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collection:

The AR Cloud: Tech imaginaries, Future Risks and Potential Affordances (2021)

Curator: Liron Efrat, University of Toronto | September 2021 and ongoing
Collection Editor: Isabel Pedersen
Collection Archivists: Liron Efrat

After undergoing 20 years of emergence, Augmented Reality (AR) is predicted to progress to become a full-scale ambient platform. AR is a method of human-computer interaction that blends virtual representations with physical spaces, seeking to augment, mix or even shift reality (Azuma 1997). Its transformative quality is that it combines virtual components with human sensory modalities (i.e., sight, sound, touch), meaning that it can augment the first-person point of view of the user with the potential to achieve a significant sense of virtual presence. However, the next iteration of Augmented Reality, the ‘AR Cloud,’ ‘Mirrorworld,’ or 'Hyper-reality' is a speculative plan to create a shared multi-user environment, a global augmented reality, and “a real time spatial map of the world” (Inbar 2018; Kelly 2019). The AR cloud requires a persistent 3D digital copy of the world, which means that if a developer creates a virtual overlay for a real space, it will remain accessible to anyone after the fact across different devices and platforms. As an imagined technology future, many believe it could affect positive societal change (e.g., Open AR Cloud Association), while others believe the risk could involve further conditions of surveillance, corporate control, or harms to humans. 

Amid corporate innovations, this collection draws on historic, imagined visions for AR Cloud from technologists Steve Mann (1997) and Pranav Mistry (2009), as well as more recent speculative provocations from artists, including Keiichi Matsuda.

Related Collection
Human-centered Design for Augmented Reality (AR) (2018-2021)

Related Research
Pedersen, I., Duin, A.H., Iliadis, A., Efrat, L. The AR Cloud: Tech Imaginaries, Future Risks, and Potential Affordances. The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Annual Conference 2021, October 6-9, 2021 Toronto. 
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