1. Russell Holly's Avatar
    This topic may seem a little unusual, but I promise it's relevant to our interests!

    Went to see a US reveal for the first (and maybe only?) Sword Art Online movie last night, and had some thoughts.

    For the uninitiated, this anime started back in 2012 before VR had really become a thing again. In the first season, this super advanced VR helmet transported users to an entirely virtual world where they moved around with only their mind. The creator of the game hacked everyone's helmets and altered the game so anyone who died in the game or tried to remove the helmet would die in the real world. Everyone had to try to beat the game to escape, and the story follows the social implications of being stuck in that environment. While it's a cartoon, and the primary story followed a fairly generic love interest, the background social stuff was really interesting.

    Fast forward to the movie, where these "Full Dive" helmets and the much safer alternatives that were created after the first season are being replaced with an Augmented Reality set you wear in the real world. It's called "Augma" and the whole focus is on being present in the real world while enjoying many of the same kinds of experiences you'd have in virtual worlds. The movie plot follows something going horribly wrong and has a fairly well written fall back to some of the original story, but again the most interesting thing about this movie was the social implications in the background.

    In this future world, a ton of people are wearing Augma around all the time. It replaces the smartphone for a lot of people, with things like messages and email showing up right in front of you when you need it. As a result, everything has become slightly gamified.

    The main characters sit down at a restaurant, and there's a minigame waiting for them on the table. When they beat the minigame, they get a free dessert. The waitress doesn't even need to be asked, she brings the dessert out once the game has been beaten and the three individual desserts are things the players have ordered and enjoyed in the past. The main characters shrug this off as "deep learning" from Augma and enjoy their food.

    We also see coupons for free drinks pop up when people walk past vending machines they frequent, and invitations to participate in large scale AR MMO games based on location and activity level. It was all fascinating to see, because it's not only possible but something we're already seeing the building blocks of in the real world with things like Pokemon Go.

    The last thing of interest was a network capacity concept. When a lot of players show up in any one area to play the game, a drone is dispatched to ensure connection stability and server balancing. While that's not really something we're seeing yet, it's a concept being considered in several places around the world right now.

    I'm not going to ruin much more of the show or the movie for you, but I found the whole thing fascinating on several levels. First, it's really funny how the rapid advances in VR and AR caused this show to change since 2012. Second, the show creators are clearly paying a lot of attention to what are being considered social norms when it comes to interacting with tech and pushing that envelope just slightly forward. It all still feels like something futuristic, but completely plausible with our current understanding of these technologies.

    If you have the opportunity to see the series or the movie, I recommend it. The movie isn't in English yet, but there's a lot to absorb from a social level that I find fascinating.
    Firegold21 likes this.
    03-10-2017 08:30 AM
  2. Cale Hunt's Avatar
    Damn, Russell. I'm not much of an anime fan but I think I'll check this out. Sounds very neat.

    On a sort-of-related note, I recently read Neuromancer for the first time and found I could easily imagine flying through the matrix. The Simstim stuff was pretty interesting too, and I think it's something we will eventually see.
    03-10-2017 02:03 PM
  3. Firegold21's Avatar
    I was a fan of the original SAO, though never finished it. I enjoyed .Hack//Sign much more. That out of the way ... the movie sounds cool and very timely. If I get a chance, I'll have to check it out.
    03-10-2017 04:25 PM
  4. Chemy JMHT's Avatar
    Wow @Russell Holly that's why you are a writer and the rest of us aren't.

    That's a really good article, you sold me the series, actually I saw that in one on-demand tv series ro something, but I'm already looking at it, I was debating with a Sociologist about what are the limits and usability of VR/AR and it's amazing how she only believed it was for gaming entrainment and not useful for anything else.

    She works in some social projects, you know, to improve the life of those in places where the conditions are far from ideal, I only needed to show her a few articles of how UN is using VR to help not only the people in places in war or without a lot of thing, but also to change the way of how the rest of the world see those places.

    I think using this kind of TV series and cartoons is a way to reach more people to open their minds about how can VR/AR can be used on daily basis.
    03-15-2017 10:03 PM
  5. Russell Holly's Avatar
    Yeah, in this situation it's a great storytelling medium. I was really surprised by how good this story way.
    Chemy JMHT likes this.
    03-16-2017 12:19 PM
  6. Chemy JMHT's Avatar
    Yeah, in this situation it's a great storytelling medium. I was really surprised by how good this story way.
    I'm looking for the Season 1 to watch it, I like some Anine from time to time, and there are a lot of sites which have it for free (I think legally).
    03-28-2017 09:38 PM
  7. Angelo Joseph Vargas Vibal IV's Avatar
    04-02-2017 07:54 AM
  8. Akame214's Avatar
    Stands for sword art online
    04-17-2017 02:48 AM

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