Illinois Week Day 5: A Whole New Virtual World

On my final full day here at the University of Illinois, the order of the day was learning about virtual worlds with virtual reality, augmented reality, etc.  However, earlier this morning, we learned about things like advertising and social media presences.  In my first session this morning, social media was the main topic and basically how these networks can take data and customize ads towards a particular person.  It may seem a little bit creepy, but it is a whole new reality and that total privacy on the Internet really is no longer possible.  After that, we went to a session titled “The Pitch” and it was about advertising ourselves like a brand.  The main message of this was that each person is their own brand in the same way that Nike or Doritos of even particular towns like Los Angeles is.  It is not the common thinking, but what stands out seems to be what brings in customers and, more importantly, brings in money.  This session was actually extremely interesting and perhaps a little useful in branding myself towards colleges that I may want to apply to.  The main event of the morning was a session on mixed reality which is this spectrum from the real world ranging to a completely virtual world. While interesting, I almost took a nap in this session for the first time this week.

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After lunch, it was time for a session on augmented reality.  They showed us a video of what could very well be the future and it was quite creepy.  Hacking was actually brought to virtual life and it was actually pretty scary.  Glitches were seen and screens would change in and out and I could not imagine a person on this earth that would be scared out of their minds over it.  We then used an app called Aurasma that I am pretty sure no one back in Jasper has never heard of nor would even get the app.  It is an augmented reality app that allows people to take pictures of certain things and then put in some sort of augmented reality experience to pop out onto the device.  I am not saying that this will not be mainstream some day, but it is just very creepy that this could very well be the future of our technology and our entire lives.

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As I am leaving tomorrow afternoon from the University of Illinois going back home, this past week has been a very good experience and in some ways one of the most memorable weeks of my entire life.  My fellow campers always made sure that the nights were always very entertaining and the sessions throughout each of the past five days have been very educational and had lessons that will I will carry back to Jasper and potentially use within my work for my high school’s radio and television work.  I have to thank the staff here at the university that has been with us for the past week for sharing in the experience with the campers.  The staff here has been very helpful and no other ordinary campus visit is going to have you have the full college experience in just a day.  Living out what it would be like at an university this week has been extremely helpful and will carry with me when I do go to college in a few short years.  Maybe, just maybe, I will seriously consider the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a place to spend four years of my life after experiencing the campus for the past five days.

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