Listen… I think it’s safe to say that most of us are terrified of the virtual reality future that’s coming for us.
Is this a rational fear? Probably. Most rational people fear change to some degree. And living in a VR world is a big change.
But us humans have been wrong before.
Back in the day, people thought that trains would asphyxiate humans due to the breakneck speed of 20 MPH at which they travelled. Now we fly around in the sky like birds at 10 times that speed.
We also thought that streetlights would “destroy our concept of day and night”. But here we are, still differentiating the night from the day all these years later.
Point is, “technopanic” has been around as long as technology, and it’s okay to be cautiously afraid. But the virtual reality future is becoming less of a future and more of a present.
Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities that might arise, good and bad, along with the rise of VR.
When you really give it thought, there are endless possibilities for VR to improve our existence.
To some extent, VR may remove the spatial and temporal boundaries of everyday life. As the technology becomes more affordable, it could open up opportunities for the many to experience what only a few have been able to in the past.
Imagine walking along the Sahara, or rowing down the Amazon, or climbing K-2. All of these things could be possible for the average person in the virtual reality future. Hell, maybe you could even go deep sea diving or mine for undiscovered minerals on Mars.
Education and Job Training
There’s no doubt that VR could help us educate and train all people, young and old.
An immersive learning experience in the classroom would be invaluable, and VR lessons are already available to us today. On one hand, we could more accurately direct young people into their desired careers at a younger age by giving them virtual experiences.
On another hand, we could teach our children to have empathy by placing them in the experience of other children on the other side of the world. Immersing young people in different cultural experiences could help prevent conflicts in the distant future.
There aren’t just two hands, though. For dangerous occupations, training could be done in the virtual world to prevent accidents in the workplace.
The future of virtual reality may, in addition, help advance medicine.
Think of the many potential benefits to doctors in training. Having the resources to perform countless types of surgery without using cadavers or fake models would allow for more experimental surgeries in the treatment of deadly diseases down the road.
Or think of people who are unable to experience a high standard of living for whatever reason. VR could take them away and put them, even for a small period of time, in a more favorable situation. Again, exploration and experiences are so valuable for those that aren’t fortunate enough to have them in the real world.
Have you been thinking of moving? Maybe moving across the world?
With VR you could take a walk through your potential house before buying it. Feel the light come through the bay windows in the morning, or look at the moon from the patio at night.
If you wanted to move to Ireland for instance, you could go walk the streets of your new neighborhood in Dublin or even take a trip to the nearest grocery store or pub.
Online shopping is great, but sometimes you order a product and have to hope that it’s actually what you wanted. Maybe you are shopping for HP servers to maximize your VR potential. This new world would allow you to examine products before you put your credit card number down, saving you time and money.
Now that we’ve talked about the potential benefits of VR, its time to think about how these positives can be weighed down. Let’s get “Black Mirror” on this thing.
How much time do you spend staring at Facebook or Instagram? For most young, and some older people, it’s a helluva lot. So it’s not hard to foresee that once VR is perfected, that we might go a little overboard with it.
The average person currently spends more than 5 years of their life on social media. If that seems like a lot, that’s because it is. With the endless possibilities that social media companies could take advantage of with VR, that could compound quickly.
The End of Human Relationships
If you had the opportunity to have the perfect partner, would you take it?
It’s probable that no two humans are perfectly compatible. There will always be someone that is more attractive, more intelligent, funnier, and more interesting out there.
What’s scary is that in the virtual reality future, finding the perfect person for you may actually be possible.
VR could end romantic and platonic relationships as we know them. If that did happen, there’s a rather large rabbit hole to go down to figure out what would happen to our species.
The world of gaming has made incredible progress over the last 30 years, and it will probably be the first on the scene to the VR boom.
Losing oneself in a game is not a new trend, but with VR gaming could replace reality altogether for some people.
Why spend your time in the boring, monotonous world that you’ve grown accustomed to when you could spend it saving the world from an alien invader? Or creating an empire for yourself in a fantastical parallel universe?
The Uncertain Virtual Reality Future
The fact of the matter is, any of these outcomes are possible.
If that excites you, it should. If it frightens you, it should.
We won’t know if the virtual reality future will enhance humanity or destroy it until it happens.
What we do know is that technology has been advancing (to many people’s chagrin) for millennia, and we’re still here weighing the pros and cons of the next big thing. We should be okay for now.
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