Seemingly out of nowhere, people start to define borders, categorize them, think in categories and at some point, forget it was them who invented the borders to begin with. Of course, it’s impossible to not to, as this categorization is a neural optimization phenomena allowing for more effective survival.
The downside of coining “Augmented“ and “Virtual“ reality comes with a suggestion they are actually two very different things. The difference is technically obvious: one let’s you see your environment, the other is a mix of your “real” surroundings with the virtual. Technological progress is already pulling each element closer together. Let's fast forward to a potential future scenario.
Pushing it to the extreme is the video “I spent a week in a VR headset, then this happened“ by Disrupt on Youtube; a one-week human experiment portraying what it would be like to live in virtual reality 24/7. The test person spent 7 days non-stop in virtual reality in his apartment with all windows covered, showering, sleeping, working, eating and exercising in VR.
Noticeably, the physical removal of space will never be able to happen. Humans are tied to their bodies, they have an organic power plant to provide brain and body with energy. At the bare minimum, our bodies require movement, exercise, showering and going to the bathroom. The experiment showed that the tester still had to navigate his environment, which meant the Oculus GO environmental sensors had to be able to help him reach for objects (a cup of water) and walk around without bumping into anything.
One can understand the intensity between virtual reality and reality better when displayed on a scale than as two disparate entities:
Every tool finds its unique niche until it becomes replaced by an even more specific tool. The mobile phone found a unique niche in the mobility setting.
The AR headset will find its unique niche partially where mobile phones are currently used, partially where desktop computers are currently used and partially where nothing is currently used – but only where there can be a proven benefit towards intended goals.
The VR headset will find its unique niche partially where mobile phones are currently used, partially where desktop computers are currently used and partially where nothing is currently used – but only where there can be a proven benefit towards intended goals.
The cake is either split up between existing tools or by capturing the remaining area where no tools are used. Capturing remaining areas should not be confused with capturing unused territory on Mars – every addition of virtual reality in our lives is a substitution of nature.
The final organic area might be the brain computer interface powered virtuality, where its definition is not marked by what it can add to the senses, but rather by its reality-sensing suppression capabilities.
Quite possibly, the unspoken grand plan of man is not to live in culture, but to become a cultural object himself.
Last Edited on April 25, 2019, 8:00 PM . Published by Daniel Seiler, edited by Camilla Burchill