Gibson recently made an appearance at the New York Public Library, and he also did a surprise reading of the first couple pages of his forthcoming science fiction novel The Peripheral. The reading begins about 80 minutes in.
For more Gibson, check out our dossier.
- It’s the future but everyone has southern accents for whatever reason
- It’s the future and everyone trades bodies and kisses each other
- It’s the future and nutrition is the ultimate weapon/currency
- It’s the future and the only government is a machine that spits synthetic spiders
- It’s the future and capitalism has gotten so crazy that people have southern accents now, trade bodies, and buy shit out of vending machines using stolen identities and synthetic fingernails
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- From “Midnight Eye Gokuu (Goku: Midnight Eye),” directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (1989)
Technology has taken over so many facets of our lives that the real world sometimes seems a little boring by comparison. Never fear – technology is slowly creeping into even the most mundane corners of our existence, making sure that we never have to face reality without some sort of augmented component ever again. These 15 designs, apps, inventions and gadgets put a digital element right into the real world – for better or for worse.
Augmented reality has the amazing ability to transform our world while also transforming ourselves, as the Zaphat proves. Put on the Zaphat and your whole identity is immediately transformed…at least when you’re seen through the camera of a mobile device running theZappar app. The little patch on the front of the hat is actually a target that indicates your head location and orientation to the app, which then overlays a three-dimensional virtual mask on top of your face. The person operating the device can manipulate the type of mask and even interact with it virtually.
Street Art Comes to Life
Typically, street art is a fairly stationary form of personal expression. But thanks to futuristic augmented reality, street art can come to life and dance around right in front of observers. The LZRTAG augmented reality app allows people to aim a smartphone at a target in order to see a short animated street art clip. Anyone at all can upload an animation and print out a tag to decorate the world, all for free.
Finding Twitter Friends
Twitter’s geotagging feature allows friends to find one another in real life with an app called Twitter 360. Using an iPhone’s camera, the app creates an augmented reality overlay map that guides the iPhone holder to nearby friends based on their geotagged tweets. Users just have to follow the arrows that appear on the screen to be led directly to the nearest contact.
Augmented Reality Cinema
If you’ve ever traveled to a specific geographic spot just because it was featured in a favorite movie, the AR Cinema app from developers Halocline will be an exciting concept. The smartphone app senses when you’re in a movie-related location and shows you the famous scene(s) shot there. It’s an interesting way to combine a love of travel and a love of movies – and maybe even our collective love of smartphones.
On a long car or train journey, boredom can set in pretty quickly. This conceptual game would use a Kinect and other simple hardware to create an augmented reality overlay on the actual scenery outside of the vehicle in which you’re traveling. By touching the window, players would be able to add all kinds of fun objects and elements to the passing scenery. The game, called Touch the Train Window, is from Tokyo design team Salad.
Augmented Reality Park
(images via: Daily Mail)
If the beauty of nature is getting a bit boring, perhaps you’d like to spice things up a bit by throwing in some psychedelic visions and experiences. Swiss designer Jan Torpus has created a project called lifeClipper, in which visitors put on head-mounted display equipment for a walk through the park. The display shows the user’s actual surroundings but adds an extra layer to reality. This additional layer includes vivid colors, surreal characters, and an imaginatively enhanced landscape.
Real-Time Selective Video Editing
Changing your reality is simple when you’ve got high-tech augmented reality tools on your side. Software from a German university allows you to remove unsavory objects from your video footage as you’re filming it – just tell the software what you want to disappear and it magically erases it. The whole process takes only microseconds and is convincing to all but the sharpest eyes.
Vektor extracted the Corsair 32 gigabyte thumb drive from the inside pocket of his pea coat and slotted the stick into his Dell Inspiron’s port. The solid state memory activated instantly, a small LED washing green as the operating system recognized the device.
Data spilled out across his screen, resolving as a pop-up window asking him if he wanted to scan the drive for defects. He clicked yes, but unchecked the option to automatically correct any errors. The drive read clean. The data was good.
Activating his interface, the superior Chrome operating system loaded into the laptop’s active memory. Vektor navigated to a server in Japan, blue alphanumeric spilling across a white field. Cat-eared women appearing in thumbnails. His browser was finely tuned to detect and parse information, increasing the speed with which he could react. It scanned the Kanji characters and offered to translate.
“Not today,” said Vektor. He smirked and clicked past the option.
The website used tables, an old tech, but reliable, sprawling out as he navigated through the pages, burning pixels searing his retinas, his fingers clattering so quickly most of the images did not even have time to load. In a matter of nanoseconds he arrived at his destination.
“Doujins,” he smiled. “Watanabe wasn’t lying.”
Vektor paused to trigger an electric cigarette and consider his options. Purple vapor curled through the air, the smell of vaped tech puff reaching his nostrils and firing in the pleasure centers of his brain at the speed of neurons.
He clicked “New Releases.”
“Chibi Maid,” mused Vektor, scrolling through the tables, waiting for the bottle necked thumbnails to arrive from the overstretched servers in Shinjuku. It was better than he expected. The scanlation groups in the Toronto and Dallas exurbs would still be waiting on their hard copies to arrive by container ship or transcontinental air post.
He had discovered the mainline and he was wired in, ready to translate faster than the competition and with greater accuracy than any of the Google subtitling groups that butchered zero-day anime RAWs and then posted them to Digg.
Behind the glowing screen of the Inspiron, Vektor gazed into his future, resolving possibility, strung out on incandescent beams of pixels. His empire growing one hit at a time, growing to eclipse the chans, growing to become the most popular provider of English-translated maid doujins on Reddit.
The green light of the Corsair thumb drive began to blink as the Chibi Maid transfer commenced.
Accelerated by the crude stimulants encoded in the Five-hour Energy, Vektor’s heart hammered in his chest as he prepared to make his triumphant Tweet.
What Vektor discovered in his Twitter feed caused him to hesitate. Something unbelievable was unfolding around the world in real time, bouncing from server to server and metastasizing as a constant chorus of Tweets scrolling through his overloaded feed. It was even worse than he feared.
A comedian had just made a rape joke.
Stories from the Twilight Zone by Rod Serling
Bantam; Apr 1960
Happy birthday to Rod Serling, born today in 1924!
Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas, Rod Serling