Digital Artefact: Virtual reality (final)

Responding to feedback:

I received some comments on my blogs which were open to the public. They were interested in the tech mind-control system of Virtual Reality(VR). I was also given more resources to read about from my classmates. Virtual reality could be a microscope for the mind, and an electronic tool for expanding human consciousness. This could completely redefine the nature of human- computer and human-human interaction. As of now, virtual reality is something that requires us to use our senses to navigate through and interact with the data given to us in a headset. According to Smith, the user becomes part of the computer, “existing inside an information landscape that exists only inside the computer.”

The expectations for VR, like with artificial intelligence(AI) is high. We expect their technology to be as advanced as the ones from movies and novels. The technology is still in its infancy period, but in due time with enough research, investments, and interest. They will reach our expectations. For now, it is only a matter of time. Virtual reality as a concept, changes and evolves constantly. The interest towards VR is growing with scientific journals, newsletter, content creators dedicated to this subject. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT), NASA, and the biggest tech companies including video game companies are all devoted to VR research. Several Japanese companies are also collaborating in building a massive research facility just outside Kyoto, and a large portion of it will be dedicated to VR technology.

Although we have been seeing a lot of advancements in VR tech in recent years, people have been working on VR for the past 25 years (Furness). This just proves how demanding this technology really is. A lot of people have been working on this for so long, and more people can be expected to contribute to its development. It could become a life-changing technology for us in the coming future.

One of the very first recorded usage of VR tech can be seen in flight simulation in the early 70s. They started building a helmet (Darth Vader helmet) in which they could communicate with it using speech and eye positions. The invention was greater than their expectations for it. Instead of looking at a simple picture, they were looking at a computer-generated place with a wide field of view; an interactive display; and a stereo image. It was incredibly immersive as if they had taken a dive in the world. And it paved the way for spatial senses to be used with the computer, linking our minds with it. The impact of virtual reality will be as big as telephones (Tinker). 

From the official website of NextMind, we can see how it works: the image we see(normally a shape that is displayed by the game) is projected onto our visual cortex, and then translated by the device. They promise to identify the image “real-time” but we have not come that far yet. However, this still is a new product and we can expect to see improvements in reading speed in the coming future. The reader can also sense how much focus we are exerting on a certain spot or image. Although games with this device is limited right now due to the limited functions, this is an interesting invention for the advancement of VR gaming.

Predicting the future:

  • 2026 – 5 years from now, we will see more VR games having a boost with its catalogue increasing with older games being able to be played in VR(VR support for older games). And developers will follow in the step of Half-Life: Alyx. More games will be created for the VR market. Technology such as the haptic suit and treadmills will become more accessible to the public.
  • 2031 – 10 years from now, streamers will switch from streaming traditional games to VR games as more games will support the VR system. VR will introduce VR worlds where people can hang out and play games with other people(an extension of VRchat, but with more possibilities). VR Multiplayer online role-playing games will also be created by fans and people who will take advantage of its hype and demand. VR mind technology will keep developing until we will not have to move our bodies to play games, there will be a large injection of players from the disabled community in the virtual world.
  • 2046 – 25 years from now, the world will face a huge problem with people opting to live their lives in the real world. There will be a trend of mass immigration into the virtual world. World governments will start to become debilitated with the loss of activity in the economy but AI and robots will lessen the blow of the inactivity of humans. The world government will try to ban VR technology to no avail. Lethargy of the population having no incentive to work due to AI taking over everything. VR tech will have to be open and the world governments will start thinking about a way to sustain human life in VR with AI taking care of all of us. Even possibly transferring our consciousness into the virtual worlds.
  • 2071 – 50 years from now, the last of the human population has been successfully transferred into the virtual world. There have been millions of people choosing not to be transferred when their time is up as well. Humans have stopped procreating, marking the end of human life on Earth. Humans have become a digitalized race, protected by AI who become the caretakers of Earth. AI, with the vast amount of knowledge gained throughout the years, will be in charge of keeping the systems running and developing new content in the virtual worlds. Earth will continue on like this until the death of the Sun. In the meantime, AI will be trying to find a safe planet in the Universe to relocate with the VR system and continue the history of the new digitized race: the humans.

Reference:

NextMind. (n.d.). NextMind. [online] Available at: https://www.next-mind.com/.

Virtual Reality. (1992). The Journal of Epsilon Pi Tau, [online] 18(2), pp.2–7. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43603590

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