ID student Aaron Cook TEI’17 (ACM) Design Challenge Finalist

Aaron Cook (MDes 2017) was selected as a Design Challenge Finalist for TEI’17 (ACM) and demonstrated the concepts proposed in his paper on March 21, 2017 at the conference in Yokohama, Japan. His paper, Paranovirus: Bridging Realities Using Digital Media Simulations and related demonstration materials (available through are a critical design piece which explores the the potential for abuse of Augmented Reality (AR) hardware through a conceptual software virus.

The “Paranovirus” (paranoia + virus) allows bad actors to covertly influence the behavior and mental states of individuals. Paranovirus challenges us to consider ways “reality” can become muddled as we begin transition from devices with screens as separate object toward AR devices in which the digital screen sits between and directly mediates our experience of physical reality.

The paper details the design principles and tactics for using low fidelity AR media to call forth a high fidelity response from the imagination based on the context and individual psychology of an individual–much as a "bump in the night" may cause a parent to wonder if their child fell out of bed, yet cause a person reading a horror novel on a stormy night to be terrified that a killer is lurking somewhere in the house. By leveraging the volumes of data connected to our digital devices (calendars, social media, activity data, etc.) Paranovirus can pair with “dark AI” to systematically shift our perceptions of reality and sabotage our relationships, ambitions, and even society at large.

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Aaron Cook