如梦幻泡影:“VR之父”关于VR的52个定义

什么是爱?

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious pr boastful or arroga nt or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or re sentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

13:4 爱是恒久忍耐,又有恩慈;爱是不嫉妒,爱是不自夸,不张狂,

13:5 不做害羞的事,不求自己的益处,不轻易发怒,不计算人的恶,

13:6 不喜欢不义,只喜欢真理;

13:7 凡事包容,凡事相信,凡事盼望,凡事忍耐;

13:8 爱是永不止息。先知讲道之能,终必归于无有;说方言之能,终必停止;知识也终必归于无有。

13:9 我们现在所知道的有限,先知所讲的也有限,

13:10 等那完全的来到,这有限的必归于无有了。

13:13 如今常存的有信,有望,有爱;这三样,其中最大的是爱。And now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

——《圣经新约·哥林多前书》第13章

什么是悟?

一切有为法。如梦幻泡影。如露亦如电。应作如是观。佛说是经已。长老须菩提。及诸比丘……一切世间天人阿修罗。闻佛所说。皆大欢喜。信受奉行。

——《金刚经》

互联网怪谈

新书《Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality》,可译为《一切新事物的曙光:现实与虚拟现实进化简史》,或《信望爱:如梦幻泡影》。

科技思想家、批判者、最早普及Virtual Reality(虚拟现实)一词、被誉为“VR之父”的杰伦·拉尼尔(Jaron Lanier),2017年出版了新书《Dawn of the New Everything》,对VR做出了52个(重新)定义。

有些颇有极客色彩:“VR是一种媒体技术,对该技术而言测量比显示更重要”。

有些则很诗意:“VR是一种让人注意到体验本身的技术。”

还有一些很骇人:“VR是适用于信息时代战争的训练模拟器”。

endless definition and redefinition– 52 in total:

“VR is one of the scientific, philosophical, and technological frontiers of our era … a means for creating comprehensive illusions that you’re in a different place, perhaps a fantastical, alien environment, perhaps with a body that is far from human”.

VR is (or could be) a means of “improvising reality”;

bringing about “shared lucid dreaming”;

“a cybernetic construction”;

“a person-centred, experiential formulation of digital technology”;

“a cross between cinema, jazz and programming”.

杰伦·拉尼尔警告说,“相比人工智能(AI),VR更危险,未来我们会因此遭遇最严重的道德挑战。”他的担忧一部分来自各大科技巨头的VR系统会搜集每个人的海量数据。

“我们必须让技术朝着道德的方向发展,不然我们会陷入灾难。”

他一直是科技行业的公知和批评家。杰伦·拉尼尔此前出过两本书,都警示人们,大公司可能会取代个人控制技术。

《你不是个玩意儿》(You Are Not a Gadget)指出,互联网正在制造出一批批“数字农奴”——用户放弃了自己的数据和隐私,却没有换来回报或发言权。

在《谁拥有未来》(Who Owns the Future)中,他谴责了科技大公司的垄断势力。

接受BI采访时,杰伦·拉尼尔谈及硅谷的文化变迁、反性骚扰运动#MeToo、以及他为什么离开谷歌到了微软。

杰伦·拉尼尔给Salon撰稿,阐释了VR的若干(重新)定义,VR将给人类带来哪些影响和改变。

https://www.salon.com/2017/12/17/how-virtual-reality-proves-we-are-real/

Fourth VR Definition: The substitution of the interface between a person and the physical environment with an interface to a simulated environment.

Fifth VR Definition: A mirror image of a person’s sensory and motor organs, or if you like, an inversion of a person.

Sixth VR Definition: An ever growing set of gadgets that work together and match up with human sensory or motor organs. Goggles, gloves, floors that scroll, so you can feel like you’re walking far in the virtual world even though you remain in the same physical spot; the list will never end.

Seventh VR Definition: A coarser, simulated reality fosters appreciation of the depth of physical reality in comparison. As VR progresses in the future, human perception will be nurtured by it and will learn to find ever more depth in physical reality.

Eighth VR Definition: Technology that rallies the brain to fill in the blanks and cover over the mistakes of a simulator, in order to make a simulated reality seem better than it ought to.

Ninth VR Definition: The investigation of the sensorimotor loop that connects people with their world and the ways it can be tweaked through engineering. The investigation has no end, since people change under investigation.

Tenth VR Definition: Reality, from a cognitive point of view, is the brain’s expectation of the next moment. In virtual reality, the brain has been persuaded to expect virtual stuff instead of real stuff for a while.

Eleventh VR Definition: VR is the most centrally situated discipline.

Twelfth VR Definition: VR is the technology of noticing experience itself.

VR是镜像,也是反射器。理解VR,其实就是理解人类自身。

As technology changes everything, we here have a chance to discover that by pushing tech as far as possible we can rediscover something in our- selves that transcends technology.

VR is the most humanistic approach to information. It suggests an inner-centered conception of life, and of computing, that is almost the opposite of what has become familiar to most people, and that inversion has vast implications.

VR researchers have to acknowledge the reality of inner life, for with- out it virtual reality would be an absurd idea. A person’s Facebook page can continue after death, but not the person’s VR experience. Who is the VR experience for, if not for you?

VR lets you feel your consciousness in its pure form. There you are, the fixed point in a system where everything else can change.

From inside VR you can experience flying with friends, all of you transformed into glittering angels soaring above an alien planet encrusted with animate gold spires. Consider who is there, exactly, while you float above those golden spires.

Most technology reinforces the feeling that reality is just a sea of gadgets; your brain and your phone and the cloud computing service all merging into one superbrain. You talk to Siri or Cortana as if they were people.

VR is the technology that instead highlights the existence of your subjective experience. It proves you are real.

《连线》杂志问杰伦·拉尼尔,你对VR做了50多种定义,哪个是你最喜欢的?VR与AI的异同是什么?哪个是你最不希望发生的?

https://www.wired.com/story/jaron-lanier-vr-interview/

WIRED: You thread the book with more than 50 definitions of virtual reality: “magic tricks, as applied to digital devices,” “a training simulator for Information Age warfare.” Which is your favorite?

Lanier: It’s this notion—and this is very hard to express in words and I don’t claim that I’ve ever succeeded in capturing it—that virtual reality is a future trajectory where people get better and better at communicating more and more things in more fantastic and aesthetic ways that becomes this infinite adventure without end that’s more interesting than seeking power and destroying everything. [Laughs.]

WIRED:One of the more puzzling to me but also interesting definitions was you simply call virtual reality "the inverse of AI"—which makes it sound like it’s kind of inconvertibly human.

Lanier:AI is a fake thing. You take in a bunch of data from people and then you replay that data in various forms of interpolation later on. Whereas in VR, the people are there but they’re being transformed in space into—so it’s a space versus time thing. It didn’t even occur to me that anybody would think AI is a real thing.

WIRED:What’s a definition of virtual reality that you hope we ultimately end up with?

Lanier:[Long pause] A cross between music and perception.

《经济学人》书评

数字世界:认清现实一本关于虚拟现实的新书反思了硅谷的傲慢自大,颇给人以启迪

https://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21731374-tech-pioneer-reflects-growing-hubris-silicon-valley-jaron-laniers-memoir

虚拟现实(VR)是什么?技术先锋杰伦·拉尼尔(Jaron Lanier)在新书《Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality》的21个章节、三个附录中给出了52个定义。

有些颇有极客色彩:“一种媒体技术,对该技术而言测量比显示更重要”。

有些则很诗意:“一种让人注意到体验本身的技术。”

还有一些很骇人:“适用于信息时代战争的训练模拟器”。

以上均是虚拟现实的特征,但其涵义远不止于此。然而,在社交媒体的不良影响成为媒体关注焦点的时刻,最后一个定义带来的挑战似乎最为紧迫。

拉尼尔是硅谷的一位大人物。1984年,他成立了售卖早期头显和配件的首家虚拟现实公司VPL Research,人们普遍认为是他普及了“虚拟现实”一词。他目睹了科技行业如何从众多由反主流文化的理想主义者经营的创业公司发展成为一家家全球企业。他现在在微软工作。

拉尼尔也是科技行业的批评者。他在2010年出版的首部著作《你不是个玩意儿》(You Are Not a Gadget)中指出,互联网正在制造出一批批“数字农奴”——用户白白放弃了自己的数据和隐私,却没有换来金钱报偿或发言权。在2013年出版的《谁拥有未来》(Who Owns the Future)一书中,他谴责了大科技公司的垄断势力。

《Dawn of the New Everything》是一本关于虚拟现实的回忆录,同时也记述了硅谷不切实际的想法如何引发了混乱和割裂。对虚拟现实领域的观察者来说,这是本必读书,凡是有兴趣了解社会如何发展成如今的模样、未来又将如何变化的人也应该看看这本书。

“嬉皮士加技术控”的文化塑造了硅谷,许多讲述硅谷早期时光的著作也对此大书特书,不过没有谁比满头脏辫的拉尼尔做出了更好的阐述。他在德克萨斯州的艾尔帕索(El Paso)长大,在墨西哥的华雷斯城(Ciudad Juárez)读书。母亲去世后,他和父亲移居新墨西哥州,二人在帐篷里住了两年后搬进了一个自己设计建造的网格穹顶装置里。拉尼尔高中快读完时跳级进入大学,不过未能毕业。在几乎穷困潦倒的状况下,他漂泊数年,尝试了多种职业,最后在硅谷找到了自我。

这在上世纪80年代的湾区并不算什么不寻常的人生轨迹,拉尼尔就将一位同事描述为“嬉皮士物理学家音乐家”,称另一位为“怀俄明农场主兼摇滚诗人”。那时候,技术控文化是嬉皮士文化的一个子集。拉尼尔到了湾区后得到的第一个忠告就是:“不要相信那些西装革履的人。”

硅谷相信,一旦程序员成为掌控者,一切都会改善。“我们最好想办法增强对人们的约束力,否则这个世界永远也不会变得更高效,”拉尼尔记得有人曾这样告诉他,“我们正在创造一股力量,它的重要性远远超过金钱。”软件就像空气或性一样,就是要“免费”才对。

如今,世界三大最具价值的公司都是科技公司。互联网已不再那么野蛮无章,而是更加有序。不过科技专家们观念上的缺点也显露出来。他们对“免费”的痴迷曾差点摧毁音乐产业,如今仍在危害媒体。

科技公司仍然认为自己无需遵守规则——与世界各地市政部门展开激烈斗争的优步便是证明。而规模和影响力最大的公司则抗拒任何要求它们为平台内容负责的监管条例。比起用户体验的质量或消费的内容,互联网平台更在乎用户在自己网站上花了多少时间。

拉尼尔仍旧乐观,认为问题总会解决——也许是通过设立一个制度,规定平台向提供数据的用户支付小额报酬,或者确保艺术家和作家因其作品得到认可和报酬。

他指出,互联网经济的核心应该是人类,而不是算法。读过他之前几部作品的人会很熟悉这样的观点。然而,大科技公司的商业模式太成功、太赚钱,难以有所改变。因此,拉尼尔的观点不太可能会大行其道。

这对虚拟现实来说意味着什么?这项技术永远不会像智能手机一样普及,不过仍将具有影响力。虚拟现实有望令计算机合成的环境中的体验如同在真实世界中一般真切。该技术有可能应用于慈善,推动医学进步,或辅助教育工作。然而如果打造虚拟世界的目的是为了操纵用户,那么它也可能会很危险。

拉尼尔担心虚拟现实也许会步社交网络的后尘,成为他在另一个定义中描述的事物:“将人锁在广告囚笼之中的终极方法”。

然而这并非既定事实。尽管近来虚拟现实蓬勃发展,而且现在花几百美元就可以买到一个头显,但这个行业仍处于起步阶段。短期内虚拟现实不大可能会得到广泛应用。与此同时,西方民主国家正积极探讨科技的价值与危险,以及大公司加强自身平台监管的必要性。虚拟现实成为主流之时,这场讨论将会更加激烈——也有可能会完满收场。

等到虚拟现实发展成熟,其用户将会是用着智能手机和社交媒体长大的一代人。拉尼尔认为,这些人将比今天的互联网用户更精明老练——曾经互联网对后者来说还是项新技术。下一代人会看透虚拟世界是否正在操控自己。我们不能把希望寄托于此,但他说的不无道理。

拉尼尔为虚拟现实给出的52个定义中,最恰当的也许是“让人预先领略科技进步后的现实世界”。

科技正在进步,而至于现实是否也在改善,就要取决于那些呼风唤雨的技术专家,以及能够影响这些专家视野的社会力量了。

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  • 原文链接http://kuaibao.qq.com/s/20180102B0SV9C00?refer=cp_1026
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