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Accepted Paper:

Imagining the storytelling potential of AI with augmented reality glasses  
Rob Eagle (UWE Bristol)

Paper short abstract:

Synthesising findings from two of the author’s research projects, this paper imagines a possible near future (neither utopian nor dystopian) in which AI systems enhance and work through AR glasses to provide stories and experiences that shape the way that we relate to each other and our environment.

Paper long abstract:

This paper brings together two of the author's recent practice-based research studies: one on the use of AI in a live theatrical show, the other a 4-year research project on the storytelling potential of AR headsets. In this synthesis of research findings, I will imagine a not-so-distant future in which AI systems work through and enhance AR glasses for storytelling. Rather than envisioning a dystopian future of ubiquitous metaverse devices, I shall propose a vision of AI-enabled AR glasses wherein artists can create meaningful, embodied storytelling and users feel agency over their personal data. Such a use of these devices can ​prompt us to reflect on how users relate to each other and their environment.

To understand the potential of AI and AR glasses, we must examine the storytelling affordances of both elements. Running since 2016, 'I am Echoborg' is an interactive live show in which the audience 'converse' with an AI chat system via a human interface. The audience is first confronted with some ethical dilemmas of AI before offering a verdict on how they envision a future society with these systems. I will also draw on my audience research from the work 'Through the Wardrobe', an interactive documentary installation that uses AR headsets. In this research, I propose a model for understanding the storytelling potential of AR headsets.

As major tech companies start developing AR glasses (integrating sophisticated machine learning algorithms) for everyday use, now is a time for imagining futures, based on the evidence of recent research.

Panel P11a
Immersed in the Story: Narrating about and with New Technologies
  Session 1 Monday 6 June, 2022, -