I’m new to this whole hackathon scene, but am a long-time fan of immersive learning experiences like artist retreats and residencies. This hackathon seems to be humming along with a lot of enthusiasm, laughs, and intense conversation. I can tell everybody is getting a lot out of this.

It seems that every team is working on multiple aspects of VR simultaneously. I talked to Andrew Luck a bit about the audio project his team is working on, and they’re not just focusing on making a cool VR sound. They’re thinking about how to add multiplayer and machine learning components to their project.

Andrew Luck manning his team’s VR audio command center.

There’s a lot of cross-pollination of tech happening here. It’s one thing for a team of engineers to work on a cool social VR platform. It’s another for that technology to be combined with new tech involving binaural sound or AI. VR isn’t one kind of tech. It’s multiple technologies that are often developed in silos. Technology starts to truly demonstrate its potential when it intersects with other technologies. When you start multiplying one technology with others, the result is an exponential explosion of innovation.

Maybe technology itself wants to mix with other technology. If Kevin Kelly is right that technology is itself a seventh kingdom of life on earth, maybe this hackathon is a petri dish, where nascent forms of tech are comingling, creating strange symbiotic relationships, facilitated by the social fabric of human beings who explore and create.