The Beyond Buildings Podcast & Newsletter
The Beyond Buildings Podcast & Newsletter
🎧#1 RAW - "I'm sorry. But I had to hack your eyes..." Controlling Reality - Greg Demchak, Nicolas Waern

🎧#1 RAW - "I'm sorry. But I had to hack your eyes..." Controlling Reality - Greg Demchak, Nicolas Waern

Do Innovation Leaders Dream of Electric Sheep? What is Varjo, and why should you care? - What will happen when we change reality and are we ready for a true-to-life metaverse? Are we already there?

“Welcome to full immersion - Re programming reality in real-time” - What might be the biggest threat to Hololens?

What was supposed to be a conversation about AR/VR in the built environment, became instead this Sci-fi inspired pandora’s box discussion. This is a 10-minute segment from a 60-minute discussion and an extra episode that goes Beyond Buildings into the RAW discussion territory.

“Anybody can transport another person to their physical reality, completely bridging the real and the virtual in true-to-life visual fidelity.” - Varjo

We listen in to a discussion about world-changing perspectives with Greg Demchak, Director of the Digital Innovation Lab at Bentley Systems, and Nicolas Waern, the founder and creator of Beyond Buildings.

In the discussion, Nicolas Waern and Greg Demchak zoom in and out to the virtual/augmented reality world, discussing how modern technologies could seriously disrupt what we define as reality today. Nicolas had not had the time to look into Varjo at all before this conversation so everything was just based on those first words from Greg:

“Did you see that video too from Varjo….”

We get to understand more about the high-resolution mixed reality experience that would drive us to the next generation of photo-realism in the immersive design space.

That sentence is directly taken from the homepage of Varjo. This is quite optimistic and as you can hear in the episode, Nicolas Waern was also on the optimistic side.

Varjo Announces XR-3 and VR-3 Headsets - Specs, Price ...

But what this also could mean is that we could change reality into the one we like. Or also what other people would like us to see.

The Black Mirror episode Men Against Fire depicts this quite well in the sense that the military made voices and faces of normal people into of monsters so that they would be easier to kill. Depending on how you see it, it is not far from the ongoing development of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System for the U.S. military in partnership with Microsoft. It went from prototype to production stage in March and is said to “keep soldiers safer and make them more effective “.

Where the more effective part could be interpreted in any which way possible.

Within the virtual or mixed realities that we create, we can bend everything with endless possibilities and experience. But who will control these environments?

These are some of the talking points and implications from the brief interaction between two Digital Enthusiasts:

  • The new product and developments of Varjo.

  • How do reality manipulation and collaboration works?

  • What will happen if we change the reality?

  • How can VR/AR be able to help us in the future?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of applying VR/AR in the sector of building automation, education, military, industrial, manufacturing, etc.?

  • What will it do to the societal fabric when we live in alternate realities?

  • How could that affect voting participation and political inclusion?

  • What would it mean to live in a different era in a different location?

  • If we could transform the reality into the one we want it to be, should we? If there is no need for a physical supply chain, what would that look like?

  • How could movies like Ready Player One, Ghost in the Shell, and others inspire us today?

  • What impact would it have if we could upload ourselves to the cloud?

This is truly a conversation that goes beyond buildings, into the universe, and then back to planet earth. Because even though we would be uploaded to the cloud, the cloud is still someone else’s computer.

What was missed out on in the clip was that of security. And at the end of this clip from Ghost in the Shell we get to hear the sentence:

“I’m sorry, but I had to hack your eyes pal…”

Who will ensure that people are safe and secure? Will cyberterrorism move even closer to the vest of people and how could we really be sure of what we are seeing, or hearing?

What would happen if someone hacked the feed and altered reality before our very eyes? We see that security is one of the most important aspects today in any industry. But so far also the most neglected. We will soon be at that point where we are in a situation where we have true total immersion. And at that point, will we be able to discern what is real, and what is not? Would we care?

What do you think? Is it possible to stop with Digital Development? Or do we have to take an active role in making sure that technology is used for good?

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And finally a big thank you to Greg Demchak!

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Companies and movies mentioned:

  1. Varjo

  2. HoloLens

  3. Clueless Closet

  4. Boston Dynamics

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