Published @ ICT Magazine

A story from 2042


George is sitting in his chair. He makes wild hand movements in the air. Every now and then he makes a clicking sound with his tongue. His eyes move to the rhythm of his hands, while the left corner of his mouth slightly curls up. To a Realist his room looks quite empty. Next to his chair there are only a few large and small plants. Beautifully green and well cared for. So good, you’d almost think they’re fake.

George is very satisfied with his room. Years ago he got rid of his desk, cupboards, laptop and smartphone. If he still needs certain things, he snaps his fingers and he has his desk or laptop again, virtually of course. In theory, he could then also type via a virtual keyboard, although he hasn’t touched a keyboard for a long time. ‘Building’ has been the new typing for quite some time now. Certainly for the reality builders, in short ‘builders’. Those people used to be called IT professionals.

George is so absorbed in the construction of his new data story that he is startled when Julia walks in. For a moment she puts her hand on his shoulder.

“Do you have a minute?”
Joris feels his headset glow for a moment, indicating that tension has been measured in the voice of his empowerment coach. Gesturing to his headset to render the build and switch to physical reality mode, he mumbles, “Sure, what’s going on?”
“I hear you used BestYou again during that sales call,” Julia says.

Shit, how does she know that?
During his virtual encounters, people see George’s facial expressions through a realistic facial simulation. Of course, like everyone else, he has pimped his digital face a bit: a full head of hair and a clean jawline, a new fashion trend that he likes.

Less accepted is BestYou, the personality optimizer that lets people be their best selves. Both virtual physical and virtual psychological. Sometimes George uses the new feature, which adds short, laughing micro-expressions to his facial simulation. No one sees that this comes from BestYou, while it does increase its likability by an average of 8.5 percent, according to the algorithm. He only uses it when absolutely necessary. For example, in an unfamiliar business environment. Not with his own friends or family.

“You know, Julia,” he begins, “I just had to score. If I am not allowed to build that story for that customer, I will miss my bonus.” George looks at the ground. That could mean a downward spiral. He keeps it to himself that without that bonus he can no longer afford credits for BestYou, which means that he will undoubtedly miss out on even more gigs.

A chill runs down his spine. shit! BestYou is still on and tries to tell him that he is completely ruining it for Julia. But when he gestures now to simulate the best intervention, Julia will no doubt see the reflection in his eyes.

“This is really not going well, Joris.” Her voice sounds irritated. “According to your colleagues, you even used BestYou during your team outing in Upside-Down.”

“Of course. It was just a ridiculous storyworld. Jean always does, with his backward ideas. Why don’t we just go to #Amirite. They may be Pre-Fab experiences, but all famous memes just walk around there. And by the way, Kermit had it on too.”

“That seems unlikely to me. If there’s anyone who doesn’t need that, it’s Kermit. He is always one-on-one with his Real Self.”

Really?! For a reality psychologist, Julia is very naive. But kudos to Kermit for getting away with it. Or could she be right?

“Do you think they knew I used BestYou during my pitch?” Joris wonders aloud.
Julia turns her head away and sighs. “That’s not even the point, Joris…”

Joris waits, but no words follow. He again feels two light vibrations from BestYou, now on his shoulders. He knows he has to be honest now. That is precisely why Julia is his Catalyst. Not just to support, structure and inspire – what managers used to do. But also because she dares to confront. After all, George himself has indicated that he wants to deal with all realities more congruently.

“I know,” says Georges, defeated. “Thank you. Shall we go down? The rest is already there.”

The sun shines in the spacious downstairs room. Also here are some near-perfect plants, a corner sofa, and a chair here and there. George smiles when he sees his father sitting there. Colleagues, family and friends visit him once a month. Each of them has a stake in three to five companies and projects. It took some time getting used to seeing his father, daughter, high school friend and colleague working side by side. Today there are eight people.

The coffee moments and lunches have never been so cozy. Usually they take a short walk, play football or go for a run.

His football friends think George is crazy that he regularly invites clients to his home. Yet more and more people are doing that. And nobody is shocked that he has less hair in real life and a different line of sight.

Anyway, today is a new day. Let’s build something beautiful without BestYou. Both with his work club here in reality, and with his challenging data story. He clicks his tongue, makes a few hand movements and immediately the room fills with his data story. He hears approving and even admiring sounds from everyone. He starts to build.

Thijs Pepping is a trend analist at SogetiLabs – the Sogeti Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology.

This was actually my tv-debut. The Dutch news show EditieNL made an item of the popular ‘BeReal’ app and asked me if and what this would change. Some pointers:

✨ BeReal sends users a notification once a day and the idea is that you take a ‘spontaneous’ photo within two minutes. With your front and rear camera at the same time. –> The app is seen as a move against the Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok filters and manipulations.

📱 Unlike other social media platforms, you cannot edit the photo at BeReal. Others can see how many times you’ve retaken the photo and how long you waited after the notification came. –> an attempt to quantify ‘realness’ and authenticity.

Reporter Lonneke Haveman explored the app to see what the user is experiencing. We concluded that the app challenges you less to play with reality because there are no filters. But also at BeReal you are faced with a choice: How do I pose? Do I want to retake the photo? What do I want to share? Do I want to wait before taking a photo?

–> The Real-Fake discussion continues in this app as well. And that discussion is only going to get more intense, interesting and meaningful in the coming years.

🖥️ You can watch the tv item here: https://www.rtlnieuws.nl/video/uitzendingen/video/5305031/afl-118

Published at https://www.ictmagazine.nl/achter-het-nieuws/de-lange-neus-van-de-metaverse/

Walmart has plans to start making its own cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Nike also published trendy digital plans such as virtual sneakers and clothing. Microsoft is paying no less than €65 billion for the acquisition of game company Blizzard. To put it bluntly: considerable investments are being made in the new digital market called ‘The Metaverse’. The question is whether and when the metaverse will be on the IT manager’s agenda.
 
Walmart filed trademarks with the patent office late last year to manufacture and sell virtual goods. Along with the game Roblox, Nike has even moved their physical headquarters to the metaverse. Nikeland must become the digital place-to-be.
 
Everyone wants a piece of the metaverse pie. Startups that previously raised money with ‘AI-driven’ projects are suddenly calling themselves ‘metaverse-ready’. Sometimes for good reasons. But often these are statements that would make Pinocchio’s nose grow a few decimeters. In this jungle of new hype, buzzwords and changing technology, the IT manager cannot escape the question of what course the organization should take in the world of the metaverse. However, whether the company is metaverse-ready starts with an entirely different question. Why now?
 
Bill Buxton, a pioneer in human-computer interaction, offers something to hold on to with his theory about the long nose of innovation: any technology that will have a significant impact in the next five years is already at least fifteen years old. Anyone who says that a completely new idea will change the world tomorrow is guilty of a Pinocchio. That raises the question of how long that nose of the metaverse actually is and why?
 
Thirty years for a mouse
Buxton illustrates his long-nosed theory with the help of the computer mouse. William English and Doug Engelbart of the Stanford Research Institute built this handy device around 1965. After the first public demo in 1968, all viewers agreed: genius!
 
All the more surprising that it then took thirty years before the computer mouse became really inextricably linked to our PCs. This long wearing time turns out to be typical rather than surprising. From further research with colleagues at Microsoft research, Buxton concluded that it takes an average of twenty years for new technology to really mature. In his well-known 2008 article (The Long Nose of Innovation), he already gave a warning: “Beware of anyone who advocates a ‘new’ idea that ‘will’ get off the ground in the next five years unless they change its history. can be traced back to fifteen years ago.”
 
Metaverse after three decades
In the 1992 book Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson describes the metaverse for the first time. This is a shared virtual world with hyper-realistic experiences in a synchronized time. Thirty years later, it’s hard to imagine just one dominating 3D world that houses all the people, companies, products, ecosystems and protocols. Meta, Microsoft and many others dream about that. On one condition: it must of course be their metaverse. Nowadays, everything that has anything to do with 3D or mixed reality is labeled ‘metaverse’, like an NFT that records who owns the digital sneaker or a beautiful digital artwork.
 
Director Tim Sweeney of Epic Games, which includes Fortnite and Unreal Engine, defines the metaverse as a vast, digitized space where users can freely mingle with brands and meet in ways that allow for self-expression and spark joy. He is considered one of the critical builders to the metaverse. This definition is so broad that it can even include existing social media platforms. As often happens, hype here is blown to the point where it almost loses all meaning.
 
No revolution
What remains for the IT manager is going back to an analysis per building block. What can be the added value of NFTs? Is a digital twin of the office, factory or product a useful addition? Can game worlds be a way to get closer to customers or employees? What could a factory worker do with augmented reality glasses for machine maintenance? 
 

The metaverse is not a revolution or an endpoint. It is an evolution with valuable opportunities for a gradual transformation to a much richer internet of engaging experiences. The gaming industry has been benefiting for decades from an increasing number of users and corresponding revenue growth. Hanging out and socializing as an avatar in games has now become the most natural thing in the world for young employees.

Medical and defense specialists were already using Virtual Reality in the 1970s. Only in 2010 did designer Paler Luckey come up with the first prototype of virtual reality glasses. The popular Meta Quest glasses evolved from that design. Accenture ordered 60,000 pairs of glasses last fall to train new employees. The NFTs stem from the blockchain technology that came into existence in 2009. Despite the fact that the NFT is the benjamin in the group, they are already showing how much financial value people place on art, status and elite communities in virtual reality.

The dramatic increase in video calls over the past two years is arguably the biggest breakthrough to widespread adoption of virtual reality. In that sense, the IT manager does not have to make a long face when asked what to do with the metaverse. If we use the broad definition of Sweeney, chances are that many IT managers have been involved in this new virtual world in one way or another for years.

Author: Thijs Pepping, trend analyst at the New Technology Exploration Institute (VINT) of ICT service provider Sogeti.

 

 

Read the full article @ https://fd.nl/tech-en-innovatie/1431583/lil-miquela-bestaat-niet-maar-toch-is-ze-een-topinfluencer-m2d2caphWWym

 

Erdinç Saçan, teacher and researcher at Fontys university of applied sciences wrote a book entitled ‘Inclusive Artificial Intelligence’. In the book, 40 experts speak, who explain in clear language what AI is, and what questions, challenges and opportunities the technology poses. 

I talked about the blessings of biased AI: these biases hold up a mirror. And if we are wise we use these ugly, natural, and sometimes handy insights to better our humanity. Read my full contribution @ https://www.fontys.nl/actueel/erdinc-sacan-schrijft-boek-inclusieve-artificial-intelligence/

 

 

Ivo Pertijs wrote this article for M&P. The interview had an interesting angle: what is the relevance of Real Fake for teachers? We talked about the importance of taking TikTok seriously and many other things. I learned from Ivo about Minecraft based history lessons and got some insights into the life of teachers and the school system. Always nice to turn homewards wiser after a conversation 😀

 

The Dutch Institute for Marketing (NIMA) keeps an eye on freshly published professional literature throughout the year:

“Sometimes there are real gems in between, those are the marketing books that you should not miss as a professional in this field. Every three months we declare such a must-read the marketing book of the quarter. For the first quarter of this year, the choice fell on ‘Real Fake’ by Menno van Doorn, Sander Duivestein and Thijs Pepping.”

Proud and happy 😃. Read their review @ https://www.nima.nl/nieuws/is-fake-straks-nog-fake/

Two prestigious clubs have nominated our book in their top 10 book of the year. Very honoured and proud :D. On the 20th of April we will be at their bookfestival and they will announce who will win the #1 spot.

Some information about these two clubs:

Sioo was founded in 1958 by 7 technical and economic universities, partly on the initiative of the consultancy industry. The Netherlands was rebuilt after the Second World War by engineers who at the time had technical but less organizational and change management insight and leadership. An external training institute had to be set up to coach the engineers on this in practice and Sioo was born. 

The Order of Organizational Advisors (OOA) was founded in 1940 in Amsterdam as the Central Bureau for Organization and Efficiency. In recent years, the Order has taken the step into the future and has shifted its focus to binding the new generation of management consultants. The Order wants to be less normative and more of a ‘platform’ for professional exchange. Personas that the Order wants to focus on are the ‘proactive start-up entrepreneur’ and the ‘focused professional networker’, with a coaching role for the more experienced advisors as ambassadors of professional quality.

 

That’s a strange experience; being interviewed by one of my favorite magazines… KIJK magazine is always so wonderfully curious, inquisitive, and explorative. Add to that a professional photo session with Allard Faas… Very ‘serious’ and fun to experience this

“In a world of deepfakes and fake news, it is increasingly difficult to determine what is real and what is not. A new book tries to map the blurring boundaries between real and imitation. KIJK spoke with co-author Thijs Pepping.”

‘We leven in een synthetische werkelijkheid’

Luis Irizarry is behind the tech blog Facades.ai which is completely dedicated to synthetic media and deepfakes. He truly knows the ins and outs of the field, so I am grateful (and relieved ;p) he gives our book a 5/5!

“Deeply philosophical and engaging, the book gets into the weeds of what reality “is” and how we need to consider all different flavors of it: objective reality, subjective reality and synthetic reality (which is pixels on a screen). If you’re looking for a better understanding of this new synthetic world we live in, look no further than Real Fake.”

Read the full review at https://www.facades.ai/blog/real-fake-book-review-ai-deepfakes-metaverse/