WebXR for Cooperative Work, Thought and Play
Engelbart had it right: The ways we work, play, learn, create, and think coevolve with our tools.
The internet weaves itself into the fabric of our lives. It has changed how we gather and share information with each other. Personal computers, mobile devices, and now immersive devices shrink the distance between us and our digital identities. And yet, many of us find ourselves feeling overwhelmed, disconnected and without community.
Attempts to “get together” online via text, voice, and video are stifled by inherent limitations of those mediums, despite our efforts to overcome them. Community gatherings need space: for nonverbal communication, for simultaneous streams of conversation, and for seamless integration of media.
Games and metaverse platforms are competing for attention in this rich design space. But these software systems rarely put the needs and interests of the end-users first, and are instead optimized for growth, lock-in, and network effects.
Meanwhile, the capabilities of immersive devices present novel risks to the security, privacy, and well-being of end-users. WebXR brings these capabilities (and risks) to the web, where new generations of programmers, artists, and creatives are making their start.
In this talk, John explores:
- How computer-mediated communication tools often “get in the way” of our attempts to connect,
- How powerful tools for creative expression often have challenging barriers to entry,
- How WebXR enables web developers to build accessible, cross-platform immersive applications,
- How Mozilla’s work on Hubs fits into a wider narrative of authentic community-building, open-source, and decentralized technology