Augmenting Avatars… and People

Last night I read on The Meshverse Journal (Link) that Trevor Smith reported getting some Open Croquet avatars into Ogoglio (Link). Rozier asks whether avatars (and I assume he means portable avatars) should be linked into OpenID. I kinda figure this is inevitable in the same way I figure Human Resource information will eventually be tagged to avatars used inside corporate simulations; and those avatars will be passed among companies (e.g. employer to insurance company to…). At some point I suspect public and corporate avatars will merge, meaning that our avatars would become important and sensitive information containers. You know what that means: get ready to have your avatar hacked.

Somewhat related to this is the slow move to augmented reality interfaces. My first real introduction was when Telxon purchased a VR equipment maker supplying the aerospace industry back in the mid-90’s. Then ARQuake hit the scene in 2000; around the time highend video cards started migrating to the masses. Now, according to Joystiq (Link), it appears HP is working on their own device for merging videogames with reality. This sounds kind of like an EyeToy, only on steroids. Check out the conceivable but sadly laughable video on HP CMETV (Link).

More importantly, with XBox Live and Xfire and other profile aggregating services/systems, “smart” billboards, RFID devices and all the rest, game/virtual realities will probably “augment” information about real people in sometimes not-so-obvious or desirable ways.

They secured the most territory when keeping their heart rate at an optimal level, like 110 beats-per-minute…

Careful. That’s important personal information that someone… like an insurance company… is going to want to collect. It’s also the kind of thing that would have prevented Gattaca‘s hero from escaping his genetic circumstances.

Imagine for a moment that someone wanted to segregate people into those with three photoreceptors and those with four. Wouldn’t be hard to identify certain groups with little more than the right “game”.

Personally, I’m okay with an “Open Avatar”. I’ve never hidden my real life identity on Second Life, for example. However, I do believe some worthwhile discussion needs to happen on the subject. Hopefully soon.

Related: MyCyberTwin

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