Ethical Risks in the Cross Section of Extended Reality (XR), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Ethical Risks in the Cross Section of Extended Reality (XR), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Monika Manolova
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8467-5.ch014
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The ethical risks which emerge from the cross section of artificial intelligence, extended reality, and geographic information systems could be examined in two broad categories of environmental and user-centric interactions of human beings with AI-curated mixed realities. These categories resonate with the capacity of AI to significantly impact the efficient application of extended reality technologies, while utilizing geodata and behavioral modelling to alter and transform experiences. While regulatory frameworks are catching up with the rights of users in the digital economy, the recently accelerated growth of immersive technologies provides further scenarios and use cases, which ought to be considered for their capacity to amplify biases, produce alternative realities, and affect human emotions.
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Within 2020 the cross section of data science and geographic information systems (GIS) expanded beyond the textbooks and into the daily consumption of internet audiences with the global consumption of the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard (Johns Hopkins University, 2021). It was a daily visited page as we followed the progress of a pandemic across the world. Data science stretched beyond its statistics roots into an explainable, shareable visual of events on scale outside human comprehension.

The mathematical ramifications obvious for the public as figures became a base for policies and solutions with significant effect on the daily functioning of societies, while means and trends had a demonstrated reflection in the way societies operate (Committee for the Coordination of Statistical Activities [CCSA], 2020).

The mainstreaming of the data science field was accompanied by expanded daily hours in front of screens and emergence of a brand-new internet minute, which contains within itself not only an addicting human-digital symbiosis, but fundamental dependence and emotional investment into digital solution as a bridge between families, friends, communities, and societies.

Social geography classifies the waves of innovation diffusion into neat categories, which reach certain geographies within various times in history and provide for significant changes in perception, economic segmentation, policies, and societal norms (Sirk, 2020). But both national states and global powers such as the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) have recognized the significance of the current stage of data fueling artificial intelligence solutions as unrivalled before in human history.

Artificial intelligence is the single unifying term used to describe a set of solutions that compile geometric progression of gathered data streams and provide quick, cheap solutions excluding hours upon hours of processing and human interference.

Regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union (EU) and the Data Act (European Commission, n.d.), and Electronic Communication Privacy Act, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) within the United States represent the recognition of basic human rights within the wave of the new highly digitalized world. In 2021 the European Union proposed frontier regulation in artificial intelligence, which is positioned to be the first of its kind guardrail of ethical AI application in a wide set of use scenarios and a preventive measure for single entity utilization of advanced technologies in unlawful and harmful manner (Publications Office of the EU, 2020). The suggested measures further demonstrate the envisaged importance of artificial intelligence as a driver of economic, social, and political processes on global scale.

While the emergence of digital regulation is reassuring, the generational gaps in digital product consumption are constantly growing in sync with emerging technologies as the ways in which society consumes information (streaming, social networks, digital realities, immersive environment) and participates in economic exchanges (freelancer, influencer economics) continue to evolve along with cutting edge technologies, which were not available even five years ago.

In the post-pandemic disconnected physical world, social networks are accelerating their research in the provision a 3D experience instead of the php, html and Haskell-based, 2D experiences users have had thus far (Feldman, 2020), making platforms more immersive with encoded interactions and the capacity to gameplay inside a favorite TV programme and effect outcomes or follow favorite characters through storylines in 3D scenes. The addictive nature of the internet word transformed the internet minute into the first generation of internet lifetimes, where significant milestones in the human experience could exist almost entirely online.

The introduction of extended reality technologies further complicates the matter. The potential applications are endless and in a physically disconnected world, they could easily become addicting, the immersive nature of these environments becoming preferable to real life experiences. Large demographics already buy in the notions of reality TV, steaming entertainment, social media as forms of escapism and the lines between the real world and the digital one is becoming blurrier with the convergence between social networks and geo locations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Virtual Reality (VR): Is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (e.g. video games), education (e.g. medical or military training) and business (e.g. virtual meetings). Other distinct types of VR-style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality, sometimes referred to as extended reality or XR.

Extended Reality (XR): Extended reality (XR) is a term referring to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables, where the 'X' represents a variable for any current or future spatial computing technologies. It includes representative forms such as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) and the areas interpolated among them. The levels of virtuality range from partially sensory inputs to immersive virtuality, also called VR.

Sensemaking: Sensemaking or sense-making is the process by which people give meaning to their collective experiences. It has been defined as “the ongoing retrospective development of plausible images that rationalize what people are doing” (Weick, Sutcliffe, & Obstfeld, 2005, p. 409). The concept was introduced to organizational studies by Karl E. Weick in the 1970s and has affected both theory and practice.

Digital Economy: The digital economy is the worldwide network of economic activities, commercial transactions and professional interactions that are enabled by information and communications technologies (ICT).

Data Science: Data science is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge and insights from structured and unstructured data, and apply knowledge and actionable insights from data across a broad range of application domains.

Geographic Information System (GIS): A geographic information system (GIS) is a system that creates, manages, analyzes, and maps all types of data. GIS connects data to a map, integrating location data (where things are) with all types of descriptive information (what things are like there). This provides a foundation for mapping and analysis that is used in science and almost every industry. GIS helps users understand patterns, relationships, and geographic context. The benefits include improved communication and efficiency as well as better management and decision making.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving.

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