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am_Unition  ·  317 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How to Self Quarantine

Thanks to a proprietary software language shitting the bed on me, I'm unable to work much. Instead, with quarantining and carbon emission reductions in mind, I'm trying to envision how we might eventually have virtual meetings if they are to even begin to approach the efficiency (or social fulfillment) of face-to-face meetings, and are suitable for professional use.

1. A VR headset device maps the room you'd like to physically occupy for meeting(s). This should be used to restrict movement to areas safe to walk in, but you'll also make decisions like which subset of your virtual room you'd like to use for presenting information, which could be as simple as a wall, but some users, like someone planning to present content to a large audience, might have some sort of smart canvas or other device to enhance their ability to manipulate their content.

2. Depending on the number of attendees and the type of desired meeting, software links your virtual space into a larger virtual space, throughout which others in the meeting will be located. The possibilities here are actually pretty interesting. You could do a VR TED talk (ok, maybe just TEDx), or you could chat around the VR water cooler.

3. A camera or array of cameras on the headset monitors movements of your face and projects them onto the face of your virtual avatar. Sounds in the virtual room, like multiple conversations, are modeled inside of this space to virtually propagate off the walls, adding to the immersion, and everyone can wear a glove or two, which communicate with to your VR headset and allow for gesturing.

Latency destroys immersion. Not sure how to solve this problem, and the sound modeling thing may be unfeasible if it even introduces another small fraction of a second.

It would take a magically-curved beam of light 67 ms to travel around Earth, on its surface, from yourself to the point antipodal of you. Currently, my international teleconferences have one-way audio latency >300 ms, and communication is a two way street (so they say), which means it's > 600 ms until I hear Bob telling me to shut up, which I didn't hear, because I had already started a new sentence. And then, at least with Zoom and WebEx, screen sharing while trying to display video data products shows that the software is running < ~5 FPS. That's gonna hafta come up.

The logistics of optimal data routing using existing internet infrastructure is daunting. Starlink (or the Iridium constellation) in low-Earth orbit only introduces another few ms, geometrically, but a beam of light cannot curve, and requires inter-satellite communication to bounce the signal. Bandwidth will be a major issue.

It seems to me like it's a problem of diminishing returns on investments to depress international-scale connection, and thus covid-19 is going to do almost nothing to speed along improvements. Like, it's not demand for this that's the problem, sadly, we're running up against physical and computational limitations.

Orrrrr... you could shave one-way antipodal latency down to 42 ms if you shot neutrino beams through the Earth. Just sayin', Devac, this could be our fifth failed business venture someday! Too bad we can't actually use entanglement to violate causality and thus achieve superluminal communication, despite hundreds of uninformed pop-sci articles implying otherwise.

Tagging kleinbl00, this is all sorts of your alley. Devac too, because you'll eventually be on some international project and its slew of teleconferences, in all likelihood.