A revolution in the world of technology: get ready for a "mirror world"

"Mirror World" (Mirrorworld) to the fulldoes not exist yet, but it will appear. Once, every place and thing in the real world — every street, lamppost, building and room — will have its full-size digital twin in the mirror world. Now tiny fragments of this mirror world can be seen with augmented reality devices (AR). Gradually, these virtual fragments will be stitched together, acquiring a dedicated permanent place in a parallel world.

Writer Jorge Luis Borges imagined a mapwhich will be exactly the size of the territory it represents. “Over time,” wrote Borges, “the guild of cartographers created a map of the empire, the size of which exactly corresponded to the size of the empire and coincided with it at every point.” Now we are building such a map on a scale of 1: 1, of almost unimaginable size, and this map - this world - will become the next grand digital platform.

Mirrorworld: the digital parallel world

Google Earth has long given clues to howthis mirror world will look like. A modern writer can now open Google Earth and find himself where he has never been before - in order to transfer this experience to a book. This is a rough version of the mirror world.

And it is already under construction. Deep in the research laboratories of technology companies around the world, scientists and engineers strive to create virtual spaces that are superimposed on top of real-life ones. What is important, these emerging digital landscapes will seem absolutely real; they will demonstrate what architects call place-ness, that is, create the illusion of a real place. But in the mirror world a virtual building will have a volume, a virtual armchair will have textures, and a virtual street will have layers of textures, gaps, inclusions, which together will give the feeling of “street”.

The mirror world, or mirrorworld, is a termfirst popularized by Yale computer scientist David Gelertner. It reflects not only the appearance of something, but also the context, value and function. We will interact with this something, manipulate it, feel it as in the real world.

At first the mirror world will appear before us asa layer of high resolution information superimposed on the real world. We will be able to see a virtual tag with a name floating above the people we met before. Perhaps the blue arrow will tell us where to turn. Or useful annotations attached to the sights (as opposed to tightly closed virtual reality glasses, augmented reality glasses will show a transparent layer).

In the end we will be able to look for physical places.just as we are looking for the text: "Find me all the places where the park bench stands with a view of the sunrise over the river." We will connect objects to the physical network, leave physical links, as if we leave links in words, producing amazing and new products.

The mirror world will have its quirks and surprises. His curious dual nature, uniting the real and the virtual, will allow creating unthinkable games and entertainments. Pokémon Go provides only a hint of virtually unlimited possibilities for exploring this platform.

These examples are simple and elementary,equivalent to our earliest, unconvincing conjectures about what the Internet will be like immediately after its appearance - Compu-Serve beginner, early AOL. The real value of this work will manifest as a result of a trillion unexpected combinations of all these primitive elements.

The first big technology platform wasThe network that digitized information transferred knowledge to the algorithms; Google has become the king. The second big platform was social networks, which work mainly on mobile phones. They digitized people and transmitted the behavior and attitudes of people to the algorithms; they are ruled by Facebook and WeChat.

Now we are witnessing the birth of the third platform,which digitizes the rest of the world. On this platform, all things and places will be machine - readable, at the mercy of algorithms. No matter who heads the board of this great third platform, it will become the richest and most influential among people and companies in the entire history, as well as the rulers of the two other platforms. Also, like its predecessors, this new platform will free up thousands of new companies in its ecosystem, and generate a million new ideas — and problems — that were not possible before the machines learned to read the world.

Manifestations of the mirror world are all around us. Perhaps best of all proved the possibility of a marriage between the virtual and the physical game Pokémon Go, which turned the clearly virtual characters into a stunning reality in the open air. In 2016, the whole world became interested in the pursuit of cartoon characters in local parks.

Alpha version of the mirror world in the form of Pokémon GoIt has been adopted by hundreds of millions of players in at least 153 countries. Niantic, which created Pokémon Go, was founded by John Hanke, who previously worked on earlier versions of Google Earth. Today Nianitc headquarters is located on the second floor of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Through the windows from floor to ceiling, you can see the cape and distant hills. Offices are full of toys and puzzles, including an elaborate questroom with boats.

Hanke says that despite many othersthe possibilities that augmented reality opens up, Niantic will continue to work on games and maps as the best ways to use this new technology. New technologies are born in games, and they are honed there: “If you can solve a problem for a gamer, you can solve it for everyone else,” adds Hanke.

But games are not the only context in whichfragments of the mirror world appear. Microsoft, another major augmented reality player, besides Magic Leap, has been producing HoloLens devices since 2016. HoloLens are transparent glasses attached to the head. After switching on and loading HoloLens displays the room where you are. Then, with the help of hands, you can control the items that pop up in front of you menu, choosing which applications or programs to download. One option is to hang the virtual screens in front of you.

Microsoft's vision for HoloLens is simple: this is the office of the future. Wherever you are, you can insert as many screens as you like and work from there. According to Emergence, a venture company, "80 percent of the world's workforce does not have desktops." Among these workers there are those who now use HoloLens in factories, create three-dimensional models and are trained. Recently, Tesla filed an application for two patents on the use of AR in factory production. Logistics company Trimble makes certified helmets with integrated HoloLens.

In 2018, the US Army announced that it was acquiringup to 100,000 modernized HoloLens headset models for completely unsuitable work for ordinary factories: in order to step forward enemies on the battlefield and “increase mortality”. Most likely, you will wear a HoloLens headset at work rather than at home. Even Google Glass is gradually making its way into factories and mills.

In the mirror world, everything will have a twin. NASA engineers first applied this concept in the 1960s. By keeping a duplicate of any machine that goes into space, they could troubleshoot any component when the main tool is many thousands of kilometers away. These twins gradually turned into computer models - digital twins.

Digital copies of everything

General Electric, one of the largest companies inproduces extremely complex machines that can kill people in the event of failure: electric power generators, nuclear power reactors for submarines, control systems for oil refineries, jet turbines. For the design, construction and operation of these large gadgets, GE borrowed the idea from NASA: it creates digital twins of each machine. A jet turbine with a serial number E174, for example, can have a little brother - also an E174. Each of its parts can be spatially represented in three dimensions and placed in the corresponding virtual location. In the near future, such digital twins may essentially become dynamic digital engine simulators. But such a complete, three-dimensional digital twin is not just an electronic model. It embodies the volume, size and texture - as in the avatar.

In 2016, GE evolved into a “digitalindustrial company ”, which she herself defines as the“ merging of the physical and digital worlds ”. This is another way to declare that it builds a mirror world. Digital twins have already increased the reliability of industrial processes that use GE machines, such as oil refining or equipment manufacturing.

Microsoft, for its part, has expandedrepresentation of “digital twins” from objects to entire systems. The company uses AI "to create an immersive virtual copy of what is happening across the factory floor." How would it be better to repair a huge six-axis robot mill, if you do not impose a machine on top of it, an exact digital copy using AR? Technician-repairman will see a virtual ghost lying on top of this robot. Examine the virtual overlay to see possible faulty parts. A specialist from headquarters will be able to connect to the repairman and direct his hands in the right direction.

One day, everything will have its own digital counterpart. It happens faster than you might think. Wayfair retailer displays many millions of products in its online catalog, but not all images are made at a photo studio. Instead, Wayfair found it cheaper to create a three-dimensional photo-realistic computer model for each item. You need to carefully look into the kitchen faucet on the Wayfair website to understand that it is virtual. Looking through the company's website today, you look into the mirror world.

Now Wayfair releases these digital objects inwild world. “We want you to buy from home, from your home,” says Wayfair co-founder Steve Konin. The company has released an AR application that uses the phone’s camera to create a digital version of the interior. The application then places the three-dimensional object in the room and secures it even if you move. Looking at the phone, you can bypass the virtual furniture, watch the illusion of three-dimensional environment. Place the virtual sofa in your lair, view it from different sides, replace the fabric and upholstery. You will see practically what you get.

When buyers try this service at home, they“They are 11 times more likely to buy,” says Sally Huang, the developer of a similar application for Houzz. Ori Inbar, a venture capital investor in AR, calls this "the movement of the Internet from screens to the real world."

To make the mirror world completelyconnected to the web, we need not just everything to have a digital counterpart; we need to build a three-dimensional model of physical reality in which these twins will be placed. Consumers for the most part will do it themselves: when someone looks at the scene through the device, in particular wearable glasses, tiny built-in cameras will display a map of what they see. Cameras will capture only particles of pixels, but they do not need much. But artificial intelligence - in the device, in the clouds, and in that, and in the other - will extract the meaning from these pixels; it will determine where you are and at the same time assess the location. The technical term for this is SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping), and all this is already happening.

For example, startup has built a platform for developing augmented reality applications that can recognize large objects in real time. If you take one of these applications and take a picture of the street, it recognizes each car as a separate vehicle object, each lamp as a tall object, isolated from the nearest tree objects, and shop windows as flat objects behind the cars. And we will find a meaningful order.

And this order will be continuous and connected. In the mirror world objects will exist in relation to other things. Digital windows will exist in the context of a digital wall. Instead of the connections generated by the microcircuits and throughput, the links will be contextual, generated by AI. The mirror world, thus, will create the long-awaited Internet of things.

Another application on the phone, Google Lens, alsocan distinguish individual objects. It is smart enough to determine the breed of dog, the design of the shirt or the type of plant. Soon these functions will be integrated. When you look at your living room through magic glasses, the system will collect everything in parts, informing you that there is a woodcut in the frame and wallpaper with four colors, and white roses in a vase. There is an old Persian carpet on the floor, a new sofa will perfectly suit it. Based on the colors and styles of furniture already available in the room, the application will recommend the specific color and style of the sofa. You'll like it. But this lamp here you will not take?

Augmented reality is the technology behindat the heart of the mirror world; this is a clumsy newborn who will turn into a giant. “Mirror worlds immerse you without changing the floor under your feet. You are still present, but in a different plane of reality. Like Frodo putting on his ring. Instead of cutting you off from the world, they form new connections with it, ”writes Keiichi Matsuda, former creative director of Leap Motion, a company that develops gesture technology for augmented reality.

The full flowering of the mirror world awaitsCheap and always active wearable glasses. It is rumored that one of the largest technology companies can develop just such a product. Apple works in the field of augmented reality and recently acquired a startup called Akonia Holographics, which specializes in thin, transparent lenses of "smart glasses". “Augmented reality will change everything,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a telephone conversation at the end of 2017. “I think it’s deep, and I think that Apple is in a unique position to lead this area.”

But it is not necessary to use augmented glasses.reality; You can use almost any device. You can do this with the Pixel phone from Google, but without the burdensome 3D glasses. Even now, wearable devices like watches or smart clothes can identify and interact with a proto-mirror world.

Anything connected to the Internet willinteract with the mirror world. And everything connected with the mirror world will see and be seen by everyone else in this interconnected environment. The clock will detect the chairs; chairs will work with spreadsheets; glasses will find a watch even under the sleeve; tablets will see the inside of the turbine; the turbines will see the workers around them.

The emergence of a huge mirror world willpartially depend on the fundamental shift that is happening now, away from the telephone-oriented life to technology, which has been for two centuries: the camera. To recreate a map the size of the globe - in 3D, no less - you will need to photograph all the places and things from any possible angle, constantly, which means the planet must be filled with cameras that are always on.

We make this distributed, all-seeing network.cameras, reducing them to pinpoint electrical pupils that can be guided anywhere and in any way. Like computer chips before them, cameras become better, cheaper and less every year. You may have a couple on your phone; a couple more - in the car. On the peephole some camera. Most of these newly formed artificial eyes will be in front of our eyes, on glasses or in contact lenses, so where we, the people, will look, there will be shooting.

The heavy particles in the chambers will continueReplace with particles of weightless software, compressing them into microscopic points that scan the environment 24 hours a day. The mirror world will be a world ruled by light rays that scurry back and forth, enter cameras, leave displays, penetrate eyes: a tireless and incessant stream of photons that draw the shapes through which we walk and the visible ghosts that we touch. The laws of light will determine the possible.

New technologies will present new super powers. We got super speed with jet planes, super treatment with antibiotics, super hearing with radio. Mirror world promises to give us super vision. We will get something like X-ray vision and we will be able to look inside objects, disassemble them into components of particles, unravel their schemes. Just as previous generations gained literacy with the advent of schools, learned to write, made alphabets and multiplication tables, the new generation will master visual literacy. An educated person can create three-dimensional images in three-dimensional landscapes as quickly as he prints today. They will know how to find any video without even needing words. The complexity of colors and the rules of perspective will be understood everywhere, like the rules of grammar. The era of photons will come.

And what is important: robots will be able to see this world. Partly self-driving cars and robots see begin to see the modern world: a reality merged with a virtual shadow. When the robot can finally roam the crowded streets, he will see them with his silicon eyes and consciousness — he will be on the mirror-world version of this street. The success of the robot in navigation will depend on the previously drawn road contour maps - three-dimensional scans of lanterns and fire hydrants, the exact state of road signs, the detail of road routes and shop windows digitized by the owners.

Of course, like all interactions in the mirrorworld, this virtual kingdom will be layered on the physical world, so robots will see the movement of people in real time as they pass by. The same will happen with self-driving cars; they will also be immersed in the mirror world. They will rely on a fully digitized version of the roads and vehicles on the platform. Most of the digitization process will be done by other cars as they drive, because everything that the robot sees will be instantly projected into the mirror world for the benefit of other cars. Observing, the robot will simultaneously extract information for itself and provide scanning for other robots.

Augmented Reality

In the mirror world, virtual robots will alsobodily; they will get a virtual, three-dimensional, photorealistic shell, whether it be a machine, an animal, a man or an alien. In the mirror world, agents such as Siri and Alexa will receive three-dimensional photo cameras that you can see and that you can see. Their eyes will be embodied in the billions of eyes of the matrix. They will capture the microemotions and expressions of our faces. Forms — faces, limbs — will also improve interaction. The mirror world will be the very interface that artificial intelligence needs.

There is another way to look at objects.mirror world. They can be dual-purpose, perform different roles in different planes. “We can take a pencil and use it as a magic wand. We can turn our tables into touch screens, ”writes Matsuda.

We can not only play with positions and rolesobjects, but also with time. Suppose I walk along the path near the Hudson River (real) and see a wren's nest that my ornithologist friend would have liked for sure. Therefore, I leave a virtual note for her. She will make herself known when a friend goes along this path. We saw a similar presence phenomenon with Pokémon Go: virtual creatures left in real physical places. Time is the dimension of a mirror world that can be changed. Unlike the real world, you can navigate through time.

The story will become a verb. Having a finger on the hand, you can go back in time, to any place, to see what was before. You will be able to impose a reconstructed view of the 19th century on top of the existing reality. To visit any place in his early presentation, it will be enough just to roll back the version. The whole mirror world will be one solid file of "Photoshop", in which you can substitute and remove layers. Or you can squander into the distant future, where artists have already left their ideas about future versions of this place. Thus, the mirror world would be easier to call the 4D world.

Like the Internet and social networks,the mirror world will unfold and grow, creating unforeseen problems and unexpected advantages. Let's start with the business model. Will we try to launch the platform using advertising? Maybe. Those who remember the Internet before the advent of commercial activity will agree that it grew extremely slowly. A mirror world without ads would be unnecessary and undesirable. However, if the only business model involves the purchase of our attention, it will be a nightmare - because in such a world, our attention will be tracked with the highest precision and resolution.

At the macro level, the mirror world will havethe most important property of increasing returns. The more people use it, the better it gets. The better it gets, the more people will use it, and so on. This chain lies at the core of platform logic, and that is why platforms — such as the Internet and social networks — are growing so fast and wide. However, it also follows from this dynamic that the winner takes all; this is why one or two participants will fit on top of the platform leaders. Now we are just starting to deal with these natural monopolies - with Facebook, Google and WeChat, which have become peculiar governments on the Internet.

In the long run, the mirror world cansupport yourself as a utility; we are used to paying for other utilities like water, electricity or the Internet regularly - by subscription, so to speak. We will be happy to do it again, in the hope of getting something valuable and interesting from this virtual place.

The appearance of the mirror world will affect us allon a deeply personal level. We know that existence in two worlds will have serious physiological and psychological consequences. Our life experience in cyberspace and virtual reality taught us that. But we do not know what exactly these effects will be, and we will definitely not be ready. We don’t even know which cognitive mechanisms underlie the AR illusion at all.

The paradox is that the only way to understandhow AR works - build AR and test it yourself. Technology itself is a microscope needed to study this technology. It sounds strange, agree.

Some people get very upset becausethat new technologies create new harm, and we willingly put up with these risks, not always observing precaution. For example, we should not allow a new one if it is not recognized as safe. But this principle does not work, because the old technologies that we are trying to replace are even more dangerous. More than a million people die on the roads every year, but we tend to blame the driver robots even if they kill one. We are worried about politics in social networks, while missing all the dirt that flows with the TV screen. The mirror world will definitely be subject to double standards of strict norms.

Many risks of the mirror world are easy to imagine.because they are the same as we see on modern platforms. For example, we need mechanisms in the mirror world to prevent fraud, stop illegal intrusions, remove spam and detect unauthorized inserts, while respecting security. Ideally, we would like to open the world to all participants without the need for a Big Brother who will be watching everything.

Parallel reality on the blockchain

Blockchain needs work, and ensuringthe integrity of the open mirror world can become what it was born for. Already, there are people who are working with enthusiasm on this opportunity. Unfortunately, it is not so difficult to imagine a scenario in which the mirror world will be centralized and subordinate. We still have to think about this topic.

Many consider that centralized andopen platform will be richer and more reliable. Clay Beivor, vice president of AR and VR at Google, says: “We need an open service that will improve whenever someone uses it, like the Internet.”

The mirror world will cause serious problems withconfidentiality. In the end, he will hide the billions of eyes that follow each point, converging into one continuous eye. The mirror world will create so much data, big data, from its legions of eyes and other sensors that we cannot imagine its scale. To make this spatial sphere work — to synchronize the virtual counterparts of all places and all things with real places and things, at the same time making them visible to millions — you need to track people and things with a degree that can be called a complete state of observation.

We can imagine how bad it will be.for us. But there are several ways to benefit, and the main one is the mirror world. The path to civilization of big data, on which we will gain more than we lose, is indefinite, complex and not obvious.

But we already have some experience that canto serve as the basis for our approach to the mirror world. Good practices include mandatory transparency and accountability for any party that deals with data; symmetry in the flow of information, so that observers are observed; and stability, so that data creators get clear benefits, including monetary benefits, from the system. We will definitely find a way to process all this data, since the mirror world is not the only place where it will accumulate. Big data will be everywhere.

Since the advent of the Internet, the digital worldwas considered as an incorporeal cyberspace — an intangible kingdom separated by the physical world, so unlike material existence that this electronic space acquired its own rules. In many respects, the virtual and physical worlds developed in parallel, never meeting. In the virtual world, one can find the feeling of infinite freedom, released by detaching from the physical form: freedom from friction, gravity, momentum and all Newtonian constraints. Who would not want to escape into cyberspace to find in it the best version of itself?

The mirror world will unite these two platforms soThat digital bits will be included in materials consisting of atoms. Information of the famous fountain in the Roman square can be found at this very fountain in Rome. To repair the 30-meter wind turbine, we will repair its virtual version. Take a towel from the bathroom and it will turn into a magical robe. We will depend on the fact that each object contains its bits, as if each atom had a ghost, and each ghost had a physical shell.

It will take at least ten years for the mirror world to start using millions, and a few more decades - for billions to settle in it. But we already foresee something.

Ultimately this mixed world will becomethe size of our planet. It will be the greatest achievement of humanity, creating new benefits, new social problems and countless opportunities for billions of people.

Perhaps you will be the first among its pioneers. Do not forget to subscribe to our news channel, so as not to miss the development of the mirror world.