Virtual You

Yesterday I chanced on an amazing show on Discovery called Next World: Future Life on Earth (think Beyond 2000, from a beyond-2000 perspective) and caught a segment about Transported Presence.

The idea is that our video and audio projections will be so high in quality, we wouldn’t physically need to travel anywhere; the mere projection of our presence will do.

The concept is not new – but how soon we’ll be able to reap the benefits is; Cisco’s Emerging Technologies division is already there, coordinating with its employees through their Virtual Video Office programme. Just check out Virtual Margaret.

There’s already an annual conference entitled “Telepresence World”.

Such advances are not only a matter of convenience – but of life and death for some.

Similar technologies are yielding medical alternatives to many patients living in remote communities, where seeing a specialist is not as easy as driving over to a doctor’s clinic. In many cases there isn’t one. This extends to surgeries as well. (Daily Planet did a piece on this called Virtual Surgery.)

And that’s not all. A 3D, high-def colour version of you is on its way.

Similarly, while telepresence will allow you to project yourself anywhere in the world, 3D mapping will inevitably bring any place in the world to you, via your computer.

Here, Google’s advanced mapping technology is paving the way – virtually at least.

You’ll be able to walk down a street, check out various restaurants, and confirm waterfront views – all from thousands of kilometres away, and all from a first-person POV.

Anyway, I find the topic fascinating.

Working on broadband, we occasionally get to work from home and I can think of worse things than missing rush-hour or not having to dig my way out of a snow bank to get to work. And think of the savings in fuel costs alone – dollar and otherwise.

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