One of the things I’m interested in generally is the notion of augmented or mediated reality–everything from simple HUD overlays to the kind of stuff Karl Schroeder so excellent explored in Lady Of Mazes. Some of the ideas that were clearly science fiction just a little while ago are turning into real street level science fiction–you could be walking around right now with an augmented reality system in your pocket.
Another thing I’ve mentioned being interested in before is the “old school” notion of distributed information resources compiled by sharing the products of freely donated intellectual efforts–you know, hobo signs.
Well, those two notions are coming together. OK, that augmented reality hobo signs app is a gag, but taking it seriously for a moment there are some interesting implications–it’s the first step toward the notion that a community’s interaction with reality can be modelled actively by that community and create an experience of the world that is entirely different for members of the community than for non-members.
And possibly more interesting: it’s happening on commodity hardware, using applications that interested people can create in their spare time. It’s not giant academic projects, it’s not corporate initiatives. Fascinating.