Edward Snowden is the infamous former CIA computer professional that leaked classified NSA information in 2013. His leaked reports about global surveillance inspired a great deal of conversation that continues to this day. Snowden has asylum in Russia currently, but many publications and companies speak with him to get opinions on different things.
It’s no surprise that someone wanted to get his thoughts on Trump’s election as the new President of the United States and that’s exactly what Fusion did.
The live conference with Snowden tackled the future of surveillance with a focus on a post-Trump nation and his perspective from exile. Eventually, he was asked about the different types of augmented reality, his preference, and whether he’d played Pokemon Go. He hadn’t, but he did still share some thoughts on the game’s mass appeal.
“The most accessible [types of AR] are the ones we don’t require additional equipment for,” he says. “The reason Pokemon Go was so successful is it allows us to interact with these new dynamics without requiring additional equipment we don’t already have.”
He attributed the experience to a “window into a side of the world that we haven’t seen before”, a statement that can reflect both augmented reality and virtual reality alike. Augmented is more often a specific filter for our world, but it makes sense.
He soon after went into a dialogue about AR’s implementation outside of entertainment, like showing street signs on a road where signs don’t physically exist or a political history relay that answers specific questions. His imagined AR scenario took an area and, via AR, you had answers about where you are, where meetings are, what’s happened there recently, whether a police killing of an unarmed individual had happened there, who influences the area, and more.
“Suddenly, when you have access to information, you realize you were not just looking at the world in a different way, but relating to it in a different way,” he explains. “These have very powerful beneficial possibilities but also very dark possibilities.”
Snowden continues by discussing potential pitfalls of that type of data being available in AR, harassment, and abuse being prime examples, but also the long-term potential ramifications of a more regularly utilized set of augmented reality glasses constantly overlaying what you see and whether it’d be a blessing or curse. Much like how he closed out his segment on AR, we have no idea where the technology will go but we’re at a point that we can influence political understanding and augmented reality’s direction greatly, hopefully for the better.
You can watch the full conference here.