Every day we as humans are integrating more and more with the technology around us with the digital world it’s incredible but what we’re finding is that we’re starting to blow this line between virtual in reality. I think it’s a pretty interesting thing because as we integrate more with this technology around us we’re starting to find new ways to allow it to augment us. Now we will all find ourselves somewhere along this continuum between the real world as we know it in the virtual world and we’re going to be moving into that future very quickly you don’t currently find yourself telling your friends about the other day when you were walking around a couple of social media sites and you grab some mates from the other side of the world inside in the online store was one of them for on some virtual clouds but the world is changing very very quickly and so we need to keep up with that we need to raise the conversations as to what we could potentially achieve.
Now in the late eighties early nineties there was this rise of virtual reality we had these headsets my dad got me to try these on these headsets that would give you an incredible headache and it’s basically like strapping a TV to your face but you can look around and what happens then is it makes it very immersive. Now back then it wasn’t the right time and it was overshadowed by the rise of the Internet but we could still say even then that there was a future for this technology. So over the last years I’ve been working in technologies that can augment us and most of my work has been in disability. I’ve worked on a smart wheelchair for my PhD in 2012 and this smart wheelchair was allowing you to a person who needed it I mostly worked in disability on communication liability in connection but this allowed you to control the wheelchair read the mind and will check with seen think for itself like a robot so I had robotics and artificial intelligence in there as well.
Now what’s really interesting is the camera that you can see on the front the yellow camera that’s a stereoscopic vision system now what it has is two cameras that act just like our own eyes they take two different images put them on top of each other and with that just like we can see in three dimensions it can project those pixels into the third dimension giving it a third ordinate and allowing a very low quality three-dimensional photo. Now this is something I found on the front of via the laptop of the wheelchair I found this the other day from 2008 I have no idea what I was doing here but that’s me. I think I’m holding some recycling boxes but what you can see there is you can rotate three dimensional space because 3D point cloud so all these pixels reside in three-dimensional space. Now that was very interesting but the technology itself has actually advance a lot since then. Now the rise of virtual reality came back again in 2012 with the oculus rift has anyone heard of this great. Okay this is good so we’re on board with this that’s about half the crowd by the way of what I just saw. Now when I first tried the oculus rift I put this device on my head and like the TV being strapped to the face it was a lot better than it used to be much much better. What I found was I found myself in a virtual apartment and I was watching a virtual TV and on this TV there was a music video.
Now I’ve got really immersed in it and then I started to realize when it finished that are still sitting in a virtual apartment and then I took the device off back to the real world but the interesting thing was I remember this as if it was a memory as if I had experienced it and that’s when it when I realized it was so incredibly powerful. So with that type of power in that sort of technology combined with the 3D point clouds from it made me realize that we are standing at the verge of a massive technological revolution we could potentially realize certain ideas as wacky as they are certain ideas like being able to create a virtual copy of ourselves and I started thinking about that I thought this would be amazing if we could create a virtual copy what we need is a 3d but volumetric recording volumetric capture of a human and so this would be a very realistic shell we give it a virtual skeleton so that it can move and that the computer can control it through the programs then we get artificial intelligence but not the general time you don’t need to have a very advanced general artificial intelligence to allow it to learn everything and go on to continue to learn you don’t need that you just need an artificial intelligence that will learn specifics about the person being copied things like their gestures their mannerisms the things that make us so that the person can spend a lot of time with the system so the system can learn what that part what makes up that person and then of course you’re going to need are some voice in four sizes that are very natural so that the system can speak on their behalf but what it will actually do is capture that person caught in a moment in space and time so it’s kind of like we could revisit these virtual copies and have natural conversations with them which is very intriguing because if we were able to copy some of the most influential positive change makers in this world what if we had Stephen Hawking or alien mask able to be copied so that people could go and meet them in the virtual world or even bring them into the real world through augmented reality is something that was very interesting but bringing it back to a personal level I started to realize that I wanted to see how it could affect us even more emotionally starting to think about what would happen if this was a family member that we could preserve.
What we have here is a picture of myself when I was a baby with my grandfather now he sounded like it absolutely lovely man an amazing person and are very much love to meet him unfortunately he passed away when I was just before I was too and he never got to meet my lovely wonderful triplet siblings for three and a half years younger than me. So if this idea this concept existed in the past I would absolutely want to be able to meet a virtual copy of my grandfather and be able to speak with in to be able to interact with him because I would get a better idea of who he was but I want to talk to my mom about this because I had no idea how to gauge this idea that I had so I spoke to my mom and I said what would what would you think if I was say you know the technology is not what not available now but wasn’t back then either what would you say if I could have brought back your grandfather and with tears in her eyes she said I don’t think I want that because I would be constantly reliving the loss and I started to realize this idea is actually very different it’s very important to recognize this there’s challenges and opportunities with every new technological development.
So as much as I would love it my mom would have a different approach and that reason is because our prior relationship with the person being copied will affect the response that we have. Having said that it would be the best thing for me if I was able to make my grandfather so if we take it to an even more personal level what if we could copy ourselves throughout time and be able to go back and revisit ourselves in the past and really understand the sort of Dreams the visions that we had did you ever have those big ideas to do so much for the world what would happen if you apply yourself were saying how are you going with that I think it’s incredibly powerful. What would you say to your previous self and what was your part of say to you now. I really would like to show you something that we’ve been working on so this is an amazing collaboration that we’ve had from my guys at Psy Kinetic and the brilliant people that humans to bring together. This little demo and you can see the work that’s gone into it. Now wait so you guys can see what I can see let me know when you can see my little virtual stage.
Now how would you respond, think about it for a moment how would you respond if you found yourself face-to-face with yourself. It’s incredibly weird and really sick that I am currently walking around a virtual version of me now if this wasn’t you if this wasn’t your own copy. Here’s another interesting thing the amazing response that we can have from this in terms of empathy think about what would happen if you can step directly into someone else’s shoes and see through their eyes. I’m currently writing something different now. This was just a glimpse of what we could potentially go on to achieve but the exciting thing about this is whenever we have these massive technological advances the exciting thing is that it makes us realize it makes us reflect what it means to be human. It makes us reflect on ourselves and at the core of humanity is empathy and connection. So if you had a copy of you floating around potentially having conversations with people I want you to think about it what sort of stories would you tell what sort of vision and values would you share and what sort of legacies would you like to leave for future generations.