What Is The Magicverse (And Why)?

| Rony Abovitz

In 2018, the Magic Leap team and I introduced the concept of the Magicverse. One of the inspiration points for our vision was Walt Disney’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, an unfinished concept he was developing before he died. His vision was one of unbridled optimism, possibility, and emerged during the great space race to the moon in the 1960s. One of his ideas, a “real city that would never cease to be a blueprint of the future” now has the opportunity to take flight and come to life all around the world.

The Magicverse is an Emergent System of Systems bridging the physical with the digital, in a large scale, persistent manner within a community of people. The Magicverse is dynamic, alive, and a home for the endless creative expressions of human life. It can also become a fabric that binds a community together through shared public services. Spatial computing creates the power of place, of physicality with digital together. The Magicverse of a specific place (ex: a city) also defines a communal value for the digital resources of that place and community, in the same way that a physical place may important natural resources and geography. The Magicverse also evokes a paradox of place, an idea first raised by Dr. Julio Frenk, President of the University of Miami, in that spatial computing can amplify the reach, presence, and economic strength of a physical place well beyond its limited physical geography.

One of the conditions to enable the Magicverse is the hundreds of billions of dollars of new infrastructure to create high-speed network & edge computing zones in modern cities across many countries. 5G (and what follows it) are major components of what feels like a new, spatial internet.

magicverse layers

Figure 1 – Magicverse With Spatial Computing Layers

At Magic Leap we have proposed the following qualities as critical components of spatial computing: Presence, Persistence, Scale, Awareness, Interactivity, Respect, and Sentience. All of these qualities, synthesized together, will be blended into the everyday experience of Magicverse participants. We have also proposed that Magicverse will be an open platform that is device agnostic, XR compliant, and IoT interoperable. This means that billions of devices will become windows into the spatial digital world, including the devices Magic Leap makes today and the ones we are developing for the future.

Within the Magicverse, vehicles, devices, IOT, sensing, and spatial computing will combine to form ever-changing and growing capabilities and experiences for the inhabitants of a Magicverse – including those who may only appear as a digitally co-present. Magicverse scales from room level, to building, city, country and world scale. Data, information and experiences within these environments are unlocked from screens and servers to persist at scale in contextually relevant physical environments. It supports individuals and enterprises across an exhaustive set of applications and use cases that naturally deserve to exist spatially in harmony with our physical environments.

The enormous rivers of data created by the Magicverse, including the community within, require special safeguards and protections to prevent abuse and misuse. At Magic Leap, we added Respect as a fundamental and important requirement of spatial computing – which means putting people in the center, and respecting fundamental human rights to freedom, privacy, health, diversity, inclusion, and joy. We are working on both policies and new architectures to define how such massive and critical data can and should be protected. Companies and service providers with scaled, legacy business models built on being data-centric or direct monetization of user data will not be able to deliver on the promise of respect that the cititzens of Magicverse require and deserve. The policy task is one that should and will be developed in a transparent and public manner, and be in harmony with the regulations that define public good. We will also begin sharing elements of our architecture – which needs to embed safeguards by design to prevent abuse and misuse, and to provide users and participants with fundamental control and transparency over their digital life (what we call a Lifestream). The Magicverse also requires trust. Establishing trust, validating trust, and maintaining trust into all aspects of development and operation.

At Magic Leap we believe that the Magicverse can be a powerful force for good within the global community – but only when blended with principals of democracy, privacy, individual and community human rights, creativity, and decentralized controls. The balanced distribution of power and control, central to democratic principles, will be key to the sustainability of Magicverse.

The Magicverse can provide massive economic amplifiers to communities around the world, erode space and time boundaries, and enable communication and work to occur in completely new ways, at fractions of the cost of current physical systems. The Magicverse creates a large scale canvas for creatives. World builders, experience designers, and new form story creators will have parks, cities, regions, and even countries as their space for developing amazing and persistent storyworlds. The inclusion of creativity platforms for anyone with XR access will enable an explosion of ideas that can be shared with small or large groups, in public or in private. Services delivered in legacy physical environments will migrate to Magicverse. Everyday activities such as a doctor visit will never be the same. Visiting a doctor in the Magicverse will happen anywhere, anytime with the world's foremost expert through copresence and integrated biosensor data. The Magicverse can enable accessibility and economic opportunity to anyone with an idea and the ability to develop software, design, and code. This will require an intense effort by the private and public sectors to provide education, tools, and access to those communities without privilege.

The Magicverse is Magic Leap’s specific and ethically bounded version of a wider set of digital world ideas, that we call Xverses. Other parallel efforts are emerging, and will continue to emerge, as human creativity and innovation has no bounds. Some will have a similar sense of constraint and the need to deliver a promise for the public good – and we will work with them to develop a system of integration and harmonized standards. Others will be developed to exploit, harm, and control – and we will distance ourselves from these efforts and hopefully shine a spotlight on what works, what can work, and what is the best path.

The Magicverse will not be built by Magic Leap alone. We have established, and are continuing to establish strategic partnerships and alliances around the world. Early Magic Leap developers are beginning to learn the first skills to develop the initial primary experiences that will form the building blocks of Magicverse creation. Throughout 2019, and for many years to come, we will develop and release new tools and pathways to enable spatial computing and Magicverse evolution, including hardware, software, architectures, portals, policies, concepts, and vision.

Some dream of travelling to outer space, and to colonize other planets to preserve the human race. These are noble pursuits, and they capture the imagination. At Magic Leap, we see life here on earth as our first priority. There are endless problems we currently face: economic disparity, poor distribution of global healthcare quality, culture, misunderstanding, climate change, and war. To the extent possible, our goal is to develop the Magicverse to address some of those issues by amplifying human capability, affording greater economic possibilities, creating new forms of proactive healthcare, enabling creative joy and wonder, expanding the surface area and efficacy of human communication, and to embrace our physical world and who we are as a first principle. Some think technology will eventually become our master. We disagree. Technology should serve us, as individuals, and as collective societies. The Magicverse also allows all of us to create endless travels through inner space – our collective creative space – which for many will have equal, if not greater experiential potential than any form of travel we can physically evoke.

Our effort succeeds through our partnerships, our growing developer community, through inclusion across many boundaries, and through open, transparent, and frequent discussion, constructive debate, and agile iteration.

The journey to build the Magicverse will never end. We have already taken the first step. We are on the road.

We hope that you will join us. :-)

Rony

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