There are plenty of demand projections and buyer patterns, but are we doing enough research about how we will be impacted by technology?
Both eyes are fixed on the future at this time of year. Forecasts for 2021 are widespread, as are estimates for the next 5 to 7 years.
We're going to jump the gun and fly to 2027.
Through every biological prism, the environment looks the same, but cities are now overlaid with AR, which changes all about how we view both the physical world and each other. What we see through these future AR lenses is constrained by our place in society and marketing surveillance that caters to our every need gently and ever-so-kindly.
MOA: The Assistant of My Own
An adaptation of the novel Les Furtifs by French science fiction writer Alain Damasio, this vision of 2040 is a scene from a mobile AR experience named MOA (My Own Assistant).
MOA is more representative of Siri, Alexa, and our other useful assistants, contrary to common AI sci-fi concepts. She's gentle, kind and sympathetic to our needs; we are truly concerned with MOA. Instead of having multiple applications to choose from, we have only one in the MOA.
MOA raises awareness about our relationship with technology and advertisement as a publicly funded experience. It's an opportunity to discuss how technology, as well as its potential effects on society, plays a part in our everyday lives.
A Doorway to the future
It was earlier this year in Paris, at the NewImages Festival, that I set aside my mobile phone and exchanged it for an installed MOA computer. An region was partitioned off for a few days in the center of a great shopping complex in a concrete courtyard to make room for a portal to 2027.
Plugging in the audio jack and holding up the phone, I was greeted like a new best friend by MOA's gentle voice. Through the mobile interface where I could select those reactions to her bantar, we talked for a little while. MOA was amazingly pleasant. She presented fascinating data and encouraged my decisions. She also provided many enhancements, with greater access to the city, including premium membership.
MOA was so good that I felt a little guilty for not wanting to pay more, sign up for a gym membership, or begin a free trial.
"You establish an emotional connection with artificial intelligence during the experience," says Marie Blondiaux, a Red Corner studio producer who created MOA. "You don't even know about it when it works."
Now's the Future
So here I am, standing at the Forum des Photos, watching MOA on my mobile screen. I see a shopping mall, all mixed with minimal AR overlays, with still and digital signage, flashing lights, advertisements, shoppers and a host of products. Add a little neon, maximize the reflections, glare, exposure; add a few haggard-looking mercenaries and ultimately you live in Cyberpunk 2077 minus aggression and public indecency.
AR can free people from screens and offer a range of services with direct access. This may be cool, but what if you have one AI driving all aspects of your life? "Blondiaux says.
New Media Awareness
It's necessary to have these immersive experiences in the story that make you doubt your answer. There is insufficient information, because we have so much of it,' says Blondiaux.
Blondiaux explains three kinds of reactions people have from the media after I traded in MOA for my own computer, receiving it with a little bit of trepidation:
Knowledge: You have details, but your actions will not alter.
Reaction: you have a concrete experience that helps you to grasp the knowledge and relate to it, i.e. What it feels like to be reliant on AI.
Action: You experience immersive content interaction that encourages you to take action and make improvements.
We are more and more conscious. We know that advertisement is not healthy for us in society,” says Blondiaux.
But it's a battle between nature and nurture, or rather intelligence versus hormones of reward. Our smartphones are, in fact, built to make our lives easier. We are the instruments in MOA's digital society, receiving small doses of dopamine generated by our own biological factories that drive the consumption of goods and services.
As our interview wraps up, Blondiaux says that the best thing we might give people right now is media education. The vision of her team is to distribute MOA in public libraries, followed by an assignment where tourists write a letter on their phone as an opportunity to consider their relationship with it.
"Technically, MOA is very simple, giving people the opportunity to think about their relationship with their phone," Blondiaux says.
What is keeping us from acting on what we already know tacitly, for those of us already aware of technology's drastic effect on human nature?
It's the actions of the herd, safety in numbers, whatever you want to call it.
The Scales Tipping
Although augmented reality advertisements are on the rise, persuasive media will continue to influence the mainstream, whether it be posts, emails, gifs, picture stills, videos, or games.
Some of these provide useful content that offers value, knowledge of the public, positive interaction, social interactions, and entertainment. It is, however, the subtle psychological undertones that lay down a code that will determine better or worse for our future.
All isn't doom and gloom. I've previously written about the approach of France and the United Kingdom to public project funding.
What can we do here and now, with our eyes concentrated on the road ahead, to make sure we take the correct turn? The path to the future is not always a street that goes one direction.
On compatible Android and iOS devices, you can download MOA for free. I suggest that you try it outdoors in a city or in a commercial building (with health and safety in mind!) for full impact.