When I launched my Augmented Legality blog in 2011, I didn't know anyone outside a very select group of entrepreneurs and technologists who even knew what augmented reality was. But I shared with the members of that then-fledgling industry a vision that AR would soon revolutionize society as much as the internet had already done. And with all that change would come a boatload of legal issues.
Several milestones came soon thereafter. My first clients in the AR industry. The first judicial decision mentioning AR. The first legal complaint over AR advertising. The first time I got to argue about AR & VR in a federal courtroom. The first book on AR law.
And now, this: the first hearing on augmented reality in the United States Congress.
I'm incredibly honored to have been contacted this summer by the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to provide background on the legal ramifications of augmented reality. Following that and many other conversations, the committee is now ready to convene a hearing entitled "Exploring Augmented Reality" this Wednesday.
“Stretching far beyond entertainment, augmented reality is starting to be used today for transportation safety, scientific research, communication, and other real-world tasks,” says Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.). “Expert witnesses testifying at the first congressional hearing on augmented reality will introduce to the committee the potential applications and policy considerations of this rapidly-developing technology.”
The lineup of witnesses includes Daqri founder & CEO Brian Mullins, whom I've been privileged to know since he gave me an interview for this blog back in 2011. His vision for AR has only gotten bigger since then, and is becoming tangible more and more each day now that the ground-breaking Daqri Smart Helmet is shipping and 150,000 Daqri Holographics automotive heads-up display units are on the road. Also scheduled to appear is John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, the company whose Pokemon Go game finally succeeded in making "augmented reality" a mainstream term.
For someone who has anticipated AR-related legal developments for so long, seeing actual lawmakers take an active interest in the technology is an exciting step into the future.
Watch this space for further updates on the congressional hearing later this week.