COVID Finally Crushed by Disney Augmented Reality Game

Mice

After COVID19 several countries in Europe, as well as the USA, started relaxing their lockdown requirements. More people went back to work, and there was an explosion of activity in the hospitality and entertainment industries.

From bars and clubs to restaurants and of course the beaches, people flocked in droves, reuniting with friends and family. They went to the parks. Football and other sports held field days and played demonstration matches because the leagues and tournaments had been cancelled.

Three weeks later COVID20 emerged. It was even more virulent than COVID19 and hit hard. Worst hit were young people in the 16-30 age bracket. It was believed the reason was that they were the group who had felt the isolation the most and therefore binged the most on the return to society.

Despite the numbers of those affected growing exponentially within weeks, teenagers and young adults resisted going back into isolation lockdown and once again the ICU’s were full.  Sadly these were mostly young people, not the older people with additional health complaints that made them less able to resist the previous coronavirus strain.

Then the mobile games division of Disney came up with an idea based on concepts of Game Designer Jane McGonigal. They modified an augmented reality location-based game that had already been in the making. McGonigal explained, “We needed to positively reinforce the behaviour that would incentivise players to stay close to home within the lockdown requirements, but not stifle them so much that they would go stir crazy.”

The game, called Lockdown, like Pokemon, was based around capturing Disney characters. It only worked within a three-mile radius of the home location of each player. Characters were more interesting and had greater value, the closer to home and the farther away they were from people, not part of their bubble.

If players went within 4 meters of a player, who were not members of their bubble, (which the game worked out using AI) captured characters would escape at the rate of 50% per minute that people stayed within vicinity of those people. The other people didn’t even have to be playing the game. As long as they had any form of mobile device on their person, characters were lost.

Miraculously, like the happy ending of a Disney movie, 4 weeks after the game was launched, the peak died down and, well the rest is history. So many lives had been lost, but the world settled down to a new state of normal over the final months of 2020.

The president hailed McGonigal as a great, great person, who triumphed over adversity as he predicted someone would. “Of course, it was no coincidence”, he explained, “that it was Disney, an institution as American as apple pie, that came up with the solution to this second horrible, horrible pandemic.”

McGonigal said, “This was a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the power of games to influence people to want to do the thing that needed to be done, by positively reinforcing the correct behaviour. I was lucky that Disney believed in me because everyone else was focused on punitive measures and of course dealing with the health crisis.”

And the rest folks is history.

If this blog made you chuckle, you might like to make a small donation to encourage me to do more on Patreon.

Facebook Goggle Phone Is Better Than I Thought

Facebook has joined the fray with not just AR Goggles, but the Goggles are the phone and its quite cool.

When Vodafone  gave me the glasses to review, my first reaction was, to be honest, pretty much, whatever. It reminded me of way back, maybe 2010 when I was presenting at a conference at Auckland University and Telecom announced the Bebo phone. I don’t know how many they actually sold, but I doubt there were more than a hundred. Bebo Phone

Then in Barcelona 2014 Facebook launched a mobile of their own. It wasn’t spectacular and I thought they would give up at that point, realizing that whilst most people used Facebook, that didn’t mean that it was the number one communication tool in their lives or that they wanted FB getting too much private information about them, not that they hadn’t already been doing that with Google for most of their lives.

Through Facebook Goggles

Through Facebook Goggles

Anyway, I took them to a SMCAKL event to try them out. Social Media Club Auckland now provides a live list of who is attending via their Facebook page.

Using the Goggles plugin I identified the people I want to meet up with from the list. I was also able to send them a notification that I was going to be there and was keen to have a chat.

Sure enough, just like the AR in Daniel Suarez‘s prophetic books  Daemon and Freedom, I was able to see the names of the people I wanted to see, above them in the crowd, which was very cool. I was also able to see the names and profiles of virtually every person in the room.

Everyone wanted to try them on and it was a couple of hours after the event closed that Vodafone pushed me and a last few Facebook Goggle fans out of the door.

As to the smartphone functionality, it is pretty well featured. I am now one of those people who are constantly looking up into the corners of my eyes as though I have a nervous twitch and am waving  my hands in the air like a New York Italian singing the praises of the veal at my favorite deli. Of course it won’t be long before you are doing that too.

Police Look Into Fake Google Glasses

Police are struggling to enforce the new law banning wearing Google Glasses whilst driving a motor vehicle according to spokesperson AR Seymour. “From a distance many of today’s Augmented Reality glasses are indistinguishable from normal eye-wear. This has been compounded”, he said “by the many cheap knock-off’s that young people are wearing today that look like AR glasses with a HUD (Heads Up Display, but are in fact just plain plastic imitations.” 

There have been suggestions that a driver mode be enforced, which only allows certain functionality, such as GPS car navigation, however there appears to be no way to police this. Google has suggested adding functionality that allows the glasses to check whether there is a steering wheel in front of the driver or not and if there is, automatically put it into driver mode. Hackers are already saying that if this is done, they will develop jailbreaks for this functionality.

Meanwhile there have been more and more motor accidents occurring due to distraction by drivers, including many involving pedestrians, often the fault is in fact the pedestrian not paying attention as they cross busy roads. This technology is very exciting and unstoppable and authorities are holding meetings with Google and others to explore possible solutions.

Hundreds more bars, Government Departments and workplaces have followed the example of The 5 Point in Seattle in banning Google Glasses, as an invasion of privacy.

Google Glasses Separation Syndrome

Google Glasses and dozens of other brands of Augmented Reality goggles hit the road running for Christmas 2013 and over the next couple of years AR applications went from Wow to business as usual. Today people look at you sideways in many cities if you aren’t wearing glasses. But there has been a downside.  People can’t bear to be without them.

 Not that long ago people had separation anxiety when they didn’t have their mobile with them, then their smartphone. Now its their AR glasses. Hospitals and A&R clinics are reporting many people are presenting with a feeling of vertigo with some patients reporting in an almost psychotic state, saying they feel they have been detached from the real world.

Others are describing the real world without AR glasses as flat, 2 dimensional, when they don’t have access to features they take for granted such as information about locations, deals, games and access to their friends via social media, the ability to take pictures or view them. Many find it difficult to function because they now rely on their glasses to tell them everything from the names of people they ‘know’ through facial recognition (including information on their last point of contact, meeting, email) to public transport timetables or driving directions. They no  longer seem to have the ability to cope without this information beaming onto their eyeballs. The are unable to make decisions and are so used to large volumes of information at their fingertips that they are suffering from sensory deprivation with their eye-wear.

Insurance companies who have benefited from knowing much more about their clients, have been caught by surprise and won’t pay out on claims until the Syndrome has been recognised as an official condition and because they AR glasses are now a way of life, no one really has answers on what to do next.

Health Problems Caused by Augmented Reality Glasses Over Usage

ARGOS (Augmented Reality Glasses Overuse Syndrome) has recently been identified by the Mental health Research Centre  in the USA. People are being bombarded with constant data being displayed on their glasses and the subsequent dopamine overload is having serious consequences on the health of many users of this technology.

Dr Louis Hatmaker, a social scientist with the New Zealand founded Imersia AR, a sister company to the well known Imersia Tourism Limited said from their Auckland AR Lab that this was not unexpected given the huge volume of big data available and was in fact one of the reasons that Imersia developed its Calm Tech, to ensure that people’s eyes and brains were not bombarded with information overload.

Hatmaker said “What we didn’t anticipate in the early 2010’s was the Dopamine factor. Effectively people found the use of AR glasses extremely enjoyable.  The ability to control the glasses just by looking at them and getting a wealth of information, everything from facial recognition and identifying information about every building, business you could see was overwhelming. In a similar way to playing computer games (which of course hundreds of thousands of people now do using AR glasses sic) every time a result was presented on the lens, the user got a squirt of dopamine from their brains as a reward. Dopamine is like a natural opiate and makes you feel good. The user feels excited and becomes addicted to the use of the glasses. When they are not wearing them, they become bored and listless, affecting their relationships with other people and their ability to concentrate. We are particularly concerned with children and teenagers whose brains are still developing.”

Imersia has developed technologies to reduce the amount of information delivered through AR Glasses by making information contextually relevant and personalised. Effectively you get the information you want, when you want it, but you don’t get all the spurious information that has no relevance to you, even if it might be interesting.

Who will the future leaders be? perhaps Sight?