There is no doubt in my mind. AR and VR are hotspots, with an immense amount of applications, starting with gaming, sales, marketing, training and instruction. But it also has a long way to go. The technology definitely was not as sophisticated as I expected it to be. It is all still too clunky. The 6Ds will take care of that soon and then all gloves (literally) are off.
Emotion always wins
The sensation of “being there,” wherever the program you are running takes you, is what researchers call psychological presence, and it is the fundamental characteristic of VR. That is why it will get to experience on demand. It will become (and in some cases it already is), emotional immersion. The users’ brains are treating the experience they are having as psychologically real, they are physiologically aroused in a way that is similar to what occurs during a real experience. Making VR far more psychologically powerful than any medium ever invented.
Jeremy Bailenson thinks that VR can be applied to make us better people, more empathetic, more aware of the fragility of the environment, and more productive at work. VR is going to improve the quality and reach of education, and open up the world for people who can’t afford to travel, transporting users to the tops of mountains, or into Earth’s orbit, or into a calming oceanside setting at the end of a long day. It will also create widespread addiction to seductive fantasy worlds, pornography, and video games.
VR will be transformative
There is no doubt in my mind. VR is going to transform our lives dramatically and that it will utterly change how we interact with the (real) world around us, and with other people. Because persuasive simulation can fool your senses, make you believe and has an emotional impact. VR will become an experience generator in anything imaginable.
Imagine the experience
At its basics, imagine what it will do with business meetings. You can become truly location independent. Work from anywhere. Second life will be back with a bang. Second life is back with a bang. But imagine:
- Imagine what you can do with VR on topics such are climate change, pollution (once you have followed plastic along the value chain and see its impact and effects in VR, you will never be the same), immigration, war, health, food, etc.
- Imagine what you can do with training, instruction, behaviour and sports. Imagine learning martial arts or Tai Chi in VR.
- Imagine a VR version of the Khan Academy, democratising learning and training more and more. University VR.
- Imagine physical therapy in VR.
- Imagine what is already doing for the military.
- Imagine what companies are imaging to make workers more productive and consistent.
- Imagine working as a team in VR.
- Imagine collective design in VR.
- Imagine customer feedback in VR.
- Imagine flow in VR.
- Imagine what you could do in (mental) health, biofeedback, quantified self.
- Imagine meditation in VR.
- Imagine virtual LSD.
- Imagine VR and 3D printing
- Imagine what you will do with presenting and dealing with complex information. You literally can become the molecule.
- Imagine what it will do in education.
- Imagine VR and social media. The VR versions of fake news. Journalism and VR.
- Imagine a combination of VR and robotics. Inwards and outwards.
- Imagine social VR.
- Imagine VR as an empathy machine, where people share their experiences. Imagine empathy at scale. Imagine VR creating the “overview effect.”
The combination of VR with neuroscience, biology, AI, machine learning, quantum computing, bandwidth, data storage will take care of all the issue with tracking, rendering, and display. At exponential rate.
If it is good enough for them
Organisations like the military, hospitals, Red Bull, Wal-Mart, Arizona Cardinals, IKEA, Facebook, Google, Apple, Coca-Cola, American Express, Nike, Samsung, Sony, Audi, Washington Post. It is already used for pain therapy, tourism, real estate, architecture, treating PTSD and dealing with phantom limbs.
It could get very dark…… A VR version of 1984. Because with VR everything can and will be measured. Including emotional impact. Leaving it wide open for manipulation. Imagine a combination of big data, VR, neuroscience and selling. Imagine a VR version of the filter bubble.
Real life is better
However, what most people as the most amazing moment in VR as the moment when you take the HMD off and are flooded with the full gamut of subtle sensory inputs that VR can’t capture. Such as fine gradations of light, smells, the sensation of air moving on your skin, the weight and torque of the headset in your hand. Our bodies are incredibly sophisticated. Which shows you how sophisticated nature. We should take care of it better.
I think we will. Every action has a reaction. I think VR will help us to become more mindful. As I said before when reviewing “Stealing fire” and “The science of selling”, I am expecting a race between manipulation and mindfulness. Mindfulness will win. It has to.