Wed. Apr 1st, 2020

What is extended reality and what are its dangers?

A report of the international consulting firm Accenture stresses the need for companies, authorities and individuals to consider both the opportunities of virtual reality and augmented reality, that is, of extended reality, as well as the dangers that may arise from its use. Analysts refer to threats about privacy and also about the mental health of citizens.

With the extended reality, the same happens with other innovations of the fourth industrial revolution – artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, 5G, cloud computing, blockchain … – that is, it serves instantly collect a large volume of data about those who use it, to work, to consume or to have fun. However, this technology has a peculiarity: the information obtained corresponds to the most personal variety imaginable.


Debates about intimacy as triggered by the popular Russian application FaceApp, which transforms the current face of its users into what they will supposedly have when they are elderly, allow us to understand what are the reservations expressed by cybersecurity experts about these instruments. But this risk is much more common than is believed: it materializes through any game, filter or function that requires talking on the microphone or looking at the camera of phones, tablets, etc.

Rarely do parents think about it that allows their children to move happily through these applications, especially if they are minors. Outstanding digital disseminators such as Bernard Marr They argue that "social media companies and mobile tool publishers" could do "something else to ensure that everything is more reliable and that our privacy is respected." However, as he adds: "There is no way to know if this is the case."


In most cases, navigators interact individually with these services, for example, when facing the mirror of the virtual tester of a clothing store or when they face their smartphone to observe the simulation of a lipstick or eye shadow. For an ordinary person, these actions are fascinating, although analysts remember that they often involve excessive exposure.

Engineers and computer scientists are working to enhance the social dimension of extended reality, that is, to be practiced in groups, both indoors and outdoors. So with avatars that will pay for products and services and that they will establish relations in a parallel dimension with absolute normality, yes, it will be necessary to take precautions, according to cybersecurity professionals.


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