I assure you that there is a relationship between the subject of this piece and Justice Information Management. Unfortunately, I’m not at all sure yet just what that relationship IS; but I’m positive it exists and that one day, I (and maybe you) will recognize it.
The subject: Pokémon GO.
Last weekend, while strolling through Riverfront Park, I watched with great interest as dozens of people, alone, in pairs, or in groups walked by, intent on their smartphones, playing Pokémon GO. If you are even less familiar with the game than I am (and that’s pretty darn unfamiliar), the game involves looking at the world around you through the camera on your smartphone. Into this rendering of your current reality, images of Pokémon are superimposed. My understanding is that in some way players attempt to “capture” the Pokémons (Pokémen? Pokémae?); but that’s largely irrelevant to my point, except to note the interaction with something that isn’t really there.
Welcome to the world of Augmented Reality. From the Star Trek Holodeck to The Terminator, Augmented Reality has received a lot of Sci-Fi exposure for a long time. Within the past several years, actual implementations of Augmented Reality have become available. Remember Google Glass? Last year, at CTC, I was blown aware by the Courtroom of the Future Augmented Reality exhibit, which put the viewer into the middle of the courtroom. Go on down to Best Buy and you can try on Augmented Reality viewers.
What’s different about Pokémon GO is that PEOPLE ARE USING IT – lots and lots of people.
Up until now, Augmented Reality has largely been a technology in search of a reason to exist. Google Glass failed to catch on largely because nobody could come up with any really good reason why anyone needed it.
Well, Pokémon GO players can give you a reason – AR glasses would be a lot more convenient than having to stare at your phone.
I think Pokémon GO is to what we’ll see in a few years as the original PacMan was to Black Ops III. I think that the significance of Pokémon GO is that it gets Augmented Reality into general circulation.
The significance of this development to Justice Information Management, then, is — what?
As I admitted at the top, darned if I know. But I’m pretty sure it is significant and that soon enough we’ll all understand why, and say to ourselves, “Well, of course.”
I have a couple pretty far out thoughts. Some things generally regarding courts could include applications like remote (or dead) witnesses seemingly sitting in the witness chair. But the nexus with Justice Information Management is harder for me to make out.
The reason I’m so sure that there will be a nexus is that, in many ways, this technology represents a new frontier in user-to-information system interface. And the history in my lifetime has been that the easier and more transparent that interface becomes, the greater and more rapid the penetration of technological implementation into real world processes.
Some things are as easy to predict as shooting fish in a barrel – like courts having to deal with people trying to play Augmented Reality games while in the courthouse; and Augmented Reality being used for in-court demonstrations. Can it be applied to communication? To information and metadata retrieval? To workflow management?
My instincts say, all of the above, and more. But then again, there remains the serious question whether or not I’m playing with a full deck. I would love to know what others think.
Meanwhile, here’s a scary potential technology confluence to keep you awake at night: Pokémon GO and driverless cars.