Imagine a world where there is no need to move. Literally. A world where humans don’t need legs to walk and arms to pick things up. In this myopia, people interact solely through virtual worlds seen through headsets that mock the entire human experience. Is this plausible, realistic, or even okay?
Facebook, the great modern conqueror, has taken over the social world and unites users through the sharing of pictures, video, status updates, and messages. However, there is a new front…experience.
Last year, Facebook bought Oculus VR; a startup company that specializes in the assembly of virtual headsets through the use of visual and audio technology. They are striving to create a new domain, where, lets say, people can travel to China, walk around, meet people, visit the Great Wall, and eat virtual food. Through Facebook, friends would be able to share their worlds in a very realistic way. This would be the best thing next to actually being in China…
This environmental sharing would be highly interactive. Zuckerberg notes his future plans, “We’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.”
While virtual interaction may be a whiles down the road, for now Facebook is focusing on the sharing of a 360 degree “exotic experience.” They have even made several demos. In one, users would be able to experience what is like to be inside a helicopter cockpit. In another, they can visit the rural land of Mongolia.
The actual interaction between avatars is next. Several social media sites, including Second Life, have already created virtual worlds which are usually employed for gaming methods. This seems to be the only domain of social networks that Facebook has yet to take under it’s wing.
This article leaves me with mixed feelings. Yes, this is the future. I am left contemplating several ideas. Instead of face timing my momma in the US, a virtual headset would allow me to actually ‘go home.’ I would see my mom, living room, cats, and family in real time and space without actually being present. This actually would be pretty cool given the distance between us currently. However, I do not think it is particularly necessary.
On a more negative side, I could definitely see this thing blowing out of proportion. This virtual world literally takes away the need to move. Headsets would become more convenient than feet. It actually freaks me out… a lot.
The fact that technology is taking over personal interaction scares me. Today, teenagers and the millennial generation have grown up through screen to screen communication. My mother laments about the loss in the value of phone calls, ‘in person’ meetings, and relationships in general. Technology is making these things less and less convenient. While I am not anti-tech, I do think that personal values are something that should be preserved.
In the end, the human brain knows the difference between what is real and not. Have you ever seen the movie Inception? If not, after closing this browser you should definitely rent it. Technology is allowing us to create another world within our own.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr user Daniel Voyager