New Insights Article: Augmenting Our World: Augmenting Liability

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 10:51
by Martha Ducharme

Applications of Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a craze that seems to have captivated everyone, from the young to the well-experienced. For many, video games come to mind when AR is mentioned. But the craze extends into the commercial industry and includes items from technology applications (apps) to technological accessories or hardware devices.

The degree to which AR is used seems to hinge on one’s willingness or need to interact with others in the world. To what extent might one go in order to interact with another person?
AR exists not only within interactive games and activities but also in productions such as movies and television shows. AR is used to superimpose products in a production for advertising purposes.

In an article, Nick Landry of Microsoft HoloLens discussed the product placement concept: “ ... The cars that characters drive aren’t random. The drink the actor drinks isn’t random. It’s all negotiated as part of product placement.”1

Consider how many products are placed in front of us in a short scene from a movie. From clothing to food, a variety of items and brands are presented.

AR is also used in developing movies. Many times, movies are shot in a studio with little to no props or background scenery. A recent YouTube release shows some of the production from Guardians of the Galaxy. Most scenes are shot without the detailed content, leaving the actors to imagine a segment of the galaxy, and some are even shot without reading from the script. Instead, the director dictates the activity and detail. Items such as voice-over additions or visual imagery are created later and added into the video shots.2

Consider how advertising has changed over time. Although we do not usually think of billboards as typical AR products, they are evolving in that direction. Initially, they were hand-painted signs, which then turned to pictures, which then developed into wraps, and now they are electronic. These vivid electronic billboards can feature three or four different companies or products, in contrast to the singular focus of the past, and they now have the capacity to incorporate AR. For example, when a person is walking down a street and points a celI phone at a particular interactive billboard, that city street can appear to change into an exotic location, enticing the person to travel there.3

AR offers opportunity in several fields, such as finance. It can be used to process interactions of people who invest in stock markets or at their local bank.

Suppose you wanted to invest in a particular stock. With AR technology, a platform can exist that would allow you to visualize the effect of the investment on your current financial portfolio—expanding holdings of a typical type or just plain increasing wealth—before making the investment.

One concept that is always evolving in technology use is completing the customer interaction. An article in Bank lnnovation mentions the AR possibility of a banker’s making a personal visit to your living room.4 Now that would be interesting! The application depends on user interest, the type of delivery needed, and the extent of visualization required for the activity.

A key element of AR is its ability to use natural language.5 This capability enables us to give instructions to a computer using the same language that we use when we talk with people.

Consider the smartphone applications that allow us to interact using our voices. How simple is it to press the microphone icon and ask Google to find nearby restaurants, for instance? Being able to use natural language makes searches like this much smoother.

Initially, there was the cloud, with its seemingly unlimited ability to store data from any location or device. Add artificial intelligence (AI), which is machine learning, or a computer’s ability to use vast databases to imitate human thinking. These two elements—the cloud and Al—provide an infinite capacity for network storage, algorithms, and object recognition. (Algorithms are mathematical equations that perform data processing and automated reasoning, whereas object recognition uses a computer to find and identify objects within an image or a video.)

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive officer, likened AR to the ideal computer, with the Windows assistant, Cortana (similar to Siri in Apple products), handling communication and behaving as a virtual operating system. These features combine to provide the opportunity to apply or see three-dimensional objects that you could previously view only in two dimensions on a screen.6

Data as an Asset

In a recent interview, Nadella discussed the opportunities that exist for a “locker” to store data, information, mobile payment applications, electronic consent, and so forth. The uses are numerous, and they make data today’s natural resource.

Many organizations and technology development entities are more data rich than monetarily rich, which provides strong leverage for using data as an asset. Data as an asset can allow for making better loans, empowering others, and improving people’s lives overall. Whether an organization is big or small, its software and technology use a lot of data. An application may be developed by a small organization, an individual, or a larger organization, and whether or not a significant financial investment is made in the development of the application, the data brings (or could bring) money at a later date.

As an example, consider the various social media platforms (like Facebook) and the monetary value that these types of companies have attained by going public. Typically, the offices of organizations like these have very little overhead in the form of hard goods, such as telephones, printers, and workstations. The overhead lies more in “soft goods,” or the intelligence of a person using a single computer to develop a software application or platform that drives the business model. And the work being conducted does not even need to occur within the environment of an office; today, many individuals work from various remote locations.

Liability Issues

If AR is making positive changes and improvements, then how might it create a liability?

Those actively working in insurance understand that risk is everywhere. Even when an initial idea is meant to be positive, some AR use or events can shift its purpose, creating a liability despite the positive intent.

As an example of how such a shift can create a liability, suppose an employee makes a positive statement about another party during a news conference. However, the employee made the statement without authorization from the other party Although the statement was not intended to cause an issue, the other party may feel differently and hold the employee liable for that unauthorized statement.


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