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The Implications of Pokémon Go
The explosive success on Pokémon Go ushers in an age of augmented reality that will change us.
Augmented reality (AR) apps have been around for as long as there have been cameras in phones. The first one for the iPhone was Metro Paris Subway, released in 2009. A reviewer at the time said “…Don't bother…Because it's just not that exciting." Every important new technology needs a killer app to show people why they can't live without it, and on July 6, 2016, AR finally got one: Pokémon Go.
No app — or arguably any amusement of any kind — has ever launched with such explosive virality. 21 million people downloaded it in just three weeks and many of them have joyously surrendered their lives to the game. Thanks to some tinkering by its developer Niantic, though — or maybe because every fever breaks eventually — Pokémania looks like it's already peaked. Nonetheless, it's safe to assume that AR is here to stay, and it comes with some interesting considerations.
The simplest, most obvious thing you can say about AR is that it forces sedentary users to get up and out into the real world for some much-needed exercise. And when they do, the odds of social interaction increase, especially with people playing the same AR game.
Second, some experts believe that playing AR games stands to rekindle the imaginations of children in ways that passive on-device play can't.
The Atlantic spoke with media producer Devon Lyon, who thinks that reintroducing children to unexpected AR elements merged with reality will spur their own creativity, a critical stage in their development. He sees AR as a return to the pre-device glory days when kids would be out playing with sticks as swords, dreaming up their own fantastical narratives and worlds.
En garde! (DONNIE RAY JONES)
But each child's “sword" back then probably looked different than his friends' — it's likely no two would look exactly alike. It may be that imagination is such a personal thing that presenting a child with a pre-designed AR sword is filling in a blank the child no longer needs to fill him/herself.
Education professor Diane Levin, who founded Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Childrens Entertainment (TRUCE) told The Atlantic, “What play is all about is coming across interesting problems to solve that are unique to you, that grow out of your interactions, experiences, and knowledge."
Finally, and maybe most importantly, it seems obvious that having been drawn into the AR world by games, we'll eventually get used to the convenience of seeing tools, heads-up displays, and objects in front of us. How long will it take to become dependent on them being there? Plain old reality may no longer be enough for us, and we won't want to live there.
And…there's the perp. (WINGED1DER)
Does this silly game signal that we've arrived at the corner around which is a life that's as virtual as it is real? When Google launched their Google Glass AR eyewear in 2013, the world greeted them with a big “huh?" Pokémon Go makes it more obvious than ever that the company was just too early. It took Pikachu to show us the way.
Ready to see the future? Nanotronics CEO Matthew Putman talks innovation and the solutions that are right under our noses.
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
A scientist in Sweden makes a controversial presentation at a future of food conference.
- A behavioral scientist from Sweden thinks cannibalism of corpses will become necessary due to effects of climate change.
- He made the controversial presentation to Swedish TV during a "Future of Food" conference in Stockholm.
- The scientist acknowledges the many taboos this idea would have to overcome.
Depiction of cannibalism in the Medieval ages.
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President Vladimir Putin announces approval of Russia's coronavirus vaccine but scientists warn it may be unsafe.
A new coronavirus vaccine on display at the Nikolai Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/ Russian Direct Investment Fund via AP
Medical workers draw blood from volunteers participating in a trial of a coronavirus vaccine at the Budenko Main Military Hospital outside Moscow, Russia.
Credit: Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP
A report from the New York Times raises questions over how the teletherapy startup Talkspace handles user data.
- In the report, several former employees said that "individual users' anonymized conversations were routinely reviewed and mined for insights."
- Talkspace denied using user data for marketing purposes, though it acknowledged that it looks at client transcripts to improve its services.
- It's still unclear whether teletherapy is as effective as traditional therapy.
Talkspace.com<p>Former employees also questioned the legitimacy of certain interventions by the company into client-therapist interactions. For example, after one therapist sent a client a link to an online anxiety worksheet, a company representative instructed her to try to keep clients inside the app.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I was like, 'How do you know I did that?'" Karissa Brennan, a therapist who worked with Talkspace from 2015 to 2017, told the Times. "They said it was private, but it wasn't."</p><p>Other former employees said the company would pay special attention to its "enterprise partner" clients, who worked at companies like Google. One therapist said Talkspace contacted her for taking too long to respond to Google clients.</p><p>Talkspace responded to the Times with a Medium <a href="https://medium.com/@founders_22883/talkspace-founders-respond-to-a-new-york-times-article-78d6f5c45c59" target="_blank">post</a>, which claimed the Times report contained false and "uninformed assertions."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Talkspace is a HIPAA/HITECH and SOC2 approved platform, audited annually by external vendors, and has deployed additional technologies to keep its data safe, exceeding all existing regulatory requirements," the post states.</p>