In Yuval Noah Harari’s masterpiece “Sapiens”, he describes agricultural revolution and myths as things that made us who we are. He also proclaims that gossips are what that made us into the social beings from the nomadic foragers of yore. I said this to make it clear that at all times during our rather short 50-60 thousand year history as “two legged” monkey’s, there have been revolutions that changed the perspective of the whole of humanity. In recent times, we have things like iPhone, which altered our perception of a mobile phone and started the smartphone era. Virtual Reality is shaping up to be something that we can talk about in the same breath. Let’s take a look at how this interesting take on reality can impact our lives going forward.
Imagine a world in which you can attend and interact with your classmates from the comfort of your couch; or being able to see complex structures and interact with them as if they were really present; or being able to visit the Grand Canyon and study its soil structure from your classroom.
Recently, a team of scientists and students used VR to model a Calabi-Yau manifolds. They are complex 4-D structures that lie at the very core of atoms. Microsoft at their build showed that VR is incredibly effective in helping the children to learn through interaction. These are all glimpses into the classrooms of tomorrow and many more is in the works.
Even if you are a surgeon with years of experience, it is still a nightmare to do a major surgery.
What if you can do that surgery in all its details without even touching the patient?
With the advanced imaging techniques combined with VR, all this and a lot more is made possible. More and more companies and hospitals are tying up to make this happen and give us the best possible treatment. Students can get a much more in-depth look at the human anatomy and surgical procedures using VR. They can practice to their heart’s content on virtual subjects. A patient in need can have a doctor visiting them in person at their home and giving treatment. This can force such a paradigm shift in the field of healthcare, especially in third world countries.
Creation and consumption of content will change drastically.
Companies are increasingly preferring more immersive experiences than static websites. Most media giants are looking for way to more and more VR content to their customers.
Gaming has always been a strong suit of VR and a whole host of games are getting re imagined to fit this alternate reality. Cirque De Solei is using Microsoft HoloLens to design their stages and performances virtually rather than having to do the trial and error method, which in this case will be disastrously expensive.
Ever imagined being able to touch and feel things and see how they will fit while shopping online?
Amazon prime wardrobe will help you with that to a certain extent, but VR can completely alter our online shopping experience.
It will enable you to try and test whatever you want to buy (except perishables) and weigh the pro’s and cons before taking the plunge. You can try them on see yourself in a mirror and then decide if it is for you or not.
Suppose you are a multi-billionaire who is planning to build a luxurious resort. How incredible will it be to walk through your dream creation even before the first brick has been placed?
Virtual Reality can create life sized models of any structure to the last detail. This takes away the need to be constantly on the lookout for mistakes and making modifications, which in turn reduces the bills considerably.
Facebook revealed that they are experimenting with something known as Spaces, which is Facebook re-imagined for VR.
These technologies gives the word “connected” a whole new perspective. Imagine sitting next to your fiancée who is thousands of miles away from the coziness of your bedroom. You can interact and converse with loved ones, no matter where they are and in a much more immersive way than using video calls.
I can go on and on about VR. But, wrapping it up…
Wrapping my article up, I say that VR and other alternate reality technologies will make for the next revolution in computing. They will have a discernible effect in the way we consume, create and interact in our lives. All this means that we will get increasingly lazy, the amount of physical activity that we do will go down. Our ability to distinguish between real and virtual may also diminish. We are looking at a complete rethinking of what it means to be humans. It may turn out to be hell or heaven.
Let’s wait and see, also enjoying the ride while doing so.