My Personal Side Note

Virtual Reality technology is an effort of making virtual world closer to physical world. Augmented Reality is an effort of making real world closer to virtual space. Each passing days the two are getting closer to each other until both terms are interchangeable. Fortunately, nowadays we call them Augmented Reality for the sake of sales.

Just like other terms seems Virtual Reality got some sort of techie sound to it. In the 80′s and 90′s, tech world sounds futuristic. People loves to call computer-like jargon on any high-level device. At that time, techno sound was born. People getting excited from the new digital sound produced by a single keyboard called synthesizer.

Since Nokia introduced technology for human beings, basically many products trying to get this philosophy. A product is to enhance human’s experience with their environment. Well, this concept was coined by father of Ubiquitous Computing, the late Mark Weiser. He introduced three type of devices: tabs, pads (yes, it was his term), and board.[*]

Anyway, it is also an ironic thing that the technology that a technology for human beings making them inhuman. I find myself in a shocking experience that we are degrading in society because of this technology. One of the terrible things happen was there is a story somewhere that people gather yet not talking each other. They talk to their devices.

Where would we bring this society into the new digital age?

An enthusiast researcher, a friend of mine, said that the technology leverage the level of humanity. People would not need to work in some jobs that could be handled by a machine. People then can move on to think the other things with higher education.

I agree, it is convenience and efficient. When a person not spending their time in washing their clothes because of the invention of washing machine, they can allocate that particular time to do something, e.g. learning. Some technologies are the salvations of humanity.

But… [yeah, this type of sentence always produce but]

some technologies parting us from reality to virtual spaces.

One reality that made me think hard is this: nowadays young adults take their attention on their smart devices than on their surrounding. Sometimes, I find in a group discussion, many young people on their devices while talking to each other. Sometimes they humming just to give a little gesture that they are listening.

But, I think they weren’t!

Can human multi-threading? Could they simultaneously do two or more things that need high attentions at the same time?

I know how thread works. You give a block of processing time exclusively to a job. Then in time they would yield to the job creator. Then, the processing time given to another job. Yes, it makes interactivity and snappier experience.

But, here’s the problem: how about if there are two or more jobs that require intensive processing?

In a weight-based job scheduler, the Operating System would gives the most weighted job more time than the previous. Sometimes, this preference would cause a problem of starving jobs. In other times, it might produce a deadlock because the system was waiting the least job. So, some scheduler making a timeout for the job waiting in queue.

In the fair scheduler, the job is given equally treated. The jobs are ended by force. The problem with this type of scheduler is it sometimes end the job at a wrong time. Sometimes, a badly programmed application is hanging because it still open an I/O resource while it already completed the processing. Well, to this type of problem, they introduce mutex.

Well, how about human? What type of scheduler they use to give attention for two or three heavily-needed attention type of activities?

When a people talking to you and then there is an interesting tweet/talk/status show up, don’t you would gives maximum attention to that thing and some details of the person’s talk are missing?

And what if the missing part was, “I love you, would you love me back?” or something bad, “I think I’d kill myself today”?

Don’t you think they would feel being alienated when other people take a gaze to their device?

People feels by seeing other people’s face gestures. The body language make a mark of something. A sentence might be a joke, might be a sad story. We know how it is by analyzing the speaker. That’s why we connected to each other by the presence of each person. Being these features deprecated, don’t people get lonely and misunderstood by that?

I know I don’t have a valid research on this. But, it seems people would feel uncomfortable around the people who do that. I think, that’s why they do the same thing. Yes, they too starting to play with their devices.

Some would said that people can do two things simultaneously. I don’t buy that as simple as a man having multi-processors. A Firefox may have different profiles, but it can only be activated one at a time. Why? Because human can only process one at a time.

Firefox may have tabs and windows, but we only see one particular at a time. We might have the ability to cycle from tabs to tabs or making windows side by side, yet we don’t see it all at the same time. May be some can, but even there is this “that some”, that some might extremely rare.

I know that Surrogate is not that far away in the future, but before it becomes science fiction no more, questions raised:

  1. What is the value of being real?
  2. Can digital world replace physical world?
  3. Can we say about the changing culture is safe for humankind?

I know that there are flaws on my arguments, especially that I don’t counter this with any research references. But, are we in the right track?

Oh, btw, I was trying to write are these technologies truly for humankind? I know they are, at least they were intended to be like that. But, are we as a community of human species ready for those? Are our nation ready? Are we ready?

At this time I wish each university in our country have at least one pervasive lab. Technology is no longer for engineers/computer scientists. It is a part of growing culture and since Indonesia has many local cultures. It intrigue me to find out how each local culture coping with new technology.

Oh, well, c’est la vie.

Note:

[*] Now you know the origin of a joke picture of Steve Jobs on iPhone, iPad, and iMat.

Jan Peter Alexander Rajagukguk

One of system administrator at Universitas Indonesia. His current interests are in smart card technology, pervasive computing, and free/open source software. He is an evangelist of free/open source movement and using FOSS actively.