Recently, I have seen a lot of articles about the pitfalls and dangers of virtual reality (VR). According to some, VR will be addictive, will encourage anti-social (or deviant) behavior, and could cause death. With all of this fear mongering, I thought I should balance it out with a little hope mongering.
10. VR will improve our ability to communicate. Much is lost over the phone, email, and even video. VR offers the closest substitute to our most natural method of communication.
9. With communication drastically improved, there will be less of a need to commute to work or meetings. This will reduce pollution and time wasted in traffic.
8. Our minds are finely attuned to 3D data, and VR offers a new way to tap into this innate capability. VR therapy has already been shown to be effective in treating a variety of phobias and anxieties.
7. VR will revolutionize education. Professors will be able to share virtual experiences with their students or teach class virtually.
6. VR will drive innovation. Being able to innovate within highly-realistic virtual environments will allow for quicker iterations and much more experimentation.
5. VR will eliminate physical barriers. Teleportation has long been a dream of mankind, and with VR, we are coming as close as we physically (or mentally?) can.
4. Improving communication and eliminating physical barriers leads to the elimination of cultural barriers. Imagine being able to sit in your neighbor's living room, halfway across the globe. We're all neighbors in VR.
3. This degree of closeness will drive global charity. Sharing experiences is much more powerful than sharing information.
2. VR will promote justice. Injustice will not be able to hide behind propaganda and misinformation when the actual experiences are being shared.
1. VR will make the world a closer place.
Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, summed it up nicely: "Virtual reality is like uranium. You can heat homes and you can destroy nations. It's up to us to choose..."
What are you going to choose?