Category: Virtual Reality

Anti-Social / Lonely VR

Virtual Reality has been presumed as the next big thing in tech for some time. I’ve followed this for a few years now, and continue to be an advocate and enthusiast of its production, success and use as an artistic medium. However, I understand the problems that it faces. Firstly, I still dont have my own headset at home, but I did buy a suitable PC. That purchase alone will continue to haunt me for the foreseeable future, and I’m only half way to being able to truly consume the technology…. It’s too expensive. When you essentially need a mortgage to enjoy a new technology, maybe its not quite there yet as a commercial endeavour.

The next foul issue is the importance of social interaction in industry leading games and experiences. VR is immersive yet lonely. Most indie developers aren’t yet comfortable enough to produce realistic or believable people in VR. This means that most of the experimental experiences you can see are desolate. Some of the bigger productions, and 360 films do have this element, however, as talked about in a previous post, there is not yet a possibility of interaction. This interaction, that we experience from social media has the potential to bring a new lease of life to an industry that has seemed as if its going to explode for a few years now. Hopefully VRs failure from the 80s isn’t about to reproduce itself.

vrlonely-1200x630-cAntipossible that we can be selectively aware of those around us in a space such as a tube carriage? Really, we only need to know, when to get off, out the way, if someone is pick pocketing or groping us, or god forbid, there is a rampant killer on the loose (by this, I really mean any significant emergency). Other than that I’d be happy to watch a bit of Netflix or read a few articles on my commute into the city on a virtual beach, on a screen the size of a bus without having to bend my neck for prolonged periods of time.

society-6

Automated cars hope to feed off each others data. Potentially allowing a car to think again before taking a turn, as a message has passed through the cars, that a serious road accident ahead has just occurred that will create significant congestion. Another potential use of this information sharing, is keeping each car on the road aware of cyclists. Can our smartphones use such a system? Information sharing and Cybersecurity is a terrifying and sobering truth of the Digital age. Its prevalence could threaten the growth of our internet and technology use. For this sort of everyday information / awareness sharing to take place, we need to be more comfortable with the security that’s in place, and the horror stories of hacking will need to be fairy-tales of the past. Unfortunately the likelihood is that they’ll get worse the more we rely on the tech. Hypothetically, if everyday VR headsets were to become a thing, with a reactive system that pokes the user to avoid collision or other interactions in reality, we’re all one step further to becoming lonely cyborgs…

3065863-inline-i-3-elderly-vr
Part of me (the tech enthusiast) says bring on the everyday headset, the other part (an actual human being)  wants to restore my old Nokia and move to mid Wales. Realistically, VR may be too immersive and its use may be kept for very specific applications, experiences and industries. However, Augmented and Mixed Reality systems could provide the digital use we crave and the social IRL interaction we need as well as giving our necks a break. As mentioned from Portland, augmented reality isn’t even close yet but lets give its progression a chance. We might all be lonely otherwise. Happy Valentines Day +1.