Virtual reality - the dawn of the Experiential Age

Humans are social creatures. Initially driven by more primal urges, our ability to communicate has evolved far beyond using the right grunt to attract a mate.

A Brief History

Scientists still debate the origin and timing of symbolic language, but it evolved some 200,000 to 2 million years ago, sparking the Age of Orality. Around 50,000 years ago we were painting on cave walls, and about 9,000 years ago we started experimenting with symbolic writing, leading to the Age of Writing roughly 5,000 years ago. When Gutenberg created the movable type printing press 575 years ago, he helped shift the world to the Age of Print. Next was the Industrial Age, about 250 years ago, which introduced various communications technologies such as photography, Morse code, the typewriter, television, and the telephone. About 50 years ago we shifted to the Information Age with the advent of the internet, email, and mobile phone technologies.

Exponential Speed

When looking at the history of human communications evolution, the breakneck pace is almost unbelievable. We existed for 4 to 5.8 million years before the Age of Orality. From there, it took 195,000 to 2 million years to advance to the Age of Writing. 4,500 years later, we shifted to the Age of Print. 325 years later came the Industrial Age, and only 200 years after that was the Information Age. If history is any indication, we are primed for the next age.

The Experiential Age  

Virtual reality (VR) is the evolution we have been waiting for - a drastic disruption in communications technology. VR allows for the direct transmission of experiences, not just information. People have always wanted to be able to share their experiences with each other but have been limited to relaying information about the experience through words, pictures, or videos.

Experience it

Do you want to feel the difference between VR and video? Think of a time you rode a roller-coaster. Remember it from your perspective. Hear the track click as you climb to the top before the cart abruptly drops. Now think of the same experience, but this time view yourself riding the roller-coaster from a distance. Did it feel the same?

 

Thank you for reading; please reach out to me at phil@virt.mobi with any questions or start a discussion.

 

Sources:

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jep/3336451.0009.201?view=text;rgn=main

https://www.atlassian.com/communication-through-the-ages-infographic

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2cHumanevop2.shtml