Magic Leap Is Thinking About Privacy and Security Already
A big question, one I didn’t have the time to delve into much in my day at Magic Leap, is one of privacy and data security. The Magic Leap One captures a lot of data about a user, where they go and what they look at. Abovitz and his team seem very aware of this.
Abovitz calls that stream of data coming into the gear a “life stream.” That’s what is used to build a model of you, your space and your habits and accessing it is a key component of what the team believes will make Magic Leap feel magic.
“You will have your own personal life stream,” Abovitz said. “You also have your own identity and our view is that the life stream belongs to you. It's a data set that, just like writing a book, is your personal copy. That means there is a need to make people aware that they have a life stream that has value and then connecting that to other things that you could have; goods and services and interactions around the life stream. So just like you can write a book and trade that for something, I want to license it and get paid, we believe the life stream is yours. Our job is to create a series of protections around it. But then to enable creators and developers to build really cool things if you let them access part of it.
“So it's always explicit, it's always permission based. But there are amazing experiences and possibilities you can have. The experiential part is the best because if I just see objects that are disconnect from me in the world, there is not really an experience. I am just looking at something. But if something is aware of me and aware of the environment and I am aware of it, now you are in a whole new place. You're in a whole new kind of story-telling that really begins to feel like life. So our system knows where your eyes are looking, where you are in space, where the world is and what you are saying and what you are hearing and that provides input. So somebody could know where you are and come right up to you, look you in the eye. You could say hello to something and then do something else. So you have this ability to have presence and awareness and interaction with characters and stories and experiences. Even if it’s something simple like there is a web space and the web space acknowledges you or I just want to leave something and you could leave it there and come back to it later. So I could leave a digital object somewhere and it could stay there. So that awareness became something we emerged into. We started out focusing on the light field, but we realized the thing was really special computing. The sensing and awareness, your sensing and awareness combined with the visualization became really powerful.”
Sam Miller, senior director of systems engineering at Magic Leap, says that the headset is constantly doing a “sensor sweep” of your space to make a digital representation of the real world.
“One digital representation that everyone can share and it’s stored in the cloud,” he says. “So if I have made a representation of this room and it knows not just the geometry of the space, not just the mesh that you would find in other things, but the actual semantics behind that geometry. Like this is a table. What is on tables? Vases and glasses and you know cats like tables. That is a coffee table, that is a chair, that’s a picture, that’s a lamp. So those kind of things allow digital content to make air quotes is the word, but there are a lot of roboticists and other people here in AI, but those digital beings can live. They can persist across time across users.
“The awesome thing is the way we have set up our stack is the same way that you choose the application that run on your phone. And I am sure you have had applications say, share us your content. And you're like, ‘Hell no.’ And like the fourth time it asks that and it shows you some benefit and you are like okay I trust these people, I trust this sure. Share my contacts because I am going to get a big benefit out of it. So you control all of those this at the application level and it’s explicitly opt in. So everything on our platform is explicitly opt in. If you don't want it, you have to opt into things. That is kind of our commitment to privacy and security cause it’s a new field, so you have to be sensitive to that.”