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Terminator-vision and the complex questions behind “augmented reality”

Terminator vision and the complex questions behind augmented reality Ars Technica


Some stats-obsessed geeks might argue that slight visual augmentation like this is helpful, and it might be under slow-moving circumstances, but translating numbers into gut feel and perception isn’t an automatic process. When a car swerves into your lane, you can react to it in less than a second because it triggers impulses that don’t require higher thought. You don’t think, for example, "Oh my, I believe that vehicle has crossed into my lane. Let’s see. I need to lower my left arm by some amount to turn the wheel to the left in order to move the car to the left, and I should also apply some pressure to the brake with my right foot." You just do it, relying on that same combination of reflex and conditioning that lets you jerk your hand away from a hot stove.

Injecting additional cognitive steps into that decision-making process doesn’t help—it hinders, suppressing reflex and getting your conscious mind wrapped up in areas where it shouldn’t necessarily be treading.

This principle is followed with aircraft heads-up displays. Military heads-up displays, through a combination of technological limitations (military HUD symbology is decades old) and human interface research, use an extremely limited set of symbols and focus that information in a very narrow area directly in the middle of the field of view (rather than, say, by using Google Glass’s peripheral view screen). Along with that, pilots undergo extensive, exhaustive training on how to incorporate that symbology directly into their decision-making as they fly.

But how many drivers would accept driving with an arcane set of symbology in front of them—symbology that required at minimum several hours of training to fully grok?

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Several hours of training sounds reasonable for such a good amount of extra information.

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