Imagining Virtual Reality
I cannot help but imagine a (not-so-distant) future enthralled by the concept of virtual reality where it will become the most popular media channel for all of our technological entertainment. That is when the activity of playing video games, watching movies, and listening to music are going to finally be taken into the realms of true “experience”.
I can vividly imagine listening to a song under virtual reality hypnosis and finding myself in a forest surrounded by black water in total darkness and as soon as the thunderous beat of the music erupts two elongated dragons fly out of the liquid from both sides and criss-cross above my head turning the world into awe-striking colours as they fly along with the rhythm of the music. It is hard to believe that such an experience could ever be undertaken without complete epileptic goosebumps crawling against every inch of my skin, but yet again I am not part of that generation, at least not yet.
While I am excited by the prospect of experiencing such “episodes” I also foresee virtual reality having a foul taste in the world. I can imagine virtual reality becoming a tool used for living in a world other than that which we live in (assuming psychedelics are not cutting it). Many people will begin living more often in their imagination (and that of others) preferring it to whatever life they are leading in the real world.
I mostly worry about the people who will not be able to accept the death of a loved one. I can see business men profiting from the addiction of a widow to be with her husband or through the unbearable thought of a mother spending a day without seeing her son or daughter. Virtual reality will fill that gap by creating a world where a daughter, a father, or a significant other is still alive and well, computerized to do what the deceased usually did at the house and thus becoming “real” enough to see and speak to (touch would be the next step in the evolution of virtual reality). However, there are two sides to the coin, virtual reality could be used to help people move on with their lives by becoming able to see their loved ones one last time to say good-bye or apologise or unravel their darkest secrets face-to-face with their deceased loved ones and get their ever sought after affectionate reaction from them. I can imagine moments of closure occurring where touching words will be said such as “I accept you for who you are, and I love you” or a casual “Keep your chin up kid, and I’ll see ya later” or a casual “Don’t worry about it”. These simple statements could make all the difference in ones mentality to ignite the will to live on to the next chapter of their life.
As with every tool in life virtual reality will have its pros and cons in society and the outcome will depend on who and how the product is supplied and for what reasons. That is why the first phase of the virtual reality product that will kick us into the new generation of media interaction will be extremely vital in shaping the outcome of things to come in the distant (yet not so distant) future.