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Choose Someone Else’s Adventure
If you are like me, you may have read some ‘choose your own adventure’ books when you were younger. At certain decision points in these stories the reader is instructed, upon coming to a fork in the road, for example:
‘to go left, turn to page 10’ or ‘to go right, turn to page 20.’
I took some time recently to learn more about bitcoin and cryptocurrency by doing some contract development work and research for a NY-based cryptofinancial services startup. During the course of my research, one of the ideas I came up with also involves augmented reality.
Choose Someone Else’s Adventure involves two or more parties: an agent and one or more audience members. The agent wears AR-capable glasses and ventures out into the world. For the sake of this example, let’s have our agent be a fellow going to a music festival. The agent then explores around his environment, relaying his vision as a video feed to audience members. At any point, either the agent or his audience can propose an adventure choice.
One or more options are proposed (for example):
- Join the game of ultimate frisbee going on in that field
- Go introduce yourself to the group of women by the coffee vendor
- Make fun of that bodybuilder’s tattoos
Each choice is accompanied by a bitcoin address and the audience votes by sending funds to the address of their choice. At the end of an arbitrary time interval, the address that has received the most funds (votes) wins and bitcoin sent to the addresses of losing choices are refunded. The agent gets the funds and is then obligated to proceed with the adventure accordingly.
This process continues iteratively, ideally resulting in hilarity, fun, and entertainment for all involved.
Race Your Ghost
This second idea is considerably simpler but interesting nonetheless. For those who enjoy running/bicycling, Race Your Ghost would provide an opportunity to visualize past performance, encouraging a form of self-competition.
An initial pace would need to be set on any given course/route. In our example, let’s consider a runner jogging on a running trail. She would first run the trail, wearing her AR glasses. The coordinates, pathing, and pace of her run would be recorded by a connected GPS-capable device (bluetooth connected smartphone, for instance). The next time she wants to run that same trail, she could use Race Your Ghost to have a ghost projection of herself displayed on the trail via AR. This experience would involve either chasing her best time or, when setting a new best pace, being able to look over her shoulder at her past, slower self behind her.
Those who have played Mario Kart or similar games may be familiar with the concept.
Obvious expansion developments would include racing other people’s best times on the same trail, remote racing on standardized tracks, etc.
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Author AJ Jacobs has written several fantastic books in which he performs life experiments for a year at a time, to the amusement of his readers but often to the chagrin of his wife. In one, he reads the entire Enyclopedia Britanica, all fourty-four million words of it. His essay on radical honesty is what first got me hooked on his excellent writing and his fascinating adventures.
The idea of life experimentation interests me greatly. A year is an awfully long time to commit to an experiment. A month is perhaps more reasonable for those of us who might write an article, rather than a book, about the experience.
Here are a few of my ideas for minor life experiments.
- Celebrate & observe all major holidays (globally) over the course of a year.
- Write and mail a letter a day for a month using pen + paper or a typewriter.
- Do not use a computer for a month.
- Write a book, a page a day, for a year.
- Meet 30 neighbors, inviting them either over or out for dinner or drinks.
- Exercise differently every day.(running, swimming, lifting, yoga, hiking, etc.)
- Have a drink a day at 30 different bars, with 30 different people.
- Eat a meal a day at 30 different restaurants, with 30 different people.
- Speak only a second language for a month.
- Answer two questions on stack overflow each day.
- Go to a different museum or art gallery each day for a month.
- Go to 30 different Meetups in a month.