Originally published August 6 2004
Augmented Reality Technology Promises Breakthroughs In Education And Cognitive Potential
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
NASA is developing new technology known as the wearable augmentable reality prototype, or WARP. It's a wearable personal computer very similar to the concept I have described in the report called The Ten Most Important Emerging Technologies For Humanity. These augmented reality wearable computers would overlay audio and video signals onto the natural surrounding environment, allowing a person to see, hear or otherwise observe characters, events, animations, notes, or other data in a way that appears to be part of the natural surrounding environment.
This technology is being described as a cognitive prosthesis, in much the way that a pair of eyeglasses is an ocular prosthesis. In other words, this technology enhances the cognitive potential of the human brain. It brings computers closer to the human and narrows the chasm between human intention and computing power.
Even though this research is currently being conducted for NASA, I believe that wearable augmented reality prototype technology has widespread implications for education and training. As I describe in my emerging technologies whitepaper, the same technology could be quite effectively used to enhance the educational potential in public schools, universities, and continuing education classes.
For example, imagine actually experiencing a piece of history by walking through it and seeing the animated characters of historical figures standing in the room near you, rather than merely reading about history from a textbook. Imagine walking through the anatomy of a human being as if it were a giant human and you were a microscopic observer. With augmented reality, all of this is possible.
Augmented reality stands in contrast to artificial intelligence, which is of course a name given to a study of science that attempts to create thinking machines. Augmented reality, in contrast, makes no attempt to create thinking machines, but instead seeks to enhance the cognitive ability of human beings and bring computing power closer to humans through computer-human interface technology.
When Ken Ford ponders AI, he thinks of boosting human brainpower through Amplified Intelligence, using machines to augment human cognition.
- Among his tasks: Figure out how AI should fit into NASA's plans to return people to the Moon and send them to Mars.
- Astrobiology Magazine (AM): The IMHC research agenda broadly seems to cover robotics, cognition and simulations.
- The focus and theme of our research is what has become known as human-centered computing which, in a nutshell, is about fitting technology to people instead of fitting people to technology.
- We like to refer to it as building cognitive prostheses, computational systems that leverage and extend human intellectual capacities, just as eyeglasses are a kind of ocular prosthesis.
- Building cognitive prostheses is fundamentally different from AI's traditional Turing Test ambitions -- it doesn't set out to imitate human abilities, but to extend them.
- And yet (unlike, say, the ambition of developing artificial insects) it keeps human thought at the center of our science.
- Robots can be made adjustably autonomous, so they explore by themselves but report back if they need help or find something interesting (using the criteria which we provide, of course).
- KF: We do not have at this time an opinion as to which data analysis methods should be used for the variety of problems of these kinds that may arise in manned and robotic exploration in many cases the character of the problems will depend on technology yet to be developed.
- AM: Some have advocated robotic exploration to solve many problems in planetary exploration, ranging from extreme environments and cost, to command transmission delays over great distances.
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