Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Metaverse Roadmap Part I

I recently came across the Metaverse Roadmap and realized very quickly that it maps very well to the Jungian mental functions of Perception. The following diagram shows how they categorize 4 types of Virtual Reality.


Here we have a wonderful mandala that is similar to many Jungian Mandalas, including my own Room With Four Views. External and Intimate have obvious echoes to Extraverted and Introverted - (and I'd suggest that they adopt the "proper" terminology ;-) - so I wondered if the other points on the compass corresponded to Jungian psychology.

The following blog entries are a narration of my thought processes as I read the pdf.

But first, a quick glossary of common shortcut terminology:

  • Pe and Je - Extraverted Perceiving and Judging
  • Pi and Ji - Introverted Perceiving and Judging
  • Se and Si - Extraverted and Introverted Sensing
  • Ne and Ni - Extraverted and Introverted Intuition
  • Fe and Fi - Extraverted and Introverted Feeling
  • Te and Ti - Extraverted and Introverted Thinking
Now on with the show, starting with a quote about Intimate technologies:
• Intimate technologies are focused inwardly, on the identity and actions of the individual or object; in the Metaverse context, this means technologies where the user (or semi-intelligent object) has agency in the environment, either through the use of an avatar/digital profile or through direct appearance as an actor in the system.
The first part of this quote is obviously Introversion. The second half, the Metaverse context, describes Introverted control of the Extraverted environment. This is how one describes the personality types that are framed by the letters I and J (IxxJ), or in order of preference, PiJe.

• External technologies are focused outwardly, towards the world at large; in the Metaverse context, this means technologies that provide information about and control of the world around the user.
Can't get any more Jungian than that - "information about" is Pe and "control of" is Je.

So far, so good. Extraverted and Introverted have a direct analogy to their mandala.

Augmentation and Simulation require a bit of parsing, however.

  • Augmentation refers to technologies that add new capabilities to existing real systems; in the Metaverse context, this means technologies that layer new control systems and information onto our perception of the physical environment.

  • Simulation refers to technologies that model reality (or parallel realities), offering wholly new environments; in the Metaverse context, this means technologies that provide simulated worlds as the locus for interaction

It seems like each description is trying to define two different and opposite mental functions simultaneously. That presents an interesting puzzle.

Sensing is the mental function that deals with tangible reality. iNtuition deals with ideas and patterns and imagination (there is sensing imagination, but it's not usually the popular connotation). Neither "pure" mental function maps perfectly to their North/South dichotomy. I wonder if it is possible to map it to the mental-functions-in-attitude.

  • Introverted Sensing (Si) is a map vs. the terrain.
  • Extraverted Sensing (Se) is present and immediate.
  • Introverted iNtuition (Ni) is metaphor and meaning.
  • Extraverted Intuition (Ne) deals with patterns amongst entities and includes metadata.

At first, it seems that iNtuition maps to Augmentation (that which is not there) and that Simulation (that which is there) maps to Sensing. So it would seemingly follow that

  • Mirror Worlds are Se,
  • Virtual Worlds are Si,
  • Lifelogging is Ni and
  • Augmented Reality is Ne.

But I'm already guessing that's incorrect, because the Extraverted and Introverted poles don't match up that way.

It would seem to me that Virtual Worlds are Ni, augmented reality is Ne and Lifelogging is Si. So the poles of S and N don't purely overlap with Simulation and Augmentation . Changing our perspective a little bit (rotating the S and N poles 45 degrees), the diagonal pole of Mirror Worlds/Lifelogging maps better to Sensing, while the other diagonal pole of Augmented Reality/Virtual Worlds maps nicely to iNtuition. Reading on, let's see if I am correct by looking at the actual descriptions:

  • Virtual Worlds (Intimate/Simulation) - Ni
Virtual worlds increasingly augment the economic and social life of physical world communities. The sharpness of many virtual and physical world distinctions will be eroded going forward. In both spaces, issues of identity, trust and reputation, social roles, rules, and interaction remain at the forefront.

-Hmmm...not a very good description about what VRs are, just what they'll mean. But guess what? That's frequently the nature of Ni descriptions - ubiquitously enigmatic and not about what things are, but what they mean.

  • Mirror Worlds (External/Simulation) - Se
Mirror worlds are informationally-enhanced virtual models or “reflections” of the physical world. Their construction involves sophisticated virtual mapping, modeling, and annotation tools, geospatial and other sensors, and location-aware and other lifelogging (history recording) technologies.

-Basically, an attempt at recreating the actual universe. While lifelogging is on the Si end of the pole, the usage of it is important here - to basically re-present reality as it happened, bring history to life, or Se-ness.

  • Augmented Reality (External/Augmentation) - Ne
In augmented reality, Metaverse technologies enhance the external physical world for the individual, through the use of location-aware systems and interfaces that process and layer networked information on top of our everyday perception of the world.

-Enhancing the external world ...on top of perception is exactly how Ne works - starting with the object and seeing patterns about and around the object.

  • Lifelogging (Intimate/Augmentation) - Si
In lifelogging, augmentation technologies record and report the intimate states and life histories of objects and users, in support of object- and self-memory, observation, communication, and behavior modeling. Object Lifelogs (“spimes,” "blogjects," etc.) maintain a narrative of use, environment and condition for physical objects. User Lifelogs, ("life-caching," “documented lives,” etc.) allow people to make similar recordings of their own lives. Object lifelogs overlap with the AR scenario, and both rely on AR information
networks and ubiquitous sensors.

-Only Jung could have described Introverted Sensing better.

Let's map a Jungian mandala to their map:

And voila! Ni and Si align on the I side, while Se and Ne align on the E side. But what do we have at the north and south poles, where Augmentation and Simulation? You'll notice a union of the mental functions with NeSi and SeNi. In Jungian psychology, an opposite is an opposite via both kind and direction. So Extraverted iNtuition and Introverted Sensing (Ne/Si) are opposites.

The comment (with editorial annotation):

Object lifelogging [Si] overlaps with the Augmented Reality [Ne] scenario

is interesting, because AR information is Ne, which is the polar opposite of Si [lifelogging]. And this gives us our first clue to the nature of Augmentation and Simulation.

In these two concepts, we have what Jung called the Transcendant Function -the unification of the opposites into an emergent function. Perhaps through technology we can achieve what is fleeting and difficult in 'normal' psychology - Transcendence.

So Augmentation is the unification of Ne and Si, while Simulation is the unification of Ni and Se.

In the next few blog posts, we'll investigate each pole in depth, to make sure we have concordance.

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