[From the Brown v. EMA (2011) for videogames in the US. I think this recent Forbes article is a harbinger of sensational news coverage to come. I personally think it’s still up in the air as to whether or not the Oculus and other VR peripherals will be constructed as a new technological evolution of videogaming or as an entirely new medium; the free speech protection consequences of the latter in the US are dramatic.
Read more on Call: Insights for non-academic audience re: VR as a media panic…
The Limits Of Simulation
by Alva Noë
February 28, 2014
The idea that the world might be living in a simulation — discussed in Marcelo’s post this week — is brought to life with wit and power in Peter Weir’s 1998 film The Truman Show. Young Truman, who has been raised inside a simulation — a reality TV show! — is free to explore his environment; he can move around and pursue his interests and interrogate and probe. If he looks to his right, he sees the hustle and bustle of the world around him. Look to the left? More hustle and bustle. Of course, were he to look to the left when the simulators expected him to look to the right, he’d witness nothing but stage hands making preparations for his next look.
The radical and mind-boggling idea at work here is this: so long as you get fresh detail whenever you look for it, you’ll never notice your whole life is a grand illusion.
The pilot to original Star Trek series the offers an interesting twist on this. Captain Pike comes to realize he is living in a simulation; he’s a prisoner in a menagerie. But at the end he learns [that] his captors have created the simulation for his own benefit; he’d been in a horrible accident, and a simulated life would be superior to anything he could achieve on his own.
It’s clear — on this way of understanding what a simulation is — that we are ourselves are not simulated. How could we be?
What makes the world a simulation is that it has the right look and feel. We’re the judge of that, of course. And anyway, what could a simulated consciousness even be? A simulated consciousness — simulated from the inside, that is — would be a perfectly good, perfectly real consciousness. This was Descartes’ discovery. Cogito ergo sum. I think therefore I am.
But there may be another limit on the extent of the simulation. It is one thing to simulate the look and feel of something, or everything, but it is another to simulate the meaning or significance of how things look or feel. Read more on The limits of simulation…
Call for abstracts
Human-Machine Affective Coordination
Generating Emotional and Empathic Dynamics Between Artificial and Human Agents
@ ALIFE14 New York, USA July 30 – August 02, 2014
Read more on Call: Human-Machine Affective Coordination – Workshop at ALIFE14…
[From YouTube and analysis can be found at Telepresence Options]
Polycom unveils giant video conference system to rival Cisco
by Dan Worth
11 Feb 2014
Polycom has announced a giant new video-conferencing tool that sees the firm take on Cisco’s TelePresence suite at the top end of the market. The system will start from a not inconsiderable $425,000.
The RealPresence Immersive Studio boasts top-of-the-range specs, with the firm touting it as a true “floor-to-ceiling” product that uses three 84in displays to create a giant video wall. It also has a 55in display on top that can be used to display documents during a meeting (as pictured).
The screens will offer video display quality of 1080p by using Ultra HD 4k displays. Audio is provided using Polycom’s existing 3D Voice technology. The whole product requires its own dedicated room, and the nine-seat version will cost $425,000. Read more on Polycom unveils giant video conference system to rival Cisco…
Call for Proposals – Making the City Playable Conference – Research Stream
Watershed, Bristol, UK.
September 10th & 11th 2014
On September 10th and 11th 2014 the Watershed Media Centre in Bristol will host the first Making the City Playable Conference, convened by University of the West of England Visiting Professors Clare Reddington and Andrew Kelly. This two day international conference will bring together future city experts, urban planners, artists and technologists to explore the theme of the Playable City, and what it might mean in imagining and making the cities of the future.
The Playable City
The “Playable City” is a term that has been coined by Watershed in Bristol as a people-centred counterpoint to the idea of the data-driven “Smart City”. The Playable City is imagined as a city in which hospitality and openness are key, enabling residents and visitors to reconfigure and rewrite city services, places and stories. The Playable City fosters serendipity and gives permission to be playful in public.
The idea of the Playable City has been explored in a range of Watershed projects; a series of cultural exchange rapid project development labs with the British Council working with artists, producers and technologists from the UK and East Asia in 2012 and Brazil in 2014, the inaugural Playable City Award , a major commission for a future-facing artwork, which supported development of Hello Lamp Post in Summer 2013, Biketag Colour Keepers – a street game for Bristol Temple Quarter, and Open City: Guimarães- a series of artistic commissions that explored how openness in city governance might improve the social, cultural, and economic lives of inhabitants of the Portuguese 2012 European Capital of Culture. The Second Playable City Award is now open for submissions.
The Call for Proposals
The Digital Cultures Research Centre is convening a research stream within the Making the City Playable Conference. We are inviting proposals from a cross-disciplinary gathering of scholars who wish to consider the intersection between play and the contemporary city, bringing diverse research knowledge and perspectives to the concept of the Playable City, considering its conceptual value, potential and limits.
Proposals are invited for 10-15 minute research-based presentations or academic papers. The following are indicative themes: Read more on Call: Making the City Playable Conference – Research Stream…
Virtual Reality Startups Look Back to the Future
Thirty years after the first wave of virtual reality, new startups are determined to take it mainstream.
By Simon Parkin on March 7, 2014
It’s been almost 30 years since the computer scientist Jaron Lanier formed VPL Research, the first company to sell the high-tech goggles and gloves that once defined humanity’s concept of where technology might soon take our species. In the late-1980s, a person could pull on a $100,000 head-mounted display and electronic gauntlet and fool their brain into thinking they had stepped inside the simulated space rendered on the screen.
At the time, Lanier’s intoxicating inventions were featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, coverage that popularized the term “virtual reality” as well as a fresh vision of the future in which humans would flit between the real and virtual worlds. The well-worn narrative is that the VR pipe dream quickly faded, largely due to the exorbitant costs involved or the motion sickness that many users complained of when playing early consumer examples of the technology—such as Nintendo’s ambitious and experimental Virtual Boy games console controller.
Now, after many years on the periphery, VR is heading back to the mainstream. The proliferation of cheap high-resolution screens, motion-tracking sensors, and microchips in mobile computing devices has vastly reduced the technological cost of creating virtual reality hardware, making high-definition immersive head-mounted displays commercially viable. Read more on The past and possible futures of VR…
Call for Papers
UCDAS 2014: The 1st IEEE International Workshop on User Centered Design and Adaptive Systems
Västerås, Sweden – July 21-25, 2014
The 1st IEEE International Workshop on User Centered Design and Adaptive Systems, UCDAS 2014, is co-located with COMPSAC 2014 (The 38th Annual International Computers, Software & Applications Conference, http://compsac.cs.iastate.edu/). The aim of this Workshop is to introduce the combination of different disciplines to build adaptive systems. Also, to discuss this approach and the state-of-the-art advances in research and development of the construction of user-centered adaptive systems. This Workshop is addressed to researchers from different disciplines in academia and industry, as well as practitioners, who share interests in adaptive systems design and development. The focus will be on the processes and methodologies combining techniques from these disciplines and the experiences drawn from adaptive system design practice, as well as on emergent topics.
UCDAS 2014 Theme
An adaptive system changes to improve its performance by adjusting its operation to the feedback from the users. An adaptive system infers the goals and needs of users from multiple sources of information in terms of activity and interests. Research on adaptive systems should be addressed to identify new means for enriching the user experience through advances in automated reasoning, adaption and user interface design. User models are particularly important. To build adaptive systems, a combination of different disciplines is required, such as usability engineering, human-computer interaction, software engineering, system engineering, psychology, and sociology; each one providing its principles and techniques.
Topics of interest
Fundamentals and design of adaptive systems; User Modeling and Intelligent User Interfaces; Psychological Studies; Novel Input Devices and Sensors; Conversational Systems; Frameworks and Architectures for Adaptive Supporting Platforms; User and Interaction: Information Access, Filtering, and Management; Human-Computer Interaction Design and Visualization; Software Engineering for Adaptive Systems. Read more on Call: UCDAS 2014: The 1st IEEE International Workshop on User Centered Design and Adaptive Systems…
[Image: From Michael Grothaus
Siri held lots of promise when Apple introduced it in iOS 6. However, in the two years since Siri’s release, the virtual assistant has improved little–offering clever ways to do simple tasks via voice command, but no more. That’s because Siri, and other virtual assistants like it, have built-in problems that doom it to be a simple system forever. But one Cambridge researcher thinks there’s a better way to make virtual assistants become the companions we all want–and, soon, will need. Read more on VocalIQ: Smarter, more personalized agents are coming…
Call for Papers:
DIS 2014 Workshop on Social NUI: Social Perspectives in Natural User Interfaces
This one-day workshop will be held as part of the DIS 2014 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (http://dis2014.iat.sfu.ca), held in Vancouver, Canada 21-25 June
- Submission by: 21 March 2014
- Notification of acceptance: 31 March 2014
- Camera Ready Copy: 20 April 2014
- Workshop day: 21 or 22 June 2014
SCOPE OF THE WORKSHOP
The term Natural User Interfaces (NUI) has come to refer to a broad collection of interactive technologies argued to draw upon existing human capabilities for communication and human capacity to manipulate the physical world. Examples include input modalities such as voice, gesture, eye gaze, and body-based interaction. While the notion of naturalness is widely deployed in motivating narratives around such technologies, it has also come under increasing scrutiny and debate in recent years examining what is meant by natural and challenging the basic claims of intuitiveness, usability, learnability attributed to them. While such critiques provide key elements of understanding these technologies, the discussion often resides in the locus of interface between an actor and the material elements of a NUI device. What is less attended to is a concern with the social elements of NUI and how we conceive of and understand these technologies in the social and collaborative context of everyday social practices. Our focus here is on what we call Social NUI which draws attention to different facets of NUI technology. In the first instance, we are concerned with how such technologies can be used in support of collaborative contexts and facilitation of social interaction – how we communicate together, play together, learn together and collaboratively work together. In part this is about collaborative use of these systems but it is also about how these systems can be specifically designed for the cooperative production of particular interactions. In the second instance, the social refers to a particular analytic orientation to the understanding of these so-called NUI technologies; how they are made sense of and given meaning in the context of particular practice. In this respect then, we need to extend our analytical concerns around NUI technologies to consider the meaning and values of them as they are enacted in context.
We invite authors to submit 2-4 page position papers (ACM Extended Abstract Format, see http://chi2013.acm.org/authors/format/) describing original research on the design or interactive experience of Social NUI. We are interested in Social NUI across a number of contexts: home, work, public space, education and healthcare. Contributions may include: Read more on Call: ‘Social NUI: Social Perspectives in Natural User Interfaces’ Workshop at DIS 2014…
[From Psychology Today’s
Are Two Actual People Still Required For a Relationship?
Does a “relationship” still need actual people to provide sex and love?
Read more on Love and sex in the digital age: Are two actual people still required for a relationship?…