Blurring the Lines between Real world and Virtual World. How Soon?
What do the movies in 90's like Lawnmover Man, The Matrix, Brainscan remind you? In the early ‘90s, it seemed that we were at a cusp of breakthrough technology where decades of science fiction derived from inspirations of Bradbury and William Gibson into a virtual world that promised us a land of ubiquity and teleport us to digital realms more colorful, thrilling and exciting than our own “Real World”.
The mesmerizing power of this technology was very powerful and it did caught media attention near the start of the decade. By wearing a cumbersome helmet or HMD (Head Mounted Display) with a joystick, you could be teleported into a virtual world where you could play games with dinosaurs and zombies.
This nascent technology started to capture the imaginations of writers, film makers and gave birth to movies like The Matrix Trilogy which seemed to twist or warp our concept of understanding the world around us and how to manipulate this. This was powerful. It is like democratizing the power to every individual on the planet with unlimited resources. This was not just a new world, it was a Dream World that everyone could build and exist in.
During this developmental stage, there were several startups like Second Life (mostly focused on capturing attention of people in virtual worlds), IMVU got started trying to warp our reality and perspective of real world.In the past couple of years, virtual reality in grabbing headlines again with devices like Oculus Rift, Project Morpheus, HoloLens either available to buy now or coming out in near future.
We are currently living in virtual worlds (Kind of)
Virtual world allow us to break the rules of representation and social interaction. Like in real world you can have eye contact with 1 person at a time but in virtual world you could do that with everyone.We like to believe that Virtual Reality and Virtual World are these new immersive experiences enabled by a disruptive technology which will have its own Technology Adoption Curve. However, we have been living in Virtual World spaces since a long time. We are in a state of denial. If you have ever been a user of Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram you are part of these universally fragmented virtual worlds. These are like Smaller Galaxies in your Milky way which have parallel universes and parallel lives.
Virtual community is a group of people who may or may not meet each other face to face and who exchanges words and ideas through the mediation of computer networks. In these virtual worlds, we chat and argue, engage in intellectual discourse, perform acts of commerce, exchange knowledge, share emotional support, make plans, brainstorm, gossip, feud, fall in love, find friends, play games, flirt and do a lot of idle talk. We do everything people do when people get together, but we do it with words on computer screens leaving our bodies behind.
The advancement of virtual worlds to include avatars and other forms of content spawned a desire for forms of interaction or well-being in the synthetic materiality of the world.
Transition from Real world to Virtual World
Humans by nature are social animals, everything that we do including action, agreement, disagreement are driven by social behaviors and heavily influenced by how our tribe thinks and feels. With the explosion of internet and mobile related universe we have become a global tribe. We interact with global audience on a daily basis and feel more empowered with the connected world. The virtual worlds of Twitter and Facebook have transported us into these universes where we express our thoughts to global audience. Internet gives a power to truly democratize power of Kings and Rulers of nation.
With so much power in hand, where are we going next? Does this mean, we as humans have an inner desire to be in virtual world all the time where the power is limitless and imagination is boundless?
Reminds you of Inception huh? Will there be a time in future, where humans as social animals will decline face2face meetings and gatherings as virtual worlds become more powerful and ubiquitous.
I believe so.
The time is not far when the power of virtual world will force us to stay in virtual worlds and behave in the most natural way possible without the need to be involved in real world face to face interations.
That time is not far and technology is even closer.
Virtual worlds are the future.. Closer than ever
With the advent of this virtual world, challenges will follow. However it is very easy to understand the implications of this human need which co-insides with most basic need to humans i.e to be social. In this scenario , it just wont be Real world. It would be all virtual enabled by devices that control the eco system. The Lawnmover Man and Disclosure or The Matrix may just be the right way for us humans to interact socially in the Future.