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If you could live in Halliday virtual world in 50 years, would you?
This Slogging thread by Mónica Freitas, Limarc Ambalina, and Connor C occurred in slogging's official #gaming channel, and has been edited for readability.
Hi, all. A hypothetical question here: do you think in 50 years we'll be able to live in a Halliday'ish (Ready Player One inspired) virtual world?
Great question Mónica! That depends. Are you talking about full-dive, 100% of all my senses are attached type of virtual reality (touch, taste, hearing, seeing, smelling)?
Or like the current state of virtual reality where we can strap on a headset and feel like we’re in another world, but you know…don’t actually have to feel the pain of getting hit when we’re playing a boxing game?
I'm thinking of a full emersion. A kind of virtual reality where we could work, shop and socialize in a simulacrum resembling real life, and be able to experience our avatar sensations. Maybe without the pain element attached.
Hey Mónica, not sure if this is open but thought I'd throw my thoughts in as it's an interesting point!
I think that with full emersion it will be interesting to see how long it will take to come around, and it'll be dependent on the market monopolization. If you look at streaming now, new platforms are joining and patenting features like 'intro skips' and etc, so it'd be really interesting to see how if companies like Epic, Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation continued market dominance how they would try and out-do each other to patent these new technologies, and how that could potentially hinder a true-to-life version of Halliday's world in RPO.
I also think that some recent developments with legal restraints to gameplay time in some places in the world will have an effect here, so one day your question might be less a technical issue and one of the individual liberties, and whether in fact you are allowed to live inside the game.
All Slogging posts are “open” Connor C thanks for sharing your thoughts!
So our technology in current mainstream VR is quite far from that. The full immersion would require tech that connects to our neural pathways for those sensations.
I take it we’re not talking about like.. a tight jumpsuit with haptic feedback, I take it we’re more talking about the deep-dive VR depicted in Sword Art Online, Ready Player One, The Matrix, what have you.
In that sense… I’m eagerly awaiting that day, but I think we’re quite far off. But maybe not as far off as some would think
To wager a guess, I’d point us to Kurzweil’s law of accelerating returns and his predictions on the exponential growth of technology. Here is an old image from Time Magazine that illustrates it:
Basically, 100 years ago we had no computers, 70 years ago they were the size of an entire room, 50 years ago they go from the size of a room to the size of a desktop pc we see today, 35-30 years ago we see the first laptops, 25 ish years ago we get cellphones, 5 ish years after that they get smaller and smaller and now cellphones can be as tiny as a large coin.
Time Magazine shows 2011 and beyond as “lead to singularity” which is super vague. It’s now 2021 and still no singularity.
Hey Connor. That is an interesting take. Do you think that after we've all been "forced" to turn our lives virtual due to the pandemic, it could be easier to approve socially immersive virtual reality by addressing it through the professional and education route? And maybe grow from there?
IMO, we went from room-sized computers to laptops in the span of about 35 years, then we went from laptops to smartphones in about 15 years, and today if we really wanted to we can have a phone the size of a large coin: https://www.amazon.com/Zanco-Worlds-Smallest-Measuring-46-7mmx/dp/B07VPMFTHF
When will we go from that to having computers in our brains or at least tech that can access our neural pathways? I would reckon it is already possible, but tested and ready for commercial use? At least another 10 years.
I’d throw the question back to you and Connor C and ask even if it were possible, would you do it?
I agree. Technologically speaking, I think we could pull it off. It's 2021, and we're doing tourism in space! I think it would be a matter of challenging our perception of what life is. It would be a big contrast between how it has always been and how it could be, and there could be a lot of resistance.
I think that in an ideal world I'd jump right in, I'd definitely enjoy the immersion, but I think that first I'd have to be more confident in the brand I choose to allow that access to my life, I'm skeptical at the stage we're at now with the access multiple institutions have into my life and I do have concerns about how this would function once the neural link is possible and corporations that function primarily to make maximum gains have access to how I feel.
TL:DR - for the fun yes definitely, for my privacy maybe not.
Mónica Freitas, I think you're right in that it seems that the pandemic has given companies the opportunity to try entirely virtual places, which may make it easier to get people into these virtual environments when they arrive, but I'm thinking rather than how much will we be forced to use it, how will it be limited?
It's interesting from a geopolitical point of view I think as a perfect virtual reality could encompass all people of the world, but it's unlikely it'll be created by a worldwide entity and would more likely come from either a massive corporation or a nation/coalition of nations, and obviously if successful then a certain amount of power will be attributed to whoever owns the virtual reality.
Facebook is still effectively a web page, but just look at the implications it's had in so many major political moments in the last few years, so I think when it comes to virtual reality it will be a case of what level of access will we have to virtual worlds, and how much power will they hold over the old real world. (Went on a bit there, this point has so much context though!)
Connor C I wasn’t even thinking about the aspect of “Access to my life” 😮 I was more thinking like…is that the utopia we want or will it easily become a dystopia that is often portrayed in Sci-fi?
Connor C Limarc Ambalina I had not even considered the dangers of having a massive corporation or a nation using it for economic, political or social leverage, but it is a very probable usage. Not to mention having our data, even biometrical, sold or shared without consent, which could also be a reality.
I do think that we're gradually adapting and accepting technology that once belonged only to Sci-fi narratives: advanced artificial intelligence, new space explorations, holograms. With each new development, as a society, we're getting less resistant to those changes, so I'm not sure if the general public would oppose including VR in their everyday life. Though, it would be a race of interests between corporations and nations to detain that influence.
Mónica Freitas Limarc Ambalina I'm with Mónica, I think it's probable that it would quickly stray over into a kind of sci-fi dystopia. I definitely know what you mean with the acceptance of technological developments, but I do think that because the experience of this kind of technology is tied to the reality of the user, it might be viewed differently to the new space race and hologram technology due to the personal nature of it? I mean, VR is not a completely personal experience yet and you've got the case of Jang Ji-sung which I found quite dystopian, though worth noting that she said she enjoyed the experience and it helped her get closure, so I might just be one of the worriers!
You're probably right, regardless of these concerns there would probably be a massive uptake across the generations if/when the technology came around in the future, I just think it's hard to imagine when I'm still explaining to my parents how to use Gmail!
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