Magic Leap's next move: asking consumers to stream their entire lives on the security of blockchain

3 days ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Facts, News

If Magic Leap's ($MAGICLEAP) first foray into the augmented reality business didn't go as well as it originally planned, its next pivot appears to be a move into the sci-fi-like field of "lifestreaming". This all rests on the notion that Magic Leap users will wear the company's augmented reality headsets to record — and share — their lives.

In other words, if a Facebook update with a selfie is a status update, think of lifestreaming as an always-on status TV channel.

If that sounds farfetched, Magic Leap's job listings say otherwise. That's because openings at the company aren't just at their highest levels since we began tracking them, but the lion's share of the new jobs are focused on lifestream tech.

What stuck out in these job listings is a new category of jobs at the company categorized as "Lifestream Data". In fact, in the past quarter, jobs tagged as "Lifestream Data" outpaced "Quality Assurance" as the most common opening.

These categorical shifts over time show a fascinating — and telling — picture of Magic Leap's brief history. Go ahead and hit the play button on the bar chart above. We'll wait.

In 2016, when Magic Leap was first creating hype — and crowdfunding dollars — for its AR product, the most-common job category was Creative Production. Then, in 2017, jobs under "Applications" were in demand as the company ostensibly was getting product ready for pilot customers. Then, in 2018. when the Magic Leap product finally hit the market, Quality Assurance jobs were in demand as customers got their hands on the AR headset for the first time and likely had questions and issues. 

Then, last quarter, "Lifestream Data" became the most in-demand job category at Magic Leap in a sign that the company is putting as many resources as possible into a future that focuses on lifestreaming. Some of the job listings were initially spotted by Variety in April, but the full extent of the jobs along with Magic Leap's commitment to becoming the de-facto platform for lifestreaming is only now becoming clear.

The new category of jobs at Magic Leap showed up seemingly out of nowhere at the end of March — 30 listings in all. Openings include everything from technical architects, to blockchain engineers, and data virtualization engineers.

The need for blockchain engineers is telling, as Magic Leap plans to secure users' data using the technology that will essentially record everything users do. Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz notes the company's commitment "to provide the tools and security" to assure that users who decide to stream their entire lives remain in control of all of their own data.

"The users should really gain as much control as they need and want. It should be a data set that they have, not a data set that is centralized."

As for why the data is so sensitive, think of it as a digital imprint of a user's life in ways we've never seen before. "Our system can see what you see, can hear what you hear, it is where you are," Abovitz explained.

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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