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XR Technologies in Service of the Human Experience, with Voices of VR Podcast’s Kent Bye – Part 2

We pick up where we left off, with Part 2 of Alan’s interview with Kent Bye, host of the Voices of VR Podcast. In this half, the two VR podcast hosts discuss the ethics of XR, building a strong economic ecosystem for emerging technologies, the AR Cloud, and more.

Alan: Coming up next on the XR for Business Podcast, we have part 2 of the interview with Kent Bye from the Voices Of VR podcast, the podcast that got me started in this industry.

I’m actually one of the founding members of the Open Air Cloud Group and Kronos Group is is really kind of trying to pull together these standards for 3D, as well for e-commerce. I know there’s a group right now trying to standardize 3D objects for e-commerce and retail because right now it’s a dog’s breakfast. Facebook accepts glTFs, Hololens is FBX models, VR is usually OBJs. So you have all these different 3D file formats. None of them really work well together and you can’t– it’s not easy to convert one to the other. And then of course, Apple came along and created USDZ. Or in Canada, USDZed. It’s crazy right now to think that there’s fifteen different 3D model types and it’s kind of like we need to settle on the JPG of 3D, whatever that happens to be, which in my opinion is probably glTF. But I think we need to standardize that and just pick, it so that– can imagine trying to send a photo to somebody and you send it in one format. And we saw this 10 years ago on the Web, just– it was 10 different ways to send a photo in different formats. Your camera would take one format, and it wouldn’t work with your MacBook. I think the tolerance for interoperability, I think the world just demands interoperability now. And if you’re not building for that, well, then you’re going to end up like Facebook and get broken apart.

Kent: Yeah. And I published a podcast with the managing director of Open AR Cloud, and one of the other founding members. And yeah, they were talking a lot about these various different issues. So, yeah, it’s something that you don’t see necessarily a lot of news on, until– unless you’re sort of deep into the weeds of helping design these protocols. But I did go to the Decentralized Web Summit last year, and one of the things that I saw was that there’s kind of like this pendulum that swings back and forth between the centralized systems and the decentralized systems. And I’d say that with cryptocurrency, with the containers being able take different aspects of a server and be able to push it out to the edge. We have it self-contained within either Kubernetes or Docker containers. And just in general, it’s kind of a movement away from centralized systems into more decentralized architectures.

That’s a interesting trend that I think that paying attention to the rise of the decentralized web and what that is going to afford. I feel like it’s a lot more about open protocols and collaboration and having people collaborate in different ways. And that’s something that I’d say has been a little bit lacking within the VR and AR industry. I mean, there’s been a certain amount of not sharing of knowledge, but in terms of like real meaningful collaboration. There’s been a few things like OpenXR and WebXR are of the big standouts, as well as probably the Chromium browsers that a lot of different companies are working on. But in terms of specific things to grow an ecosystem, it’s been difficult for companies to figure out what does it mean to grow community and what it mean to grow an entire ecosystem that you may be a part of. And I feel like the cryptocurrency world has had to deal with that a little bit, in the sense that they’re creating these open protocols, and they have to prove that there’s a buy-in to people participating in these different protocols, and are going to be able to have these different use cases.

And so I feel like there’s this metaphor of a blue ocean and a red ocean, where right now there’s so much opportunity for these immersive technologies that it’s really a chance for people to collaborate and to work with other people on these big initiatives, and that you could actually do a lot of really big important things together. And then eventually you’ll get to the it being a red ocean where in order for you get a client, you have to take it away from somebody else. With the blue ocean is that there’s such an abundance of opportunity that you getting business can actually help other people also getting business, just because it’s kind of promoting the overall industry in general. And so I feel like that there is a bit of like a real openness, but yet right now on the whole XR industry, there’s a bit of– with the launch of the Oculus Quest it’d starting to get locked down a lot more, they’re starting to be a little bit more of trying to grab and own different aspects of the platform. So I see we’re kind of in this shift moving more towards that kind of red ocean mindset, but yet still have a–

Alan: It’s too early to be moving there.

Kent: I know, it’s still– and that’s sort of why I wanted to bring up these kind of dynamics and tensions, because there is value of having a very good user experience with something like the Quest, or the iPhone, it’s also a very closed platform compared to, say, Android. But the user experience on the iPhone is arguably better than the Android. And the user experience in the Quest is gonna be better than pretty much any other competitor that’s out there at this point. And so we have something meaningful come from HTC Vive with the Focus, or Focus Plus. So I see that there’s this kind of pendulum that swings back and forth and that like, yes, we have the Quest. It’s gonna be more of a closed platform, but eventually there’s gonna be something that comes out there, that’s gonna be a little bit more open, and there’s gonna be new affordances that are given with that. So as people are trying to navigate this, I think it’s just important to kind of notice these big, large swings, whereas right now things are moving more towards the closed and more centralized, proprietary. But there’s also a lot of the future of technology that’s being developed right now is trying to support and sustain these completely decentralized systems.

Alan: I hope we move to an open system, because just from a practical standpoint, if I’m wearing a pair of AR glasses and I’m walking down the street, I don’t want to have to close an app, open another one, get it to do whatever it is, and then close that one and go back to– I don’t have tabs. I just want everything to work seamlessly around me as I move through my life. And the only way to do that is through open systems.

Kent: Yeah. How do you manage and maintain, if there is just one platform like the web, then on the web you have URL, which is you’re going to a location. But in the real world, you have a GPS with an altitude. So a geopositional– where you’re at in space and time, essentially. Well–

Alan: Then they can use photo recognition or image recognition to really triangulate down to centimeters where you are.

Kent: Yeah. So I think there’s a lot of stuff that’s still be fleshed out in terms of the AR cloud, the open AR cloud. I think it’s actually healthy to have a competition, and I don’t think it’s reasonable to only have open because you have to have what’s even possible. And usually what’s possible is defined by those closed systems. And sometimes there’s these different tradeoffs. Open source projects, they move slower, they’re more buggy, they have a worse user experience. And so you have more freedom and control. And some people, they opted run Linux because of that. But there’s a lot of people that decide to run a Mac or Windows, just because they don’t have to deal with all the thrashing. So I feel like there’s always going to be these tradeoffs between the closed and the open. I just want to promote whatever the polarity point is, because if it’s too much of one, then we need to have kind of the both to be able to be in this conversation of competition. I think it’s healthy to have those competitions and many different perspectives, but I tend to certainly be biased towards the open systems as well.

Alan: Well, I think it’s an interesting position in time where we are right now, where you talk about the blue ocean, red ocean. And up until now, I’ve seen just almost everybody in this industry collaborate with one another. We phone somebody, ask them for help, they’re able to offer it. And only recently have I realized that some companies, they’re not giving out their metrics around their success. So maybe they try VR training, for example, and they’re seeing some really good traction, but they won’t release it as a case study, because they’re seeing that as a technological advantage to their business. Others are, “Hey, let’s tell everybody this, because it will drive the price of developing this down for everybody and everybody will win.” So you kind of have both of those mindsets. Macy’s started using VR for furniture sales and they’re seeing an average — this average across one hundred stores — 54 percent increase in basket size and cart sizes using VR.

Kent: Wow. The degree to which people are sharing this information, I think it’s always been variable. I think we’ve been in a very actually, if anything, a way more open time in the history of VR than we’ve ever had. Because all throughout the 90s, up until– Laval Virtual in France has been running for the last 21 years. And when I go to different academic conferences like the IEEEVR and talk to different academics, there’s been a very robust ecosystem of VR that’s been happening in Europe consistently over the last two decades plus in aerospace and automobile industries. But what I heard from academics was they don’t talk about it, because of that very reason and because it did give them a competitive advantage. So I still think that there is a certain amount of things that people won’t or can’t talk about.

Right now in Hollywood there’s a lot of stuff that’s happening in virtual production. And I’ve done some interviews on that. But mostly there’s a lot of people that just aren’t talking about what’s happening in Hollywood and the changes that are happening, in part because it’s a little bit of trying to position yourself to be able to own the entire virtual production pipeline or the ecosystem there, because there’s already a lot of visual effects shops. And there’s been a sea change in terms of how visual effects are happening on set, probably starting at least with Ready Player One and Steven Spielberg with the extent to which that virtual reality technologies were being used on the set in Hollywood. So I feel like that there’s always gonna be those realms in which there’s gonna be things that are a little bit harder to get access to.

Another big example is what’s happening in the military. It’s very difficult to have somebody from the military tell you specifically what they’re doing, because not only is it just– it starts to become a national security risk at that point. But it just gets harder to get specific details about what type of training is happening, but VR’s been funded since like the Sword of Damocles that DARPA has been involved with funding VR innovation and technologies consistently for the last 50+ years. And Tom Furness — one of the pioneers of VR — was in the Air Force, and at the same time as Ivan Sutherland was doing all of his pioneering work. But he was quietly working in the Air Force, doing all sorts of applications up until the late 80s. And then he went to go start the HITLab in Washington. But there’s still a lot that has likely been happening within the military realm, that we still have no idea what’s happening.

So I feel like that’s a little bit par for the course. And I do as much as I can to find these people and talk to them. But I find any publicly traded company, it’s difficult for them to talk about things without getting approval from their PR, because it starts to then become a potential impact on their stock prices. And then you have this whole layer of public relations that has to help mediate that. And they’re pretty risk averse. So I feel like if you’re a startup company, there’s less risk. But I would personally encourage any company that’s working on stuff that want to talk about things — I usually solely focus on talking to people face to face at conference — so I encourage them to either come on your podcast to talk about it, or find me at a conference and I’d be more than willing to talk more about all the stuff that maybe isn’t getting a lot of other press coverage, because I do think it’s important to have these conversations. I mean, it’s why I do the podcast, because I feel like there’s so much value of being able to actually have a consistent conversation as to what’s happening, just to give people an access point to keep up to date as to how all this is unfolding.

Alan: It’s happening and it’s happening fast. It’s funny, it’s happening slow and fast at the same time. When you started your podcast in… what, 2014?

Kent: Yeah.

Alan: When you started doing your first podcasts, I’m assuming that you thought things would happen faster than they did, and then they took longer. But then at the same time, they’re moving crazy fast. So I think investors, VCs got in really early and they had all this money and expecting these huge returns. And it wasn’t there. And then they kind of had these false starts. And we put the false starts are getting shorter and shorter in between each false start, which means we’re kind of coming to this crescendo of technology. So we’re excited.

Kent: Well, if you look at the Gartner hype cycle, there’s a sort of the initial proof of concept, and then that has a certain level of hype of what is made possible. And then you have this real realization of like, “Oh, well, that’s what’s possible, but we’re a long ways away from that.” So then you have the trough of disillusionment and then you have the slow climb towards this kind of eventually the plateau of productivity. But I feel like VR has gone through two or three hike cycles. Since the 60s and then the 90s, it really had this huge hype cycle. And we’re we’re kind of in this arguably third or fourth wave of VR now. And I expect that– Gartner doesn’t even put virtual reality in its emerging technology, because it doesn’t really consider it to be emerging anymore. It’s now established.

Alan: No. It emerged.

Kent: It has emerged. And so it’s a proven technology that already has so many different compelling use cases, that it’s not even really considered emerging anymore in terms of the scope of technology, which is a great sign. And I think augmented reality has always been kind of trailing behind in terms of getting to that point of really being useful. I think AI combined with AR is gonna be helping push it.And so there’s these these dual innovations that are happening that are really going to get AR to that point. But looking at these different cycles and a big question in the consumer space is when is it gonna become mainstream? As I go to these different developer conferences, I go to Facebook F8, or Microsoft Build, or Google IO. These are like the major tech companies. And then there’s Amazon, they have Sumerian. You have Apple, with ARKit. Pretty much every major tech company right now is doing some foundational work, to be able to create this spatial computing paradigm shift. So for me, it’s not a matter of when, but it’s a matter of if.

And part of the reason why I say that is because some of the most interesting and most difficult problems are still in the realm of spatial computing, artificial intelligence, the blending of artificial intelligence with spatial computing, because you could start to create virtual environments that are able to train AI neural networks that end up being the exact same neural network architecture and weightings. So you can train a robot in VR, and then take that same training and put it into an actual robot. And you’re able to then basically do an accelerated version of spatial training for some of these objects. Doing that a lot for–

Alan: Wow, I never thought of that.

Kent: –for doing for cars, training these self-driving cars and whatnot. And you’d be able to– and you’re able to accelerate it, because it’s sort of a real time environment, you’re able to do these virtual simulations. And so because of that, there’s kind of like this sisterhood of experiential technologies between artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality. Because of that, there’s kind of a co-evolution that’s happening. You start to see some of these use cases for virtual reality drive the need to push computer vision or push pose detection or doing the tracking algorithms. I mean, just from what the Quest is able to do as a self-contained VR headset, that is in a large part for a lot of the AI innovations that a lot of those algorithms may have not even existed like five years ago in terms of the deep reinforcement learning and deep learning approaches to computer vision that have been innovated, but in having these huge, huge breakthroughs. So those huge breakthroughs are actually being applied and deployed into these immersive technologies.

So for me, I just see that it’s not a matter of if but but when. And I tend put it around like 2025 is when I feel that’s gonna be sort of a critical mass when all of these things are just gonna be completely all over the place. It’s gonna be a little bit of like how we’ve been about five years in. I’ve been doing the podcast a May 19th, 2014 as I went into the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality conference. We’re coming up on five years from that. So another five or six years from now, I feel like it’s gonna be a similar to– we went from the Oculus DK1, the first developer kit — 3DOF, really low res, screen door, kind of made you motion sick — to now all of a sudden a self-contained, very high resolution, six degree of freedom, self-contained, tetherless virtual reality system that you can take on the go. And that’s like an enormous– for anybody that’s in the VR industry it’s taken forever. But on that relatively anthropological scale of humanity, that’s really fast. And what the innovations that we’re gonna see for the next five years I think are going to be just as impressive.

Alan: Yeah, I think it’s just going to get faster and faster. And I never even thought about neural nets for vehicles using virtual environments to train the neural net. It’s just it’s this kind of crazy exponential feedback loop which will just make the technology faster and faster and faster. And the singularity might be the point where computers are out-thinking mankind, but I see it as kind of the point where all of these technologies into the exponential phase, where it just goes straight up. And you say kind of 2025 when they all converge. Think about it, even if it’s 2030, that’s 10 years away from now. And we can’t even remotely fathom what the world will be like in the next 10 years.

Kent: Well so that that’s where I disagree. And the reason why I disagree is because you have to look at it through the human experience. And I feel like the human experience is, there’s certain things that we know are going to be a part of the human experience and that these technologies are in service of the human experience. And so whether it’s like having entertainment, dealing with medical issues, connecting to your partners, dealing with grief, or connecting to your sense of deeper purpose, or spirituality, or religion, or philosophy, what we do for our careers and our work, what we’re doing and how we connect to our friends and our family, being able to deal with isolation and to not feel exiled and to feel connected, the way that we express our identity, the way that we have commerce and exchange value with each other, the way we communicate with each other, or we learn and we teach each other, higher education as well. And then being able to connect to our home and family.

That’s a spectrum where I could be pretty sure that the human experience is still going to involve all of those things and that if anything, the augmented and virtual reality technologies are going to still augment what it means to be human. And in fact, it may expand the whole sensory input of of all the different ways in which we can experience things, because it’s a big thing about expanding our senses. And if we are the essence of the human experience, this synthesis of all of our sensory input, then VR affords us to put new sensory input that we could never have. So we can start to develop completely new senses that we didn’t have before. And people have already been able to do that by turning their torso into an ear, by rewiring, taking audio sounds, transmitting it to a different haptic feedback onto your body. And then if you can’t hear, you can get that data information that is getting into your brain that’s in the same data structure as what the cochlear would be presenting. And your brain kind of figures it out. Your brain is very plastic in being able to take input from just about any source, as long as it’s in the right format. And the brain can start to discern those signals, then you start to expand senses and augment senses.

So I feel like that’s a realm where we don’t quite know what’s possible is, what’s the full human potential. But I do think that we’re going to still have the fundamental aspects of the human experience that have never changed. And that’s why I tend to look at technology through the lens of the human experience, rather than through the lens of technology itself. Because, yes, there are going to be all these amazing technological advances. And I don’t necessarily see technologies ever going to be able to achieve the same level of consciousness and human awareness as a human. That’s debatable, as to whether or not we’re going to have hard AI, but for me, I tend to say that human consciousness is something that’s very unique to humans, and that it’s emergent from our organic bodies and our life experiences.

It’s going to take a long time and there might be ways of mimicking it, but it’s gonna be kind of like just mouthing of those emotions rather than the full experience of those emotions by the technology or the AI. So that’s at least how I think about it. And I think by doing that, it sort of re-centers it through the lens of the human experience and puts the humans first, because the risk of thinking that the technology is going to be smarter than us, is that you start to create this hierarchy where we’re in service to the technology, which I think is not the point. I think that the technologies always needs to be in service of humans. And if it’s not, then something has gone seriously wrong.

Alan: Well, I think the problem isn’t that the technology will be in the service of technology, it will be that the technology will be employed by a very small few to leverage its potential against other humans. And that’s the problem. It’s never gonna be the technology that overtakes us, it’s that some people will have control of such vast amounts of technology that they’ll be able to take advantage of the rest of humanity. That’s what I worry about.

Kent: Yeah. That’s a huge thing that I worry about as well, because I do– I totally agree with that. And I do think that both virtual and augmented reality as well as artificial intelligence — as well as all of these other exponential technologies, frankly — they are forcing us into a paradigm shift, where it’s like a reflection over things that are not working, and that we have to kind of upgrade our operating system for how we relate to each other, the type of decisions we make, the way that we run our economies, the way that value is exchanged. At so many different levels, there’s a re-evaluation. If we have all the thing, all the existing structures, then we are going to create this situation where these big major companies basically have complete and total control over everything, which I think is a huge danger, which I think we’re on that trajectory. But that’s why I advocate so strongly for these decentralized systems, because we need these other open decentralized alternatives, so that we don’t have these handful of small companies that are controlling everything.

Alan: Well, I think we’re we’re already in that position where we’ve got Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Walmart. These companies are arguably larger than most states, most countries in the world and their GDP. And so the influence and power that they hold are astronomical. And the distribution of wealth is actually narrowing. It’s getting worse. And I think we need a complete reset of a lot of different things. And my purpose in life is to inspire and educate future leaders to think and act in a socially, economically, and environmentally responsible way. Because the way we continue to do our business, if we don’t fundamentally look at things from the three fundamentals of social, economic, and environmental and start evaluating our businesses based on those, rather than just the one value of measure — and that’s economic — then I think we’re going to run into a brick wall with the earth itself, the planet itself. And people are like, “Oh, we’ll move to Mars.” Why the hell would you want to move to Mars? We have a perfectly good planet right here.

We have to take care of one another and this planet, as one unit. And I think these technologies will start to strip away at the idea of borders. And they will either make them stronger or they’ll actually make them less impactful, because at the end of the day, we’re all humans and we’re all here to work together as one entity. And I think virtual and augmented reality and artificial intelligence really have the potential to give us that one thing that I think is the greatest existential risk we’ve ever faced. And that’s the lack of education as we move into exponential technologies. And with that, I want to I want to just ask you the question that you ask everybody at the end of your podcast. I’m going to ask it here, because I think it’s a fitting tribute to the Voices Of VR podcast, which if you’re listening to this podcast, you made it this far, then you will absolutely love the Voices Of VR podcast. In your opinion, Kent, what is the ultimate potential of virtual reality?

Kent: Well, I think at the heart, what virtual and augmented reality technologies allow us to do is to connect more to ourselves, connect more to each other, connect more to the planet, and to connect at all levels of reality. I feel like there’s gonna be a certain level of self-awareness and contemplation, where we were just kind of talking about all these different moral dilemmas. And the thing about VR and AR is that it’s like the world’s most liberating education platform, that’s going to unlock all this human potential that we didn’t even know was possible. But it’s also the world’s worst surveillance technology, especially if it’s in the wrong hands. So I feel like it’s in this really strange position. For anybody that’s in VR and AR is that you are dealing with these huge major companies, that may or may not have your best interests in mind. And so you see all this deep potential for what’s possible. But yet at the same time, there’s so many ethical and moral compromises that the existing business models of surveillance capitalism have.

But I feel like that’s a sign of the times, is like these moral dilemmas where you, everybody has to navigate their own ethical framework for how they’re going to participate in bringing about change. And for me, I’ve decided to try to embrace the technology rather than reject it, because I feel like the potential for what amazing things it’s going to allow us to do, that potential is just so exciting that I feel like we’re going to have to create new things that don’t exist right now. Because one of the things that I asked one of the co-founders of the Internet, Vint Cerf. I ran into him at the Decentralized Web Summit and I was really curious, because he works at Google. I was like challenging him, I was like, “Hey, Vint, don’t you think that Google should stop maybe doing some of this surveillance capitalism? Because it’s really a pernicious business model.” And his response is really interesting, because he was like, you know, he’s somebody who helped invent the Internet and he’s deciding to work with Google. Why?

Alan: Because he can make more difference within than without.

Kent: Well, he sees that Google’s been able to provide universal access to human knowledge for free to everybody in the world. And they do that. They actually do do that. And if you can find him another way to pay for that at scale, then go ahead and do that and compete with them. At this point, nobody has thought of that yet. And I feel like that is a huge opportunity. But there’s also a huge challenge, because there’s all sorts of economies of scale that happen with having centralized power like that. And it really what it takes is a huge consciousness transformation for people to start to collaborate. And if we are going to have something that’s going to be an antidote to these big major companies, we’re gonna have to work together. We’re going to have to collaborate and work together.

Talking to Anand Agarawala from Spatial, he said “The big thing that they see in Spatial is to think about when you’re looking at a basketball team or a hockey team, and they’re all in synchrony with each other and they’re collaborating, but they’re not speaking. They’re just speaking nonverbally with their bodies. Then the spatial computing technologies is going to be able to enable that for humans at scale.” So what is it going to mean for us to be able to actually work together and build things that would be impossible for us to build on our own? That’s a true potential. And then the reason why we can’t think of the business model yet is because we haven’t seen what’s possible when we have people at scale being able to work and collaborate with each other. And I feel like that’s what the AR and VR technologies are going to enable. And that once we see that, then we’re going to maybe find out some of these completely new paradigms that we’re in the midst of needing.

Because frankly, I feel like we’re on a brink of cultural and economic collapse on so many levels. I mean, sort of the haves and have nots and the different polarizations that are happening in our world are getting so extreme, that we really need some ways that we can find common ground and work together. And I feel like if things do come to pass where there’s some sort of a crisis point, then it’s going to be through these new emerging technologies, the VR, and AR, and AI, cryptocurrencies. The technological architecture actually affords completely new ways of doing things that have never been possible before. And that the thing that is really going to shift for that is human consciousness, both at an individual and collective layer. So I see that there’s this huge philosophical and cultural and economic shifts that need to happen and that VR and AI and AR all arriving just in time on the brink of collapse, because we’re going to need all the potentials of what these technologies can do to be able to form a future that really works for everybody.

Alan: It’s interesting that you say that, because I’ve been working on something that I’ve never really talked about to many people, but I’ll share it here because I see these technologies exactly what you said. They will be able to kind of, I don’t say “save us” because that’s not the right word. But they will be able to unlock empathy at a scale and collaboration at a scale that we’ve never been able to understand. And I actually just wrote an article about “can virtual and augmented reality democratize education?” And really, what I’ve been working on is a completely new education system from the ground up that basically scraps the entire– not scraps it, but just utilizes it. So you already have an existing education system that teaches math and science and geography and these kind of transactional skillsets. But what we’re missing is more of the soft skill sets, the mindset skill sets that really will unlock our full potential as humans. Things like gratitude, mindfulness, creative problem solving.

These are things that if we don’t start teaching those– skills so simple as financial management. For whatever reason, we don’t really teach financial management in any level of school. And it’s kind of a leftover from slavery days, where we didn’t give anybody education, we kept it from them because it kept them in check. And keeping financial education from people — especially kids — keeps them in check and then they go get a job and they work, and they’re on this treadmill working for slave labor. And there’s got to be a point where we start to unlock the education of success principles, rather than something you can look up in your phone. Because Snapchat now has a filter where I can put my phone at a math equation, it’ll solve it for me. So there’s certain transactional skillsets that are not overly necessary in today’s fully connected world.

But the fundamentals of success, being able to focus yourself, meditate, communicate with other people, these are fundamental. And goal setting and marketing communications, being able to create products and services that serve humanity. And instead of asking children what job they want to get. We need to be asking what problem do you want to solve? Or what do you want to give back to humanity? And I think that is the fundamental shift that needs to happen, and these technologies can deliver that.

Kent: Yes, it’s going to be opening up right now. If you can listen to someone lecture at you and you learn really well, you can do great in school. But if you’re an active learner, if you need to have an experience, if you need to play around with things, if you need a story, if you need to be emotionally engaged, there’s so many different learning temperaments that are not being served right now by the current educational system. So I do think that there’s going to be a complete revolution for education. And yeah, I feel like for me, I’ve recorded well over 1,100 interviews at this point, focusing a deep dive into the kind of the evolution of thought within a very specific technological community for the last five years. And I feel hampered by the linearity of an RSS feed for how people consume that information, because I will go and record 15 to 30 interviews over the course of a few days, and I’ll come back and people can only really listen to a couple of them.

But what would it look like to go into a spatialized memory palace, to be able to actually have an architecture that represents the knowledge that has been captured? And if there’s AI to help automatically transcribe it, and to come up and perhaps find these different links between information, then you start to see how you have these memory palaces, where people can go and have an interactive learning experience. Like going to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, you can learn all about physics and these different, more active interactive games that allows you to learn about things. And I feel like all of education is going to be turning into that. So, yeah, I feel like we’re right on the cusp of how these spatial computing technologies are going to transform all dimensions of our reality.

And what I’m seeing is this trend of cross-disciplinary collaboration. So people from all sorts of different disciplines starting to work together. Whether it’s people from the psychedelic culture with meditators on top of immersive technologists. Trying to look at things through the lens of human experience, to be able to then maybe create a virtual reality application to be able to then modulate someone else’s human experience, to eventually help transform and help them grow. And the same thing for this sort of workshop that I’m going to — it’s gonna be in York City — it’s gonna have these cutting-edge neuroscientists that understand human perception, working with game designers who really understand human agency. And the game designers are going to be able to learn from the neuroscientists, to know how to better modulate the human attention and perception based upon what neuroscientists know about human perception. And then the game designer is going to be able to help design experiments that are gonna help the neuroscientists learn a lot more about the nature of the mind.

So I feel like there is this kind of fusion of all these different disciplines that are happening right now, and it’s all being seen through these immersive technologies. It could be that the human experience ends up being the lingua franca between all these different domains. And that’s what I find really exciting, is because we need to have those philosophical frameworks to help understand how we can pull these things together, because we have had a very siloed, sort of reductive way of approaching life. And I feel like this shift that we’re moving into right now is trying to synthesize all these things together and bring all these different component parts together and to sort of synthesize it through the lens of human experience.

And for me, that is so exciting to cover, because it allows me to basically talk to just about anybody. It can end up being about VR, because it’s about human experience. And that’s if anybody is in this realm, there’s a boundless a ways that you can start to learn about pretty much every different domain. So if you are a lifelong learner, you can learn about game design, or architecture, or colors, or human stories, or education. There’s just– it’s just unlimited. Both VR and AR and AI are just– if you like to learn, then this is a great place to be right now.

Alan: Yep. When I got into this industry, I had no idea what to build. So we built everything. We actually came up with the moniker, “We do eVRything.” [chuckles] That’s not the best for business model, but it does keep things interesting, that’s for sure. [chuckles] I want to thank you so much, Kent, for taking the time on this podcast. It’s been absolutely wonderful speaking with you.

Kent: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me, Alan. And I should also just send a shout out to my Patreon members. I am a listener supported podcast. And so if you want to support the work that I’m doing, you can support me at Thanks a lot.

Alan: And that concludes part 2 of the XR for Business Podcast with guest Kent Bye from the Voices Of VR podcast. Make sure you check out part 1 of this episode for more information about all things XR related with Mr. Kent Bye.

Looking for more insights on XR and the future of business? Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or Spotify. You can also follow us on Twitter @XRforBusiness and connect with Alan on LinkedIn.

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