Five Links: How Virtual Is Reality Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

As always, the “Internets” is a fascinating place (assuming a massive denial of service attack hasn’t cut you off from Twitter and Spotify) and there is a new trend in the things I was clicking. This is probably inspired by my recent obsession with Westworld, but I have been thinking in general about the essence of reality and how far technology can go to both conceal reality and create it. So this week’s theme is reality-bending technology: virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and the technologies behind it.


Decrypted: Westworld and the QA of Robots (ArsTechnica podcast)

This podcast, covering episode 2, looks at how the totally not-evil Delos Corporation is testing its malfunctioning humanoid robots. What I completely missed when I watched it originally is that there are several different layers and means of running diagnostics: a verbal “analytical” mode, the regular interactive mode, a command line interface that connects directly to their processor, and physical diagnostics / examinations. QA is an integral part of development, and one of my favorite styles of tests was “creative destruction” — how many new ways can we find to break something. The different interfaces for something as complex as an AI robot to analyze different aspects of behavior and performance is very cool.


The Foundation for Disruptive, Third Platform Technologies (IDC paper, sponsored by Red Hat)

IDC has long had a fascination with the concept of third platform technologies, defining different eras of the digital and information age. The third platform contains emerging technologies like Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, and even 3D printing. The thing is, these are essentially applied sciences; the underlying foundation for that tech includes things like cloud, containers, and mobile, used to process massive amounts of data and to be more responsive. This whitepaper looks at how to move into that cloud – container – mobile based environment.


VR Will Take Over Every Industry (ArsTechnica)

This is a longish article, but worth reading in full. It gives a nice overview of the VR market and looks at how it is being used outside gaming — most interestingly, highlighting how Land Rover has been using VR for almost a decade for everything from improving manufacturing processes to door design based on body modeling. It also looks at the more tentative movement of other industries experimenting with VR and some of the hardware and software limits that current VR development is facing.


AI, Malware, and Security (BusinessInsider)

Because apparently there aren’t enough things to fear on the Internet, BI has this article on how future malware will use artificial intelligence to be able to mine for data, imitate real-life people, and even ransom or hijack hardware. It’s an old concept, like the phishing emails of the 1990s, but with evolving elegance.


Technology in Search of a Purpose (LinkedIn Pulse post)

What was cool about the ArsTechnica post was that it touched on one organic application for VR in industry, with the way Land Rover was using it for process improvements and usability enhancements. This article is at a totally different perspective; it is trying to imagine ways that VR can be used in HR. (Sorry for the rhyme, I couldn’t resist.) The first idea is so simple and elegant, that I think it’s a natural development — using VR for training. It will make those yearly ethics modules a lot more relevant. Some of the other ideas, though, like using VR to provide an interactive look into a company culture feel a bit more forced. Gartner’s “hype chart” shows that there are natural cycles to new technology — a general “cool idea” phase, followed by trying to figure out what to do with this cool thing, and then hitting a level of productivity. This feels like a whiteboard session, and it’s good to start moving into the “how do we really want to use this?” phase.


BONUS: Twitter of Note

Jack Narcotta is the analyst focused on virtual and augmented reality (among other technologies) for Technology Business Research (TBR). He covers a variety of cloud, mobile, and digital topics, and the stream strikes a nice balance of informative and fun.


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