Aaron Frank, principal faculty member at Singularity University, has an extensive background in life science and communication, with a specialization in augmented and virtual reality (VR). He researches and reports on trends affecting business. Singularity University is a global community that uses expanding technologies to take on some of the planet’s greatest challenges. Through its extensive platform comprised of learning and innovation resources, Singularity intends to empower people to meet problems head-on and find solutions via a network of experts in AI, robotics, and digital biology.
Frank recounts several stories of businesses that have seen incredible expansion due to virtual world technology, such as a billion-dollar real estate business that has completely adopted virtual activity, which allows for all their employees to gather online, from wherever they are in the world. But the environments are larger and more detailed than most would ever imagine, with interactive campuses that allow users to take on all sorts of activities in the virtual world. In business, and in play, Frank discusses how the technology has broken through to higher levels and provides users with vivid, intense experiences virtually.
He gives an insightful look at the virtual worlds being designed today that allow users to experience big events, such as concerts and festivals, and even political debates, as an avatar, which enables them to interact and communicate with other avatars. And Frank outlines some of the newest technology being introduced by global giants such as Facebook and others. He provides an overview of Facebook’s new Venues product, which utilizes 360 VR cameras to capture events.
Facebook’s entry into the VR space will allow users to enjoy live events such as major concerts, and sports, and attend premieres of big movies, all over the globe, and experience them with their friends from anywhere. And while VR technology is fifteen or more years old, the latest components that allow for real, multiple users shared experiences are only in their nascent stages.
The technology expert details some of the other opportunities for VR environments, such as security and protection. Frank explains how we can expect the future of location and perimeter security to be 100% virtual, in that security personnel will no longer be doing foot patrols in actual space but will be walking a virtual space instead. As virtual worlds merge with the real world, the stuff of science fiction novels and movies will become our actual reality.
Frank states that by design, Singularity University focuses only on the positive ways that technology can be utilized, but he acknowledges that negative applications of technology are certainly within the realm of possibility. Frank delves into some of the current concerns that many people have with technology advances such as privacy issues and a general fear of a surveillance state. And he points out that while VR is incredibly interesting and has many positive applications, VR environments offer little privacy in that everything that is done, looked at, etc. is entirely trackable. However, as Frank states, blockchain technology, which is essentially a list of records called blocks that are linked using cryptography, may deliver some additional privacy and anonymity that will allay users’ anxiety.
Ultimately, however, as networks expand and technology explodes, VR and augmented reality will become a regular part of our daily experience in business, and also for pleasure. And tech companies are racing to provide networks that have the processing power to keep up with innovative design as it advances at breathtaking rates.