The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast
31. The Metaverse: Blurring Reality and Digital Lives with Cathy Hackl
Cathy Hackl is a leading tech futurist and globally recognized business leader specializing in AR, VR, and spatial computing. Ms. Hackl hosts the Future Insiders podcast and has been designated as one of LinkedIn’s Top Tech Voices. She founded and leads the Futures Intelligence Group, a futures research and consulting firm that works with clients in tech, fashion, media, government, and defense implementing innovation strategies, strategic foresight, and emerging technologies. BigThink named Cathy “one of the top 10 most influential women in tech in 2020” and she has been called the CEO’s business guide to the metaverse. She was included in the 2021 prestigious Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led.
In today’s podcast, Ms. Hackl discusses forecasting, the metaverse, and women in tech. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with her:
- The world is approaching a pivotal moment for VR/AR/MR. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated adoption of these technologies, as they allow for an elevated sense of presence in a distanced physical world.
- AR/VR technologies have extremely diverse applications, from filters on social media to the treatment of PTSD and Alzheimer’s disease. Novel applications for these technologies are in constant development, particularly as wearables like “smart glasses” proliferate in the commercial sphere.
- Although AR/VR are frequently associated with altered visuals, other senses are increasingly incorporated into these platforms. Currently in development is AR that would allow users to focus on a single conversation amidst significant background noise.
- As the metaverse, a digital copy of the world available in real time, is developed, the way we engage with the physical world will change. Information available to VR/AR users in various “layers” could be manipulated or controlled by actors capable of altering the available data.
- In order to recruit future generations to technology development, it will be essential to “meet them where they are.” By identifying online platforms, interests, and values of youth, recruiters will be able to present opportunities to create meaningful change in an attractive manner.
- The federal government’s focus on artificial intelligence has de-prioritized AR/VR. However, AR/VR are innately American technologies, and increased focus on their development could allow the United States to maintain its current advantage in the field.
Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring an interview with COL John Antal (USA-Ret.) discussing the implications for future conflict from the Second Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, the psychological effects of drone warfare, and the future of maneuver, on 1 April 2021.
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