Five future ways Virtual Reality will change our lives.
Virtual reality (VR) has been popping up all over the news recently, with tech giants like Facebook and Google making enormous investments in the technology. The reason? Because VR has the potential to fundamentally change our lives as we know it, and it’s already happening! Here are just five ways virtual reality will change our lives.
Visiting Friends and Family
The virtual reality industry has been exploding, and while we can expect some cool things to happen in gaming and entertainment, we’ll also see VR used in other industries and applications. One area that is set to be radically changed is socializing. Imagine being able to visit your friends and family virtually, no matter where they are around the world. While there are currently few options for creating such a system using existing technology, it’s not difficult to imagine an age in which VR is an option for having breakfast with your grandmother or catching up with old friends who live overseas. As VR becomes more available and affordable, it’s easy to believe that visiting loved ones will become common practice. These types of use cases give us an idea of what’s possible within our lifetime — but it also helps inspire creative thinkers who have much more outlandish ideas about how virtual reality might work on a larger scale. The Digital Everything Becomes Intangible: Virtual reality systems aren’t limited to helping you keep up with your friends; futurists have predicted many uses for these devices beyond simply entertainment or communication. More advanced systems may one day turn all digital information into something you can manipulate like physical objects.
Technology-focused business meetings and retreats are already happening. As more businesses create their virtual reality conferences, teleconferences, and other virtual reality meetings, participants will have an opportunity to interact in a space where they can do anything. Traveling abroad to hold meetings? Virtual reality can make that happen. Sitting around a table with clients or business partners? You’ll soon be able to take your desk with you. The metaverse is coming — are you ready for it? Currently, virtual reality meeting software exists but doesn’t allow for full interaction between multiple avatars. Some things just aren’t possible using current software but others are getting closer every day, meaning these virtual realities will catch up soon enough.
One day, virtual reality experiences might become so immersive that they allow people to live a full-time digital life. Some futurists refer to such an interconnected and technology-saturated world as the metaverse. In it, we’ll be able to teleport from place to place and experience anything from yoga classes in Bali to attending networking events in Mumbai. We’ll be able to learn new skills or gain more experience in a subject by enrolling in virtual classes. One day, you may also be able to join a friend on vacation without ever leaving your house. It’s not quite teleportation yet (that’s still science fiction), but connecting with friends around the globe is becoming easier every year. Virtual reality could soon enable us all to log into one platform where we can meet up virtually no matter where we are — either in person or digitally — to work on projects or just hang out with friends and family.
The metaverse is most often used as a place for entertainment, for instance in games and/or virtual reality. Players and visitors to virtual worlds can interact with each other via avatars, which can be realistic or highly stylized representations of people. Chat rooms and instant messaging systems are common communication methods in social situations within virtual worlds. With its users sometimes called residents, many virtual worlds function as communities and have developed their norms of behavior, complete with social guidelines that delineate what types of interactions are acceptable (and unacceptable) in various contexts. Virtual world inhabitants sometimes refer to these sets of informal rules as the game. Some virtual worlds allow users to create mods (modifications) that add extra content to the game setting. A typical online game supports anywhere from dozens to thousands of mods written by both fans and professional programmers. This may lead some players to spend more time interacting with modders than other players or characters within specific online games.
Google Earth uses satellite imagery to create a realistic 3D model of each location on earth. We’re going to take that one step further by incorporating virtual reality with teleportation and thus creating a metaverse of interconnected locations. Business meetings, weddings, and more can happen virtually from anywhere in real-time. A trip is no longer just about what you see in a country; it’s about how you interact with it and how much control you have over where you go. Teleportation provides an unprecedented level of freedom for travelers, enabling us to teleport quickly between different vacation destinations so we can decide at any given moment which one we want to be at. In addition, seamless integration into social media allows people on vacation to share their experiences. As mentioned before, tourism isn’t simply about visiting a place but also sharing your experiences there. With social media integration and virtual reality’s ability to make everyone feel like they are actually in the destination being experienced as opposed to watching it through someone else’s lens, travel companies will offer packages centered around these particular aspects of a trip rather than others such as lodging or flights alone. I imagine myself seeing Starbucks Coffee glowing in bright neon green against an old brick building standing next to me.