Blended Virtuality

Designed space for human interaction has existed beyond the physical environment for decades already, but the integration of digital services into daily life is now firmly entrenched. The digital environment is already a contested space, and the concerns that apply to the design of safe, inclusive, and accessible physical spaces are also at play in our spaces of digital interaction. How will we build an elevated awareness of these design concerns into emerging spaces, as transformational technologies embed themselves further? Our work seeks to define analogous design terminology and principles that can help us to unify the social contracts that have shaped our built environment with those that are emerging in augmented and virtual environments. We are (rightly) preoccupied with security in cyber spaces, but these concerns (privacy, security, equity) will bleed across boundaries further. A concerted effort to define an ideal and just collective understanding of societies that do/will exist in these different planes is urgently needed. This will help us to shape an ethical framework that can be applied via the millions of design decisions that will be made (increasingly by AI means) in creating and nurturing new levels of consciousness and interaction. Our cities will be as intelligent as the sentient beings and AIs that move through them, and they will be fully embedded with virtual space. Welcome to your future multiplanar existence.

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