Imagine somebody from the 17th century getting into our today’s world. That poor guy would be sure that people have finally discovered the magical powers and started using them every day. We fly, we see and talk to people who are thousands of kilometers away. We control phantom creatures, make them achieve things, kill ogres, die, and resurrect. We create parallel worlds which have upgraded from the 2D dimension to 3D, and, probably, very soon, these worlds will be as essential and tangible as the physical ones.
Why is VR good for the world?
Someone said that “VR hits on so many levels. It’s a real out-of-body experience, and yet completely grounded in your body.” It is true, and thanks to this VR feature, the technology is beneficial to more down-to-earth areas, far beyond entertainment and entertainment only.
Yes, the first industry that comes to mind where VR can blossom to its fullest is gaming. However, it stopped being about just gaming a long time ago. It has also found a way into online gambling, for example.
There are several slots available for VR gambling: Gonzo’s Quest, an online slot by NetEnt, is the most famous of them. It is an adventure story of a conquistador in an ancient Mayan city. You can play the game for free or for real money at most licensed online casinos and even look for the platforms with more advantageous terms like Australian online casino no deposit bonus or welcome Free Spins.
Education and training
VR can make a learning process many times more efficient, entertaining, and different from what we are all used to and kinda tired of.
Just look at what Google expeditions are capable of when teachers use them in the classrooms of elementary schools. Kids have a chance to take a field trip to, let’s say, the surface of the Moon, walk on the frozen lands of the Antarctic, dive into the deepest lake on the planet – the Baikal, and so on. Even if it’s virtual reality, how great an experience is it? And how valuable and different from the boring classic educating process! We, adults, all wish we’d had lessons like that.
Let’s go a little further: from elementary school to professional training. There are already examples of VR simulators proving to be as effective as training on expensive machinery. For instance, air forces use this approach widely, as well as doctors practicing complex, rare operations. One surgeon used scans of a baby’s heart to recreate the organ in virtual reality. He had never done this kind of operation before and was extremely anxious about doing it on a baby. So, he planned the whole procedure and practiced in advance to succeed in the physical operating room later on. One more fat point to VR. It has some rock-solid advantages, hands down.
Sales and business
VR technologies can add up to all the impressive perks the Internet has gifted us with. It can make telecommuting, workshops, business meetings, presentations, and international collaboration even more efficient than working face-to-face, saving more time and space. Imagine car designing companies presenting their new work to all the international partners online and not losing out on the visual demonstration.
Some businesses have already started applying VR to bring their sales and customer engagement to a new level. Adventure parks and hotels offer their potential clients an opportunity to check what to expect from their rollercoasters and King-size beds in virtual reality before buying the product.
And as for the ‘serious’ businesses, oil extraction companies use VR data visualization to know exactly where to build the wells. Effective, safe, fast, cutting costs… What else to dream of?
Therapy and justice
VR technologies have been proving themselves to be a valuable asset to physical therapy, treatment for phobias, and psychological traumas. A person can enter a challenging situation recreated in Virtual Reality and learn how to deal with it step by step. By applying VR, professionals can help you cope with childhood traumas, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and autism.
VR can (and already has been doing it, by the way) find applications in forensics. All the documented data, photo and video footage collected and visualized with the help of VR technologies will help recreate crime scenes and be interpreted through the eyes of witnesses, suspects, and victims, helping during the investigation and deciding on a final sentence at the courtroom. Plus, the unsolved cases of the past can be reconstructed years later after the incident.
What can go wrong?
We don’t believe in the black-and-white world, where Pure Evil sits on one side of the throne room, and Pure Virtue – on the other. All the technological advances, as well as any other change we experience come with advantages and disadvantages. So, in this part of our VR essay, we are going to point out the features of VR that, in our personal opinion, can raise some debates and bring out unsettling consequences.
Just like any enjoyable and absorbing activity (video gaming, gambling, smoking, eating sugar…), the VR world certainly has the potential to be addictive, which can easily lead to social isolation, and as a consequence a broken vision of reality and losing connection to the physical world. But with VR the impact can be deeper than with video games, as people are much more immersed in the world that looks too similar to the familiar reality.
Visualization is a strong feature of VR. We can travel the world without leaving our couch and escape our routine into a fascinating movie plot, more immersible with VR glasses than ever. Yes, tourist attractions need a break from crowds of travel enthusiasts, and the ecology may only win if we all opt for sightseeing from home. But won’t it cause even greater separation from the physical world?
Speaking of desensitization, have you noticed what VR has already been doing to our intimate life? Although VR porn is not a recent invention, it was the Covid-19 lockdown that stirred a tide of interest in such a technological application. Plus, the professionals are working hard on implementing AR (augmented reality) into adult industries. With it, you will be able to put yourself in a parallel universe where you can function to the fullest – communicate and build connections, find and choose potential partners, spend time with them and make it a more humanized experience. The Black Mirror episode (episode 1, season 5) called Striking Vipers touches on that exact topic if you are interested to see what might come out of all that.
Shouldn’t we know how to let go?
Several companies in different countries started talking about digital resurrection several years ago. In South Korea, a woman called Jang JiSung already had a chance to experience what it means. The experiment got her to communicate with a deceased daughter NaYeon, while the emotional meeting was filmed (and can be found online).
“When a user decides to keep his counterpart active for eternity, he will have the extension of himself alive forever,” comments a Portuguese developer Henrique Jorge on applying VR to speaking with the Dead. The experiment does look like an outstanding technological breakthrough, not to say how emotional it feels. The only question we have is whether we will ever be able to let go of things if we keep the development and choose to enhance it? The skill of saying goodbye seems to be crucial for maintaining a healthy human mind, doesn’t it?
It is all great when businesses and huge industries are involved – VR really makes their work process easier and more accurate. But what happens when it enters the field of human emotions and interactions? We are already too attached to our mobile phones, walking around looking at their screens instead of marveling at the unexpected color of today’s sky. With VR able to construct an entire new reality out of nothing, making it awfully realistic, and its other superpowers the future might be still hiding from us, aren’t we going to totally lose ourselves in it? Won’t it detach us from the physical world and human connections completely?
Do we really want to experience everything without really experiencing it?