Dutch Government Uses Augmented Reality to Shame Citizens

Dutch AR

Humans may be good as a general rule, sure, but it's hard to deny the inhumanity of the many pedestrians that left the so-called "homeless hero" to die on the streets of NYC after he saved a woman from a mugging two weeks ago. In an apparent effort to prevent similar incidents, the Dutch government has placed augmented reality billboards strategically throughout Amsterdam and Rotterdam thoroughfares. But unlike other augmented reality applications that have some sort of informational or social component, these billboards are designed squarely to shame pedestrians into being good citizens.

The billboards provide a real-time view of the street below, with one catch: pedestrians see a confrontation unfold on the screen above while they stand below and gawk. Of course, there's nothing they can actually do—the confrontation is only happening in the billboard's augmented reality—but the project does show how ugly it looks on the big screen when people neglect to stand up for each other.

Is it effective? Hard to say. But it is, if nothing else, a clever use of augmented reality. Check it out below.

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