map of the world” (Inbar, 2018; Kelly, 2019). For example, the AR cloud requires a persistent 3D digital copy of the world, which means that if a developer creates a virtual overlay for a real space, it will remain accessible to anyone across different devices and platforms. As an imagined technology future, this presentation addresses how AR could affect both positive societal change (e.g., Open AR Cloud Association) as well as result in greater risk through further conditions of surveillance, corporate control, or harms to humans.