[Geowanking] Jaron Lanier's 11 reasons Why Virtual Reality Has Not (Yet) Become a Widespread Technology
mnl at well.com
Fri Sep 5 16:48:28 PDT 2003
Scroll down below to read Jaron Lanier's 11 reasons Why Virtual Reality
Has Not (Yet) Become a Widespread Technology...
Us carto-wankers could repeat this exercise by prematurely hyping
locomedia services with
1. Expensive gadgets
2. Small Screens
3. Small memory
4. Short battery life
5. Useless Device Form Factors
6. Poor Application User Interfaces
7. No standard web geocode formats
8. No geographic search engines
9. Few location sensing networks
10. Clunky GIS data interoperability
11. ... add your own ...
B a y C H I
The San Francisco Bay Area ACM SIGCHI
Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction
announces its September meeting:
Tuesday, September 9
7:00 to 9:30 p.m.
7:00 to 7:30:
Tea, Coffee, Socializing, Joining BayCHI, ...
7:30 to 9:30:
Why Virtual Reality Has Not (Yet) Become a Widespread Technology
Jaron Lanier, National Tele-Immersion Initiative
PARC's George E. Pake Auditorium
3333 Coyote Hill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
BayCHI program meetings are free and open to the public.
BayCHI may publish audio or video recordings
or photographs of BayCHI program meetings.
BayCHI does not permit recording or photography by attendees.
Jaron Lanier will discuss, in dialog with the audience, the eleven top
reasons why virtual reality has not yet become widespread. He has
prepared a list for us to read in advance:
http://people.advanced.org/~jaron/topeleven.htmlThe Top Eleven Reasons
VR has not yet become commonplace
With apologies to David Letterman and Spinal Tap
In no particular order:
1) Gates envy: Everyone jumped in in the early 1990s with
absurdly premature software in the hopes of being positioned as
a standard bearer. VRML, for example. Utterly useless stuff.
Java3D. Etc. VR software is HARD and astonishingly some of the
most visible of the proposed standards were designed by people
who hadn't actually completed any serious VR apps.
2) Slow computers. In fact, the ceiling for real time graphics
hasn't budged in 5 years. SGI and its competitors stopped
improving back then. Now that commodity cards have caught up
with SGI, the new hope is building big machines out of commodity
cards running in parallel.
3) Expensive data/content. You could hand enter the data to
make a word processor or spreadsheet useful from the very
beginning, so data wasn't a limiting factor to get pc apps
primed. Useful VR needs lots of hard to get data- insides of
human bodies, etc. And static data isn't enough- dynamics are
at the cutting edge of viability because of computer speed and
the existing body of applied math techniques.
4) Too many charlatans: $1 per minute crappy VR in malls really
hurt the field in the late 1980s/early 1990s.
5) Interface components: Still need higher res screens, better
6) Liability problems: Can't rely on consumer market because
insurers worry about VR accidents. Kids walking into hot stoves
while they think they're dancing on clouds, or God knows what.
7) Because human acuity is so good that you can't get away with
so-so specs as you can when the interface is less intimate, as
with existing mass produced devices.
8) Because expectations are so high, it's too easy to
disappoint. Some of the attempts to build VR products have
stumbled on this difficulty.
9) Because the basic ideas of VR still need some more work. We
still don't have a clear idea of what a truly useful general
haptic interface would be like, for instance. Of course those
of us who are obsessed with the problems are always working on
such ideas, and I'm completely confident we'll get there, but it
must be admitted that there's still work to be done.
10) Because there is still no clear sense of where VR fits into
the time and space of our lives and workflows. VR setups take
up space. Where would you put one? When would you use it? New
interfaces usually colonize the time and space taken up by older
ones. That's why the first successful consumer computer designs
initially looked like typewriters, even though I think everyone
involved was vaguely embarrassed by the association. Same with
wireless devices in relation to phones. What exactly is VR
stepping into the shoes of? It can't really step into reality,
so, where? When? A lot of ideas have come up. It's the new
home exercise machine, or the new game machine (warmer,
perhaps), or the rainy day alternative to the bicycle, but
whatever it is, there needs to be some sense of time and place
for it, at least at first.
11) One movie projector can entertain hundreds of people at
once. A room full of people can look at a television. A few
people can look at a PC screen at the same time. But only one
person at a time can fully enjoy VR, even though the equipment
costs more than any of the above. That problem has confounded
Having said all this, please remember that considered as an industrial
(rather than consumer) technology, VR has been a great success. You
can't buy a car that wasn't designed in VR, or fill it with gas that was
found without the aid of VR.
Go back to Jaron's home
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