Tuesday, March 3, 2009

VR and us

Today’s readings covered virtual reality. In particular, Bolter talks about the notion that VR is different from text because it allows us to “experience the world as others do, not to retire from the distractions of the world to discover oneself as a thinking agent”. VR allows us to experience through “identification and empathy” what other people go through. As technology rapidly advances, the lines will blur between the differences in a VR world vs. the real world. When this is possible, our ability to legitimately say, “we walked a mile in another mans shoes” becomes reality. The implications this could have on mutual understanding and prosperity are limitless.

There are also practical, real world applications for VR. Zettl mentions the ability VR has in training pilots or medical students. This technique will enable users to learn unhindered from the worries that come with real world consequences.

The idea that we can escape real world consequences brings up a possible important drawback of virtual reality: Could the lack of responsibility that accompanies the VR realm bleed over into the real world? Some argue that spending to much time in a world without repercussions to actions could cause some users to take this habit into there everyday practices.

This is a debate that has been going on in the videogame industry for years. Numerous lawsuits have appeared that attack creators of videogames, accusing them as the cause behind select youth behavior. Although they claim this link, few if any lawsuits have ever been decided in the favor of the plaintiff simply because there is no conclusive evidence that videogames cause violence. But as technology advances and blurs the lines between reality and pseudo reality, will these lawsuits begin to have relevance? Will the reality experienced in the VR realm be so authentic that users will not be able to tell the difference from what is real and what is not? Time will only tell but if technology continues to advance at the rate it is now, we will all found out soon enough.


  1. that helmet looks extremely uncomfortable ....

  2. they're working on it. By the way, the 9/11 terrorists did some of their training on flight simulators.