philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


What Are Your Augmented Reality Property Rights?

95bf94b0-e946-429c-af0e-84e585f823a2...we can already own intangible things, like domain names. So it seems imminently sensible that we should also have rights over the coordinates that map directly onto our true physical property. Yet at the moment, this is far from settled. Apps like WallaMe allow users to leave “hidden messages” in almost any location. Bit by bit we are being augmented, but we’re mostly blissfully unaware.

As with many similar conundrums, it is worth extrapolating out to the most absurd extension of each potential. In this instance, such an exercise yields a choice between a future in which our property remains so in “all possible worlds” or something that feels much more chaotic, like an indefinitely extended version of the M&M’s augmented reality takeover of Times Square.

Whichever is eventually judged to be for the best, it’s clear we must make this judgment swiftly before we’re so heavily augmented that it is difficult—if not impossible—to row back.

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