Unintended, malicious and evil applications of augmented reality
by Gregory Conti, Edward Sobiesk, Paul Anderson, Steven Billington, Alex Farmer, Cory Kirk, Patrick Shaffer, and Kyle Stammer - Tuesday, 12 February 2013.
Dating and stalking

Augmented reality opens the flood gates to applications for dating and stalking. Having a set of eyeglasses that records and posts your location on social networks means that everybody you know can see where you are. For example, a man sits down at a bar and looks at another women through his glasses, and her Facebook or Google+ page pops up on his screen (since she did not know to limit her privacy settings). While augmented reality brings vastly new and exciting opportunities, the technology threatens to eliminate the classic way of meeting and getting to know people: by actually spending time with them. Consider an application that already exists: “Girls Around Me,” -it uses data from social networking sites to display locations of nearby girls on a map. According to Nick Bilton of The New York Times, this application “definitely wins the prize for too creepy.”

The evolution of such applications combined with augmented reality opens up numerous other possibilities. Perhaps the glasses will suggest pick-up lines based on a target’s interests, guess people’s ages, highlight single women (or married women), make people more attractive (virtual “beer goggles”), or provide “ratings” based on other users’ feedback. Lie detection applications will likely be in frequent use, and misuse. Expect continuous innovation in this domain.

Recreational pharma

We anticipate that augmented reality will be used to emulate or enhance drug use. History has taught us recreational drugs will always be in demand as will be additional means of enhancement. Some may recall the combination of drugs with Pink Floyd laser light shows. Others may have experimented with Maker SHED’s Trip Glasses which suggests users “Enjoy the hallucinations as you drift into deep meditation, ponder your inner world, and then come out after the 14-minute program feeling fabulous” or the audio approaches suggested by Brad Smith’s DEFCON 18 “Weaponizing Lady GaGa” talk. Augmented reality will open up significant and sought after possibilities.


Let’s face it, porn is a driving force behind Internet and technological growth, and we believe the same will hold true for augmented reality. Augmented reality will facilitate sexual activities in untold ways including virtual sexual liaisons, both physical and virtual, local and at a distance. Advanced sensors may allow penetration of clothing or the overlay of exceptionally endowed features on individuals in the real world, perhaps without their knowledge. The advice frequently given in public speaking classes, “Imagine the audience naked,” takes on entirely new meaning in this era.


There are more than 300 million people in the United States alone and more than that number of mobile phones. Imagine if even one third of this group actively wore and used augmented reality glasses. That would mean 100 million always-on cameras and microphones wielded by adults, teenagers, and children continually feeding data to cloud-based processors. Virtually no aspect of day-to-day life will be exempt from the all seeing eye of ubiquitous and crowdsourced surveillance.

Businesses will be incentivized to collect, retain, and mine these data flows to support business objectives, such as targeted advertising, and governments will covet and seek access to this data for security and law enforcement aims. The implications of the privacy of the individual citizen and the chilling effect on society as a whole could be profound.


People have long been concerned about the danger of billboards when driving, because they take drivers’ eyes off the road. Text messaging while driving is widely illegal because of the distraction it causes. Now consider augmented reality glasses with pop-up messages that appear while a person drives, walks across a busy intersection, or performs some other activity requiring their full attention.


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