Augmented Reality is more than Virtual Reality


Reality beats fiction: Take a comfortable seat, nail a big cushion to your ceiling, and then read this. Then perhaps, read again what's been written in the 'Cybertales' 3 years before....

But let's begin this from the start:

Once upon a time, wise men declared privacy a human right [68],[69]. Back then they thought of home, social relations, documents, mail, phone calls. Now nearly all of this is in the computer (just save furniture and garments). So computer privacy is a human right, exactly the one already in force, no amendments needed.

Display glasses as discussed in the book will carry even more of our privacy - they have to record anything we see, hear, say, all of our moves and many of our thoughts, even though they are worn externally and are not coupled to any of our nerves.

They will remain the core technology for quite some time, but implanted chips will inevitably emerge later on. In just about 40 years, we will likely be able to make chips that surpass the complexity of our brain and will be a million times faster as well. Things like neural interfacing, power supply and replication of actual brain structures will likely be more difficult than just chip technology, but it's hardly conceivable that in a hundred years, 'we' would not all use chips for actually thinking.

Then at last, privacy breach will be identical to thought control and slavery in a way that will make Orwell's prophecies appear downright cozy.
Some companies, governments and people in charge today don't worry about this, they don't know or they think they won't be affected or they would even rule the way things are going. It's however inevitable that almost all of them, the entire world in the end, will be losers of the cyberwars that will be fought about predominance, if we don't start to change attitudes right now. As Phil Zimmerman, Author of
PGP once put it: "if privacy is outlawed, only outlaws will have privacy".

Although it's not core thematic of this book, the situation is already so bizarre that it calls for a satirical approach to work as a little eye opener at least. Important enough as well, to provide these pages from the book on this website, for anyone's personal edification. This is centered about the current copyright mania, but that's actually exemplary for many connected developments, like cybersquatting and patent sniping, that contrary to claims do not intend protection, but expropriation and monopolization of intellectual rights and will finally inhibit any progress and lead to disaster [75]. The cyberwars have started already.

The following pages are a short excerpt from the fiction part of the book and are shown here for their present relevance.
Please note that this HTML representation does not perfectly reproduce the real book layout.

THE END OF HARDWARE - pages fom part2: Fiction

 The materials presented here have originally been found in the ruins of one of these ancient office buildings that became obsolete during the 21st century. It may be quite amusing to see the difficulty of life before brain chips.










part 2: Fiction-
Adventures of a Four-Eyed


THE END OF HARDWARE - pages fom part2: Fiction

Fairy tales

Recently the fairy tale channel featured the 'history of media', a 3D movie with total surround, virtual characters running about in the room, and so on. Yet do they really think even a child would now buy it that 'once upon a time', they tried to prohibit recordings of TV transmissions? In this story, even playing old vinyl disks must have been illegal if done with a digital amplifier (as this could mean digitizing), or in presence of friends. Alas, this movie wasn't interactive, so I couldn't verify my suspicions.
It went on with storage crystals getting so powerful that the entire 'cultural' heritage of mankind could easily fit into something the size of a sugar cube*.
Inevitably, just this kind of application emerged. Those 'Final Chips' were heavily prohibited, but it couldn't be stopped because nothing that people want can be stopped and they had been so totally deprived of all their consumer rights that almost nobody had any sense for legality with these things anymore.
It also proved what experienced technologists had known all the time, that it's an illusion to stop such things by technical means, or the damage gets way bigger than the benefits. During this time - they called it the 'media prohibition'- crime was booming again, as for outlaws it became another license for money printing.
Some guys with trick or treat hats then asked to install surveillance cameras in any home to see if anyone played illegal stuff. As this wouldn't work with vision simulators, they finally asked that any private computer should be entirely accessible to them at any time. It became finally evident that ill designed laws had led to a point where there could either be no copyright or no privacy anymore. The backdoors to computers and 'magic mirrors', opened by some copy protection schemes, had then already contributed to billions in damages by attacks of villains and evildoers that eventually even paralyzed the entire kingdom and destroyed colossal amounts of data.
*Even a simple, ½"wide plastic surface with apparently random nano engravings, could secretly store 10000 movies or 100 mill. books. Replicating it by injection molding (like DVDs) would be dirt cheap and done in no time.


THE END OF HARDWARE - pages fom part2: Fiction

A more harmless occurrence was a TV virus that caused certain politicians always to appear with puppet strings attached and their suits stuffed with dollar bills all over. Well deserved.
Scientists presented studies that the costs for implementing and maintaining this 'technology' and for the collateral damages it caused amounted far higher than its benefits. As if it hadn't been enough already, huge problems that cybersquatting*, patent sniping** and patent landmining***, accompanied by clueless law-making apparently had accumulated over a long time, added to all the disaster. Rightout bizarre, bits and bytes had been assigned more rights than humans, and digital slavery**** was spreading.
The 'intellectual' property mania turned against the entire economy. Any engagement with hardware or programming became as heavily restricted as money printing, small IT businesses couldn't emerge nor grow anymore because they could neither afford enough patents nor meet the security requirements for dealing with classified chips and algorithms. Education in IT and electronics became confined to a small caste of shamans, and progress had been frozen forever.
Everywhere, signs like this were harassing harmless pedestrians:

 This text is copyplighted. Reading it and
storing it in your brain is a violation of the devious malicious copyplight act of 3001 and constitutes a filial crime.
Please move to the next frolice station
immediately and report your crime. Do not
surf over GO and do not look away $200.

* Hijacking rights on data paths, information resources, web addresses, trade marks on common words, names, colors, genes, natural substances etc
** Hoarding rights on trivial ideas, common knowledge etc.
*** Landmining by issuing numerous trivial patents.
**** Depriving persons of their informational rights and possessions.


THE END OF HARDWARE - pages fom part2: Fiction

At this point, just before the guys in the white jackets came, everybody realized that this couldn't lead anywhere, and politicians - who had taken two generations of evolution to acquire some knowledge about information technology - established new rules, a legislation granting both fairness and freedom (hey, don't they always claim doing just that ? and what's the result ?).
The wide acceptance of the new regulations made copy protection almost unnecessary after all.
They also declared it unlawful to track anyone's physical movements, personal business, private life or communications without a court decision. So the intrusion by tireless data collectors also finally came to an end.
Most important, a law was passed, that granted the privacy of personal computers ('mind extensions'). This was even turned into an amendment to the Constitution.
Nevertheless, could anybody even in a fairy tale* be naive enough not to recognize that no property is safe without freedom, as only freedom can grant justice and only justice can protect property? Privacy in turn is essential to protect freedom, isn't it. So protecting property by taking away privacy is a contradiction in itself and anybody trying this will shoot himself in the foot.
In this story, Orwell's prophecies [11] had almost all come true. The reversal came shortly after some lobbying groups like 'Take Them to the Cleaners' or 'Privacy is Crime' had in a last effort, tried a little too hard to oppress their opinions onto the world's legal structure in a fictitious '2nd Cyberwar'**.

Sometimes, things are turning for the better and all live happily ever after

* Probably it hasn't escaped your attention that in reality, even more bizarre and sinister developments had been pushed ahead once upon a time.
** It had long been recognized that all knowledge and legal structures also belonged to what had initially been called 'cyberspace'. So this 'war' didn't take place in the web, and no viruses were used to fight it. The main weapon in this 'war' instead were law proposals tirelessly written by hosts of lobbyists.


THE END OF HARDWARE - pages fom part2: Fiction

This was made for kids, of course. Issues like 'private' banking and the virtual goods black market weren't mentioned, these in reality induced even more tendencies to install Big Brother in any computer, because it impaired tax revenues. Unsurprisingly, in these cases no business lobbies were ever asking for more control.
Some official's greed for information got so bizarre, that they entirely forgot that privacy is a human right [68], [69] (yet did any of these law poets ever care about constitutions and such?).
I'd really like to know what your Senator would say if just after the postman, a snoop would regularly appear at his mailbox, open all his letters and read them thoroughly. Of course the guy would put everything back in afterwards, nice, ain't it. As secret communications generally can't be stopped, not even proven (if data are hidden in sound or picture files by steganography), it finally turned out that total control will ever remain an illusion and one had to turn back to more conventional methods of investigation.
Since the laptop days it had also dawned to just anybody, that the possibility of the perfect digital copy never made any difference at all. Most people aren't even able to tell the quality difference and if so, they usually don't care anyway.
Inhibiting all varieties of copying requires to place a policeman in every living room. 1:1 hardware copies cannot be inhibited unless the technology is entirely sealed and locked, and playing them cannot be blocked unless there are only playback devices that only work when online connected to a dedicated 'rights server'.
It turned out that such stupid makeshift stuff would never work in any acceptable manner at all, unless an entire host of also makeshift and likely unconstitutional laws would be pushed forward, trying to enforce the functionality of an inherently flawed technology. As digital goods are totally different from hardware in that they can be reproduced and distributed at very little cost, implementing the equivalent of a daily house search for everybody just for their control is meanwhile considered brainless anyway, and just a fundamental failure to adapt to the market. Nowadays, the fight of the plastic carvers against the web is often mentioned alongside with the fight of the gas companies against electricity.


THE END OF HARDWARE - pages fom part2: Fiction

So it finally became common consent, that the primitive crowbar technology once named 'Digital rights management' (DRM) was clueless and even counterproductive, as nobody was actually willing to buy anything without getting to own it, even less so from the very same people who would just use the money to promote even more 'legal' atrocities against them [75].

The 'six postulates' became standard in any engineering textbook :

I. It's impossible to prevent any physically identical copying unless the entire information technology gets classified and restricted.
II. It's impossible to prevent any content copying unless the entire information technology as well as analog technology is classified and restricted.
III. It's impossible to manage any detailed digital rights without an entirely classified and restricted digital technology and enforced communications to and surveillance by centralized servers.
IV. It's absolutely dangerous to bind any information content to any specific hardware, as such content would be destroyed if this hardware becomes unavailable.
V. It's absolutely dangerous to bind the usability of any information content to any remote servers as such content would be destroyed if these servers become unavailable.
VI. 'Digital rights management' can only work in a perfect police state. The only thing that digital technology contributes here, is that the perfect police state can be implemented much easier.

Fortunately, the archaic habits of distributing media on round pieces of plastic are now long forgotten. So an entirely different system came into being. If I download something really valuable now, it might contain my name and the originator's signature* in an asymmetric watermark**, but then I can do with it what I like.
* A hash (sort of checksum) calculated for a data set, using a secret key. Anyone can check for integrity of the entire set using a related public key.
** Making at a large number of subtle (invisible/inaudible) pseudo random changes in a file, determined by a secret key. A related public key allows to derive enough of the changes for a very safe validation of the watermark (even from only a partial or format converted file) [111].
Remark: Since the last edition of this book, insight has grown that customers aren't the enemy. Several of the most important online distributors recently started to sell music free of DRM and personalized watermarks.


THE END OF HARDWARE - pages fom part2: Fiction

Only a few special releases or expensive software are now sold personalized anyway. Nevertheless I'm entitled by law to sell them second hand, perhaps involving a bit of bookkeeping.
Most kinds of copy protection and software activation techniques have even been outlawed in the mean time, so this is nothing new (see p.94). There has never been anything wrong with pursuing people for causing damages to, or making money from the work of others, assuming the use of methods that comply with human and constitutional rights. Nonetheless it would be nuts to even think of making '1984' a reality just for the sake of greed.
Well, we have had this already. Tom Britsome, commonly named "Unohu", had recently taken over the well oiled machinery of one of the world's most ancient and unsuspecting democracies that, for some time prior to this, had been sliding silently but inexorably into a police state. Trying to distract from the economic chaos brought about by his ruling the country into the stone age, Unohu had outlawed the common use of information technology, and even resorted to starting a war on the most feeble of pretences. Fortunately, this only resulted in his comprehensive defeat within a few days, due mainly to his army's technical and logistical inferiority brought about by his stifling regime.
The entire story had originally started with jailing people who simply refused to reveal the passwords to their computers. Some years after came the installation of so called 'black boxes' recording any e-mail and any website visit nationwide, and it didn't even end with the installation of real time tracking of all citizens.
The perfect Orwellian dream machine it was, ready to be abused by any tyrant haphazardly stumbling into the scene.
Only after the dark age of Unohu's tyranny had ended, after people had learned it the really hard way, privacy got subsequently restored as one of the most important fundamental rights.

By the way, even the antediluvian, 17th century patent system has now been reformed and replaced by general copyright. You can post your ideas to a government wiki site and if anyone uses them for profit, you get compensated the same way as if you had written a song and someone used it for his own interpretation.



If you are still wondering what this is all about, look up these links to various news sources:

1   The Patented European Webshop - how trivial patents affect everyday life
2   Guardian article about "owning ideas"
3   New York Times article about Europe's Antipiracy Proposal
4   Wired article illuminating US lobbyism
5   IP Justice article highlighting European lobbyism
6   Big Brother Awards France
7   Europe on patent threats against free software
8   Electronic Frontier Foundation summary on 7 years under DMCA
9   BBC News article about human gene patents
10 The EFF patent busting project
11 - German companies against software patents
12 Project Syndicate article - Intellectual Property Rights and Wrongs
13 Security Focus - article about copy protection rootkits
14 The Register - about the UK vehicle movement database
15 The Register - cryptographers reasoning why DRM will fail
16 EFF article about DMCA
17 ZDnet article about the impact of software patents even on Windows
18 Worst EU Lobbying Awards 2006
19 A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection
20 New York Times article: Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs
(pay $4.95 for the full text or figure out the rest of it yourself)
Finally, reason may return, at least about DRM:
21 Internationan Herald Tribune - Record labels rethink digital rights management
22 hotnews - Apple founder Steve Jobs criticizes DRM
23 April 2
nd, 2007: EMI has just chosen to free its entire catalog of DRM; or, more precisely, to offer anything DRM free for a little more money, and then in higher quality. So what's next ? HD movies ? Doesn't this example just show that there isn't a particular reason to have more protection for higher quality media ? Premium customers paying premium prices for premium products will never accept trash services. Is it that hard to comprehend ?
24 The German supreme court, in a decision of historic dimension, has given computer privacy the status of a constitutional right. See also here.
25 No link here as there are number of news sources: Apple i-Tunes as well as Amazon and other major companies are now, as of spring 2009, selling all their myriads of e-music items as mp3's without DRM, even without any personalized watermarks.

But, while some music companies got the message now, movie companies still are years behind, and book publishers seem to have heard about the web right yesterday evening...
In an epochal achievement, of all companies just Amazon, already selling mp3's without DRM, has managed to deliver a piece of comedy even dwarfing the cynicism of the Fairy Tales chapter above: They deleted no other than Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm right from the Kindle e-book readers of customers.
Read this breathtaking story at NYT.
Yes, it is a 'feature' of the system, as it is a 'feature' of I-phones that Apple can delete applications from remote...
How insane will it have to go until people will wake up? What would you say if your PC vendor would delete software from your home or business PC by the web? Maybe together with the data you just worked on with it?
Read the 'Six Postulates' and all the rest to it, above. Not a single comma had to be changed since it had been written 3 years ago, and the truth simply is, DRM makes DRM inventors rich and anybody else a fool.

Some additional remarks:

Copyright is necessary, in a reasonable framework. But what about the copyright to your own data, personal information, financial records, web communications, health records, fingerprints, your entire genome... You can be sure that myriads of companies and also government agencies copy, store, distribute, sell, treat your data as they want. If anything as rigid as the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) would apply here, they would already have been sued a thousand times by now, and for a reason: it takes only a keystroke to copy millions of data sets, and if this goes on it will inevitably accumulate until any single bit about you is everywhere in the world.
No doubt: we need a rigid legislation in the personal information area. While in the media industry it's only about money and markets, here it is about personal rights, not as interesting for lobbies maybe but way more serious. And it is getting more serious and even dangerous all the time, as computers are or at least are becoming like mind extensions, part of your own brain, not only literally but even physically in but a few decades. So dump that haywire DMCA for the kid's stuff and rewrite it for personal information rights.

And forget any illusions: As one after the other copy protection gets cracked, even BD+ recently, the Six Postulates get proven every other day. And indeed, this will even improve disc sales, as plastic diks are entirely outdated already, and customers now want to have their movies all on a harddisk rather than carrying tons of garbage and playing 'disk jockey' all the time. So even the existing possiblity of copying alone will help their buying decisions. MP3's already have proven that, provided availability and decent pricing, nobody will be taking the pain of looking for illegal offers, and copy protection is not only superfluous but rightout fatal for business.

Librarians are bemoaning the limited lifetime of digital media. Absolutely pointless. Digital media are a lot more secure even than paper, as any number of copies can and should be made, over and over, to be stored in different places. Paper has never been nearly as safe. When copies were difficult to make, burning down a single library (Alexandria) did extinguish a great part of all human knowledge. Water, bugs or fire consumed most paper documents during the ages, so even if some Papyri survived thousands of years, it is by no means correct to say that this was their life expectancy. Only after the invention of book printing, things got a bit safer as many libraries were now holding copies, at least of the more disseminated works. Any real danger for cultural or scientific knowledge nowadays does not lie in life time limitations of media, but in copy protection of any kind. Copy protection is - by general principle - doomed to fail its intended purpose anyway. The only thing it will always achieve and this for sure, is to imperil the safety of the information it is being used on.
Given these facts and their implications, it can surely be expected that most types of copy protection and activation schemes will be prohibited, sooner or later.
This even more so as there is a safe and viable alternative, being recognized slowly but steadily: Watermarking (see The End of Hardware, 2006, or Technology Review
11/2008). Rolf R. Hainich,11-20-2008

Patents: it's war, trivial patents war. Patent officers can't keep up anymore, don't often even check the easiest resources like web pages, not to mention books. Governments are asking for more patents, thinking it's knowledge, and pave the way for even more triviality. Consequently, most patents list only other patents as references, and with such an incestuous definition of novelty, anything that isn't yet patented will be patented, even if it's been known for 1000 years, and only the question remains, who's first to be insolent enough. Patent officials take no responsibility, so enterprises have to go to courts to fight hilarious patents. The patent thicket emerging will suffocate any progress.
As the validity and value of any patent is now negotiated by lawyers or decided in courts anyway, it would be noting but consequential to abandon this obsolete 17th century system entirely, and replace it by general copyright. Web publications for example, secured by wiki sites or web archivers, would be sufficient and appropriate to establish such copyright, and references could be found easily.
Rolf R. Hainich,12-11-2006

Law maneuvers and 2nd Life: would any architect build a bridge without calculating, anyone build an airplane without simulating it? Laws are made like this, designed by guessing and fixed later on, with countless amendments and court decisions. Simulating the effects of laws is difficult, but the military has equally difficult problems and solved them since centuries, by carrying out maneuvers*. Similar setups could be used to check out law initiatives, but politicians aren't running risks, so they prefer talking.
Now there could be an even better way of simulation: the Second Life platform currently provides fantasy worlds, but it could also be programmed with the real laws and twins of the real institutions of a really existing nation, enabling full featured social simulations. Employed professional players as well as volunteers would fill such a scenario with the intelligence a machine cannot provide. It won't take long until it will be considered recklessly negligent not to use such a test environment.
Rolf R. Hainich, 12-11-2006

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