I read an article in the Associated Press the other day about Virtual Reality. Ever since I was a kid, I think, I’ve always wanted to have a virtual reality device. When I was much younger, I had “Virtual Reality World Ninja Game,” and I still played the thing despite tormenting my eyes. It barely worked. Sometimes, my ninja stars would throw; sometimes not. I didn’t really care. I played anyway. I had virtual reality.
But now we don’t have to use our imaginations (our truest virtual reality, right?) to experience the next big thing in gaming.
Just envision: You’re storming the beach of Normandy (not feeling the pain); you’re drift racing cars with the big dogs in Tokyo; you’re face-to-face with a celebrity you adore; you’re jamming with the band. The possibilities are endless.
Like previous incarnations of this dream, the California-based Oculus VR company created a headset that covers your eyes. The Oculus Rift may be released as early as next year.
I believe this device is a sign of things to come. The next step will be getting rid of the headset altogether and directly relating all senses to the brain (think “The Matrix”).
At the risk of rendering our population functionally useless due to the distraction, I think virtual reality would be America’s next favorite pastime. There might be digital realms meant specifically for what you want: fighting in a certain time period, practicing certain professions, exploring locations we couldn’t ever physically go (like outer space or the microbial world), etc. There could be a “Second Life”-like world that acts like a hub to other destinations. There could even be digital brothels. (Imagine how that would affect sexually transmitted diseases and rape).
This all leads to the age-old philosophical conundrum of what is reality. Is reality not consciousness’s amalgamation of information coming into our brains? Is it possible that, in the future—with technology so much improved—that we might decide we like reality better as virtual?