Only out of the wolf den and into the tiger’s mouth, the privacy crisis countdown.Imagine a world where people can hardly see the barriers between the digital space and the physical space. You don’t need to watch TV or a mobile phone, but with a pair of glasses, you can project a screen anywhere and adjust it seamlessly. Translate any signpost or explain any task, and you can also use the earpiece to amplify difficult-to-heard conversations, or highlight the hard-to-see details around you.
At the same time, you can imagine another world. Your glasses will scan every conversation and a series of personalized advertisements will pop up. When you walk on the street, the hacker will know your home address at a glance. Phone number and email; when you go to the park and want to see what kind of flower this flower is, the glasses will pop up immediately to subscribe to the value-added service to enjoy more dialogs. Will you slam your glasses? Cursing silently? Still lost in thought?
These are some of the best and worst cases of augmented reality technology, and in the past ten years, AR as the future of computing, some large technology companies in the world are spending billions of dollars to promote this technology, although the technology The above problems still limit its practicality, but the current AR hardware designers have laid the foundation for a new generation of mass market products. However, as AR and other devices collect more and more human biological information, privacy and security issues are gradually being put on the stage like super apps.
Open the door to virtual and reality
For decades, the term AR has frequently appeared in science fiction, special industries and high-tech experiments, but in the 2010s, large technology companies and countless start-ups began to use AR helmets as a potential mass market platform.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg predicted in 2016,televisionAnd the phone will be replaced by holographic glasses.AppleThe company’s CEO Tim Cook called AR “a great idea, just like smartcell phoneSame”.MicrosoftImagine people in theirHololensWatch the Super Bowl football game in the helmet. Google launched its ambitious Glass platform as a potential successor to mobile phones, and then helped drive AR startup Magic Leap to obtain billions of dollars in investment. Recently, telecommunications companies have cooperated with AR companies such as Chinese startup Nreal, hoping that high-bandwidth holograms can create demand for 5G networks.
The products of these companies and the products of other major players, including Snap, Vuzix, and Niantic, may look very different, but most of them have the above three characteristics.
First, their hardware is wearable, hands-free, and may be free forever. When you use it, you don’t have to pick up the device to put it away; second, their images and audio can match the world. Normal sensory perceptions are fused or compensated, rather than being limited to a separate, self-contained screen; third, their sensors and software can use geographic location and depth sensing, computer vision programs or intimate biometric technology ( Such as eye-tracking cameras) collect and analyze a large amount of information about the surrounding environment.
In the past decade, no one has managed to incorporate these features into mainstream consumer devices. Most glasses are bulky, and the images they produce are shaky, transparent, or cut off by a limited field of view. Despite experiments with voice control, finger tracking, and handheld hardware, no one has developed a reliable way to interact with them.
Nevertheless, AR can still have a significant impact on the real world. For example, in 2016, millions of people fell in love with the mobile-based AR game Pokémon Go (“Pokemon GO”). When players log in to capture virtual monsters, many people discover a community they never wanted to go to. But they also discovered a world based on data that places more stadiums and PokéStops in white and wealthy communities. They establish face-to-face connections by sharing virtual experiences, but these connections can also lead to real-world harassment.
This impact is beyond the reach of the people who play the game. The owners of some houses near the Pokémon Go gym experienced a sudden influx of intruders, leading some to sue its developer Niantic and ensure that the game’s design is adjusted. Public memorials such as the American Holocaust Museum require players to respect the space and not chase virtual monsters inside. Even this early attempt at augmented reality has brought some of the Internet’s shortcomings into the real world.
Author and researcher Erica Neely said: “Laws and social norms are not prepared for how AR affects physical space. I think we are a bit crazy to follow technology.” In 2019, Neely wrote “Pokemon Go” around enhancements. The problems exposed by the type of location. She said that most of these issues have not yet been resolved.
Smartphone cameras and digital retouching applications like FaceTune and sophisticated image searches like Snap Scan and Google Lens have complicated our relationship with the offline world. However, AR glasses can increase the convenience and universality that our mobile phones cannot handle. “Nelly said:” A mobile phone-based application that you have to actually use, and glasses even eliminate the action of unlocking the screen and deliberately looking through the camera lens. “This not only means that the wearer can more easily understand the surroundings, but also means that a computing platform can capture and analyze it without the consent of others.
Take facial recognition as an example. Smart phone applications have been using facial recognition to mark and classify people for years, and one of the most intuitive AR glasses applications is to simply remind people of their names (and other background information, such as where you meet They), this is also a potential privacy disaster.
In 2020, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s monitoring capabilities for AR glasses sounded the alarm. Katitza Rodriguez and Kurt Opsahl wrote that any company that provides facial recognition through glasses may become a window for real-time monitoring in every corner of the world, capable of locating and identifying anyone at any time.
So far, most AR systems have not faced the problem of face recognition head-on. Mobile-based platforms, such as Snapchat and Facebook’s Portal, both use facial recognition, which can detect facial features to add special effects, but will not match the database of specific groups of people, such as Google’s 2013 glasses exploration version The helmet refused to approve the facial recognition application.
EFF’s concerns are not unfounded. According to reports, Facebook and Meta executives Andrew Bosworth told employees that the company is weighing the costs and benefits of facial recognition for its Project Aria glasses, saying that this may be the “trickest problem” in the AR field. Outside of AR, some people are pushing for a near-total ban on the technology. Researcher Luke Clark likened facial recognition to the “plutonium of artificial intelligence”, saying that any potential benefits are far obscured by its social harm. AR is a ready-made test platform. If facial recognition is widely used by the public, when any potential hazards are obvious, it may be impossible to solve them.
At the same time, it is not clear how the AR system will be profitable, and what kind of behavior the resulting business model will encourage. Some companies in this field, such as Apple, are traditional hardware vendors. Other companies, such as Facebook and Snap, have a notorious reputation on advertising-supported social networks.
Facebook claims that it has not studied the business model of glasses, and Snap said that advertising is not the only option to promote the value of AR-driven retail and other experiences. But even companies without a background in advertising have seen its power. In a 2017 patent application, Magic Leap imagined that Starbucks would look at a brand in the helmet wearercoffeeCheck the cups, and then provide coupons for the nearest Starbucks store.
Even basic AR applications, such as drawing a map of an apartment to place a virtual screen, may collect a lot of information. (How big is your living space? What books are on your shelf? YoukitchenHow healthy are the snacks on the counter? ) If there is no strong privacy protection, it would be very tempting to use this data for advertising. The more data a company collects and stores, the higher the chance you see it being used for more intrusive things–such as setting your insurance premiums–or becoming a victim of a security breach.
Some groups are trying to get a head start on broader AR policy issues. The non-profit XR security initiative provides a policy framework for the industry’s security and privacy, and draws on existing laws such as the European General Data Protection Regulation. In the corporate world, Facebook Reality Labs announced a set of responsible innovation principles designed to eliminate concerns about trust, privacy, and consent that have plagued the company. It also awarded a series of academic grants to study the specific issues of AR, choosing “always available AR social tension” and “predicting virtual gossip–what is (non)intentional darkness in ubiquitous augmented reality” model?”
However, early efforts in consumer hardware did not overcome its shortcomings well. Google found that its 2013 Glasses Explorer headset was banned from use in some bars and restaurants because this expensive device was considered intrusive and self-righteous, rather than futuristic and free. This is not surprising: around the same time, researchers at the University of Washington interviewed people in a cafe where someone was wearing a simulated AR helmet, and the result was a mixture of indifference and negativity, roughly equal to each other. But Google CEO Larry Page did not plan around some very predictable anxieties, saying instead that privacy fears are “not a big issue.”
Ten thousand reasons to reject AR
There are many sci-fi speculations about AR, from the gorgeous gesture interface and personalized holographic advertising in “Minority Report” to the digital caste system predicted in “Super Sad True Love Story”. But science fiction is notoriously bad at predicting how people will use technology, even if it is technically correct. Some companies have provided hypothetical scenarios that prove the value of AR. For example, Zuckerberg said that we would invite holographic friends to sit on our real-world sofas, while Cook imagined visiting live sports events and seeing them on the field. Statistical data. But historically, revolutionary technologies are not imposed on users from the top down. The boundaries between companies and consumers need to be constantly negotiated, and the final result is often very different from the original creator’s expectations.
University of Washington professor and human-computer interaction expert Batya Friedman (Batya Friedman) said: “The developer of a technology has a set of ideas about its application in society, but the actual application results It’s completely different. It’s very common. A good product and technology must be flexible enough to adapt to these unexpected uses.”
AR technology will not develop in a vacuum. Although Zuckerberg, Cook and others talk about the novelty of AR glasses, they still describe how people use them almost exactly the way they use smartphones: as a device they always carry around at will. However, ubiquitous and short-lived electronic products such as smartphones have already brought heavy environmental costs to the earth, and the introduction of AR may add billions of devices. These devices will be replaced at any time like mobile phones. A large amount of cloud computing infrastructure provides power. “What are the effects on the environment? And do these make sense?” Friedman asked. “If not, I think the real question for us is, in which really key areas, some kind of augmented reality technology does bring substantial benefits to people?”
In any case, the development of science and technology in the past 10 years has been a long struggle. Once the crisis has reached a boiling point, the crisis needs to be managed. At the same time, as a long-awaited and unfulfilled dream, AR glasses can buy us time to figure out what they can bring to the world and whether we really want them. (Technology Intelligence Valley)