Notes on Future Language, part 8

At some point, implementation of future language will need to move past a discussion of principles, and into the empirical stage. This will require an actual hardware and software implementation.

Unfortunately, the hardware support to make all of this happen does not quite yet exist in a way that is accessible to a large population. Yet it can be created in the laboratory.

Kids don’t need to be wearing future augmented reality glasses to be able to hold visually augmented conversations with other kids. They just need to be able to have the experience of doing so.

For this purpose we can use large projection screens that allow kids to face each other, placing cameras directly behind those screens so that our young conversants can look directly into each others’ eyes. We can also place a number of depth cameras behind and around each screen, and use machine learning to help us convert that depth data into head, hand and finger positions.

When this setup is properly implemented, the effect to each participant will be as though they are facing their friend, while glowing visualizations float in the air between them. They will be able to use their own gaze direction and hand gestures to create, control and manipulate those visualizations.

What we learn from this experimental set-up can then be applied to next-gen consumer level wearables, when that technology becomes widely available. At that point, our large screen will be replaced by lightweight wearable technology that will look like an ordinary pair of glasses.

Little kids will simply take those glasses for granted, just as little kids now take SmartPhones for granted. All tracking of head, eye gaze and hand gestures will be done via cameras that are built directly into the frames.

The eye worn device itself will have only modest processing power, sufficient to capture 3D shapes and to display animated 3D graphical figures. Those computations will be continually augmented by a SmartPhone-like device in the user’s pocket, which will use Deep Learning to rapidly convert those 3D shapes into hand and finger positions. That intermediate device will in turn be in continual communication with the Cloud, which will perform high level tasks of semantic interpretation.

The transition to a widely available lightweight consumer level platform will take a few years. Meanwhile, nothing prevents us from starting to build laboratory prototypes right now, and thereby begin our empirical exploration of Future Language.

Leave a Reply