'Sight': Film offers sinister take on Google Glasses
Short film shows the dehumanizing pitfalls of augmented reality and gamification in our everyday interactions.
Thu, Aug 02 2012 at 3:41 PM
A man's blind date gets off on the wrong foot after he unknowingly chooses a burger joint to meet his vegetarian lady friend. He knows she's upset because his "Sight" bionic implant detected her mood as being anxious and unimpressed, but it's all under control — the man's "Wingman" app predicts the lady might like some wine instead.
Such is the reality of tomorrow's blind dates in the short film called "Sight" — a brilliant but terrifying graduate project of two students, Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo, at the Bezalel Academy of Arts in Israel. The film's fictional vision resembles a more sinister take on Google's geeky optimism toward augmented reality technology that can fuse the digital and real worlds.
Google envisions its Google Glasses, a wearable augmented reality device, giving people instant access to information about the world without having to tap on their smartphone or tablet screens. The glasses' augmented reality technology takes digital information — normally locked away inside mobile apps or Internet browser windows — and displays it in a timely fashion directly on top of what a person sees in the real world.
But "Sight" pushes augmented reality and other technology trends to the creepy extremes by imagining a Google Glasses device implanted in your head. That cyborg technology enables the man in "Sight" to do a lot more than just check on the woman's social networking updates on the date in progress.
Perhaps the most disturbing example in the film is the fictional "Wingman" app — a supercharged version of creepy dating apps that uses facial recognition technology to assess the date's facial expressions, predict her likes and dislikes based on personality, or run a vocal analysis to detect her emotional state.
The film even envisions the outcome of the "gamification" trend by turning exercise, household chores and dating into the equivalent of mobile games with digital achievements or rewards. Imagine a real mobile game such as "Fruit Ninja" applied to cutting up vegetables, or the fictional "Wingman" app tracking the date's progress with a "bronze," "silver" and "gold" status. [Gamification Increasingly Transforms Life into Play]
"Sight" also hints at the problems humans might face when they become too dependent on an omniscient technology in their daily lives — an ever-present fear haunting many past and present technologies. And a final twist at the end of the film suggests the "Sight" technology goes deeper than just the wearable contacts version of Google Glasses.
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