Sounds silly, right? But today anything is possible.
We all know that feeling of regret that settles in when we are getting ready to go somewhere we do not really want to go, especially when we're not even sure how someone persuaded us to agree to it. But, what if we told you that you do not need to go out of the comfort of your home, or leave your favourite couch to attend social gatherings?
What if you could hire someone else to go out instead while still making everyone believe that you are there? That is what the Japanese company, Rekimoto Lab, suggested when presenting their new invention called Chameleon Mask at the EmTech Asia conference.
Chameleon Mask is a device that works pretty much like any other telepresence system but, instead of being mounted on a moving robot, it is worn by another person. That person would be able to see the world through the camera and get written instructions, that would overlay their camera feed, on how to act and what to do. In the meantime, the public would see and hear the live-stream of the person that is instructing his stand-in from, possibly, miles away. This idea is now widely labelled as “Human Uber”, it can take you anywhere you want but, instead of using a car, you use another person's body.
This interesting concept can provide many uses in today’s society. Busy businessmen and women could use this device to attend meetings or give presentations when they can’t physically be present in the conference room. People with certain illnesses or disabilities could also benefit from the device as it would give them a chance to go wherever they wanted to. The possibilities are endless really, but that is also where it gets a little tricky – how far can a person go while using it?
The company themselves touched upon this rather philosophical idea when presenting the product – what does it really mean to be standing in for a stranger? What does it mean to be ordered exactly what you have to do? Is watching someone else's life, the happy and sad moments, a positive experience? How does it feel to be a part of something intimate while being completely ignored?
The device is not popular yet and we can’t be sure whether it will ever be, so maybe these questions aren’t worthy to be considered. We have another question for you though: that regret you have when you’re getting ready to go out somewhere, is it really that unbearable? Aren’t the times when you forced yourself out and then actually had genuine fun worth the risk of going out from time to time? Maybe, if we consider that now, those other questions will not be at all relevant.
Let us know what you think!