Idea : fractally compressed AR

This is an augmented reality idea I had while walking around looking at trees after Drop Day. Basically, one would wear a VR headset that displays imagery from the outside world, except that occurrences of similar visual objects get replaced with the exact same object, or the same object perturbed in some synthetic way.

So, for example, the leaves of a tree would get replaced with fractals that are generated to look like leaves. As another example, areas of the same "texture" could be identified (basically, areas with little low-frequency spatial component, possibly after a heuristically determined perspective correction). Then a random small exemplar patch is selected and used to fill the entire area with Wei & Levoy / Ashikhmin-style synthetic textures.

The point of all of this is that you're essentially applying lossy compression (by identifying similar regions and discarding the differences between them), then decompressing and feeding the information into the brain (and thus mind). Working on the assumption that consciousness essentially involves a form of lossy compression which selects salient features and attenuates others, you can determine the degree and nature of this compression by determining when a similar, externally applied compression becomes noticeable or incapacitating.

My guess is that there will be a wide range of compression levels where reality is still manageable and comprehensible but develops a highly surreal character. Of course to experiment meaningfully you'd need a good enough AR setup that the hardware itself doesn't introduce too much distortion, although you could also control for this by having people use the system without software distortions.

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