Radical thinkers will try to convince others that we are living in a computer simulated program. Most of us will dismiss the notion altogether as it being our actual reality. This theory, along with the popular opinion to refuse its possibility, was illustrated in the movie, The Matrix, as the truth of humanity’s existence. In the film, almost every person, except those who were freed, were slaves to an AI-machine-ruled-world and living in a Virtual Reality fantasy land.
As deep as the movie, and that rabbit hole of thinking and theory goes, the fact is that Virtual Reality is continually edging its way more and more into the actuality of our modern world. With this, and any new cutting-edge technological advancements, many questions should and will arise. And with VR, the further it is adapted into the culture, the more we should ask, “Why is virtual reality important? What’s the big deal and why should we pay attention?”
Virtual Reality (VR) is a communication/entertainment medium that makes its submersed experience feel real and unmediated. It involves human-computer interaction, computer science, and psychology. A person is fed the animated experience by way of headgear equipped with goggles, gloves, headphones, and haptic feedback.
VR’s success is determined by immersion and presence. This encounter makes it feel as if you really are in the place that is projected to your senses.
Here we will get an interesting glimpse of what will be possible in our daily lives in the near future. Also, we’ll take a look behind the scenes of what has been going on with virtual reality for the last several decades.
Next Level Communications
Not long ago, it was only in the movies and television that long distance face-to-face communications took place. Now it’s commonplace to see people out and about Facetiming, Skyping, or using whatever video-telephony app. Our conversations are now just as easy to have visually as they are audibly. With a push of a button, we can be talking to our phone or computer screen seeing the caller or receiver in real time from anywhere in the world.
The Sci-Fi realm seems to become less make-believe and more possible in our time. Just as video calls had much of their popularity roots in science fiction movies, VR’s popularity came about through the 1980s sci-fi cyberpunk film genre. 2018s Ready Player One was one of the more recent films to play into the possibilities of Virtual Reality in both entertainment and communication.
As the industry continues to emerge, the portrayed fantasy-tech is becoming more of a reality. Practical and convenient tools with cutting-edge features are being developed for interpersonal communication in this digital format. With social and business transactions in mind, Virtual Reality is taking it to the next level in the way we can network with one another.
This technology is going to let us have a fully submerged, computer-generated realistic, person to person interaction. You’ll have a feeling of social presence without actually being “present”. It will seem as if you are in another location, witnessing the same events at the same time as the person you’re communicating with.
You could potentially have the experience of being present in the room to sing Happy Birthday to a loved one when you are on the other side of the country. Important events can be witnessed in ways that have never before been possible.
Enhanced Learning Tools
Since the 1960s, Virtual Reality has been used by the military and medicine sectors for training and simulations. That is nearly 60 years of fine-tuning and advancing its technological abilities for practical application.
It has been found by such studies that VR replicates empirical findings in the physical world. People respond as they would in real life while in a Virtual Reality session. These findings further impressed the intuitive capabilities of a Virtual Reality simulation to be used in real world exercises and learning experiences.
Today, unlike the human battery slaves of the Matrix, we have the choice to participate and learn in computer simulated programs; and without all the deception. Unfortunately not to the degree as a Morpheus and Neo Kung Fu training session (not yet anyway).
In this respect, Virtual Reality has transformed education. It places people inside stories and experiences for more firsthand accounts. These experiments have found that VR reflects not only a person’s mental reaction while in the VR world, but can also modify attitudes and behaviors in the physical world. This suggests after the encounter is over, the subject is left with the sensory feelings that it actually happened.
Soldiers can be put in combat situations and learn how to adapt and react effectively. This simulated walk-through can help prepare the soldier to build necessary instincts to stay alive in the field.
In schools, VR can have their students taking virtual field trips; and without all the expensive travel and lodging expenses. Every student can be involved and enjoy the unique expedition.
It is not going to replace the real experience, but when costs play a major factor in such a trip, VR is a welcomed supplemental learning tool. Students can go spelunking, paragliding, visit a museum in Europe, or look over Niagra Falls all from the comfort of the classroom.
Experiential learning in Virtual Reality has given some interesting results by the students in the psychological community as well. Psychiatrists have leveraged VR to mitigate the negative effects of psychological trauma.
Therapeutic techniques become possible with the help of these sensory submersed computer programs.
This means that it will become possible to cure phobias in the digitally enhanced realm. People can face their fear of heights or conquer public speaking anxiety. Virtual Reality sessions can improve confidence and social skills.
If the capabilities of VR can reach the heights displayed in The Matrix movie, we’ve only just begun!
New Realms of Entertainment
Virtual Reality is of course popular to the gaming and entertainment world. Walking through your local shopping mall, there’s a good chance you’ll hear screams from its participants. Behind the over-sized goggles, the senses are being submerged in these realistic video feeds, haptic feedback, and stereo surround sounds.
Participants may be experiencing being on a roller coaster or going down a raging rapid river; via a mechanically active car or raft in the VR storefront. Psychological candid reactions are witnessed here outside of military and psychiatric training grounds…all in good fun!
Once you give it a try, it’s easy to see how fun this apex arcade experience can be. These VR rooms are growing in popularity, and becoming the next-gen playtime preference. The fast moving trend has led us not only to the mall, but into our houses as well! Virtual Reality gaming systems are gaining ground and are existing in many peoples homes.
Put down the remote and put on the headgear!! Enter another world from the comfort of home. Have you ever had a lucid dream? You may not be able to think scenarios into existence like you can with this wild conscious phenomena, but VR will play a great assistant to this possibility.
When it is finally paired with a Google Assistant App, all one will have to say is, “Hey Google, take me on an African Safari…” and, viola, adventure awaits!
At The VOID, in Las Vegas, NV, at the Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes, you can have a full walk-through experience. They’ve featured the ability to participate as a Ghostbuster, an Avenger, or even a character in Jumanji. Through this embodiment, one can experience the world as a different person. You can be the hero you’ve always dreamed about!
This next level VR experience allows you to be actively involved. Say goodbye to the passive looking around, and prepare for battle as you make your way through the completely immersive physical course! You and your friends, as you look at each other, will see that you have transformed into the characters of the chosen theme.
I’ve actually tried this one, as a Ghostbuster, and it was a blast! I recommend checking it out. It’s exciting to fathom what kind of next level Virtual Reality entertainment is next!
The Dark Side
Virtual Reality’s dark side is easy to see from the perspective of the entertainment world. Porn addiction is likely to increase with the advancements and realistic nature of VR. Counterproductive habits will likely increase as well. Virtual Reality addiction in game-form most certainly will occur.
Seeing kids playing outside may become even less common. As the years go on, and technology continues to advance, traditional human functions seem to dwindle. Undoubtedly there will be people who get lost living vicariously through the digital simulated encapsulation. They may lose touch with reality if their use is not regulated.
In addition, this can contribute to a dehumanization process.
New forms of torture could terrorize victims in new ways in the military sector. If the empirical findings can be used for improvement, they can be used in inhumane ways as well. The realistic nature of VR can affect the mind indefinitely in any fashion of experience; good or bad.
Just as exciting as it is to see the benefits of Virtual Reality, it is almost as equally scary to imagine the ways it can be used for deception, addiction, or harm.
Stay With The Times
Virtual Reality is important because it is changing our world. Not just in the way that we can artificially or digitally view it, but how we organically act within it. Lifestyles that include VR in a daily routine will become as commonplace as individuals walking with their faces in their phones.
With Virtual Reality, we’re about to be in for a wild ride! And we really won’t be going anywhere…
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– Mark G
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