Marc Colley, member of the research group human-computer interaction, discusses his PhD thesis project.
Abstract: For centuries, humans have used glasses to level their vision to see reality the way it is. More recently, embedding Augmented Reality (AR) into glasses added a new layer to this century-old technology. In addition to seeing the existing world in clarity, smart glasses now allow us to modify our perception and world. Through smartphones, this technology has already found its way into our lives, enriching our reality. Where smartphones can be used in dedicated cases, having a visual layer directly in front of our eyes, AR drastically increases the potential use cases. As these potential use cases include many parts of daily life, the devices will not only be used in isolation but could become something we use during social interactions.
Previous research has shown that wearing AR glasses alone can impact interpersonal communication, as people today tend to mistrust the technology and feel uncomfortable interacting with it. Still, little is known about how the applications running on it will influence our social interactions. I extend the knowledge about such influences by focusing on one question: What happens if another person is used as input for an augmentation? Regarding a human counterpart as data input, I connect this input with schematics from database management. I argue that analogous to data in databases, a human can also be created, read, updated, and deleted (CRUD). In my work, I explore how those operations influence augmented (the person taken as input) and augmenter (the person wearing the glasses). In this course, I disclose potential boundaries of interpersonal augmentation and discuss emerging ethical questions.
First, I discuss how reading a person and adding information about this person to the visual perception influences both actors. Then, through a study, I show how the type of information and whether it was given voluntarily influence how comfortable the actors feel with such information and compare it to the same shown on a smartphone. Based on another study, I further discuss how automated reading, interpreting, and augmenting of a social situation can influence the actors. I do this in the context of potential help-giving and social courage situations. In the following, I discuss the effects of visual updates on other humans. Here I focus on color changes in the visual appearance. Here, I further discuss the influences of which body part is altered and which relationship the conversational partners share.
In light of the quantitative and qualitative findings, I conclude by discussing ethical and practical implications for future devices and applications that employ reading or updating others.
We invite all interested persons to listen and discuss his research.