Happy 2020 everyone! It’s been a bit since I’ve posted anything on my blog here, but I’ve done quite a lot of writing since I joined Mozilla in March on the Mozilla Mixed Reality blog. You can catch up on what the team accomplished in 2019 with these links below!
- We launched a social VR integration with Discord, a chat client primarily used by gaming communities:
- The team released Spoke, it’s online 3D world editor, as a web application and added support for compositing custom environments with the architecture kit in October
- Hubs got a bunch of new community features, to give users a greater degree of control over their rooms
- We (naturally) were able to “launch” on Oculus Quest just days after release with the power of the web
- Avatars became more easily customizable and I’ve even been getting decent with Blender this year!
When I reflect back on the past months since joining Mozilla, I feel incredibly accomplished and excited to just be scratching the surface of what this team, organization, and company is capable of. I’ve met some of the most passionate, driven, intellectually curious, and multi-dimensional people through my time at Mozilla so far, and I am absolutely overflowing with gratitude and excitement. It’s been busy, and stimulating, and challenging in ways that are helping me grow, and it’s exactly what I want to be doing at this stage in my career.
One of the things that I am most thankful for in this new role is a greater appreciation for building software in an open way that puts the users at the heart of the problem across multiple axes. I’ve also been exposed to the risks and challenges that the industry faces as a whole around user privacy and security, and I’ve begun to explore what that means for creating shared social environments with embodied components (e.g. social VR). This means being respectful of user agency and control, building spaces that afford privacy by default, and being conscientious about mixed reality devices and the data they can collect about you.
One of the areas in particular that I have been exposed to at Mozilla is the intersection of technology and policy – figuring out the most effective ways to solve user problems with software sometimes means being willing to step into a courtroom, and work with legislators and regulators to identify areas where software is accelerating beyond what our current legal system is able to account for. This is particular interesting in the field of immersive technology and spatial computing (VR/AR/MR/XR) because of the highly sensitive information that can be derived about a person from an HMD.
The Aspen Institute is one organization that is looking to improve the relationship between technologists and legislators through their Tech Policy Hub Fellowship Program. In this Fellowship program, professionals working in emerging technologies are taught about policy, legislation, and how to work with governments and other agencies to participate in the democratic process in so far that it relates to their field of technological expertise. I’m thrilled to officially be a part of their second cohort of fellows, and will be spending the next ten weeks immersed in policy and driving a project of my own relating to spatial computing.
While I am participating in the fellowship, I will be continuing my work at Mozilla in a reduced capacity. If you are interested in getting updates about my experience with the Aspen Tech Policy Hub, you can sign up for email updates here.
Personally, I’m thrilled to get to explore new ways to create impact through technology, and I can’t wait to share what I learn. Here’s to starting off the new year strong!