Augmented reality [AR] is an exciting new tool for activists allowing them to further their causes in a number of different ways. AR allows concerned citizens to have a voice from the other side of the world. AR allows these same citizens to make a major statement anywhere with basically no budget. All you need is an internet connection and a computer and you can leave a message in the U.S. Oval Office or Guantanamo Bay. AR can act as a new form of communication to spread the chosen message. AR is comparable with activist tools such as stickers, fliers, websites and public acts of intervention. AR is non-violent and allows activists to do things that would end in arrest or harm such as trying to protest inside Guantanamo Bay. Although the statement made by activists willing to be arrested for what they believes is a powerful one it might not be a good idea to do it on a daily basis. The main goal of our research is to raise awareness, to engage the public, and to get more people to the protest.
Please be clear, our goal is not to replace activists with computer graphics. 95% of the AR activist work that has been made to date requires anyone wishing to view it to go to the actual location. You can not view AR from your couch or from the computer which you are reading right now. It requires you to leave the computer and go there. "There" is the protest, the occupation, or the site of concern. One of our main goals is to help get as many people to the protest as possible.
The core people pioneering augmented reality activism were activists long, long before this technology was available. When there is a protest we usually go. We don't get paid to do this. We do it because we are trying do our part to help further the cause.
Augmented reality will never be a substitute for real people. It is a tool, like many others, to help activists achieve their goals. It is similar to placing informative stickers around the city, passing out fliers, or making a website.