Individual Entry

People Who Still Have Blogs:

  • Me


August, 2018
July, 2018
December, 2017
September, 2017
August, 2017
May, 2017
March, 2017
December, 2016
November, 2016
August, 2016
July, 2016
April, 2016
January, 2016
December, 2015
November, 2015
October, 2015
June, 2015
May, 2015
April, 2015
February, 2015
January, 2015
December, 2014
September, 2014
August, 2014
July, 2014
June, 2014
May, 2014
April, 2014
March, 2014
February, 2014
January, 2014
December, 2013
November, 2013
October, 2013
September, 2013
August, 2013
July, 2013
June, 2013
May, 2013
November, 2012
October, 2012
September, 2012
August, 2012
July, 2012
June, 2012
March, 2012
February, 2012
January, 2012
December, 2011
November, 2011
September, 2011
August, 2011
July, 2011
June, 2011
May, 2011
April, 2011
March, 2011
February, 2011
January, 2011
December, 2010
November, 2010
October, 2010
September, 2010
August, 2010
June, 2010
May, 2010
March, 2010
February, 2010
January, 2010
November, 2009
October, 2009
September, 2009
August, 2009
July, 2009
June, 2009
May, 2009
April, 2009
March, 2009
February, 2009
January, 2009
December, 2008
November, 2008
October, 2008
September, 2008
August, 2008
July, 2008
June, 2008
May, 2008
April, 2008
March, 2008
February, 2008
January, 2008
December, 2007
November, 2007
October, 2007
September, 2007
August, 2007
July, 2007
June, 2007
May, 2007
April, 2007
March, 2007
February, 2007
January, 2007
November, 2006
October, 2006
September, 2006
August, 2006
July, 2006
June, 2006
May, 2006
April, 2006
March, 2006
February, 2006
January, 2006
November, 2005
October, 2005
September, 2005
August, 2005
July, 2005
June, 2005
March, 2005
January, 2005
December, 2004
November, 2004
August, 2004
July, 2004
June, 2004
May, 2004
April, 2004
March, 2004
February, 2004
January, 2004
December, 2003
November, 2003
October, 2003
September, 2003
August, 2003
July, 2003
May, 2003
April, 2003
March, 2003
February, 2003
January, 2003
December, 2002

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional
Valid CSS

Virtual Hope

So after my super depressing post, I've been looking for a counter-point to it. Some way forward.

I think I found one. It combines a couple things.

The first part of it, is something I read about called "The Overview Effect", describing the transformative experience that astronauts report when they are able to look at the Earth from far enough away to see it as a small sphere, unattached, floating in mostly nothing. Much like a hallucinogenic trip, this experience has been said to permanently alter the view of our role on Earth, and whether or not our actions are able to affect it negatively and/or forever.

Essentially, it is really informative to be reminded of the non-infiniteness of our home, and to behold our none to subtle footprint of sprawling lights and roads tattooed across its every habitable surface.

So the solution is obvious right? Rocket all world leaders into space, they come back, their ape minds unfocused from the default localized problem solving that we all have, replaced with a global sense of the singular scale of our sole world. Problem solved.

Unfortunately spaceflight is expensive and dangerous, and involves numerous medical and logistical clearances, and involves its own environmental impact. Also, America currently has no manned space flight capacity at the moment.

Then I heard about Chris Milk's VR Movies from Ted Radio. He made a VR movie of a Syrian refugee, went to the UN, with VR headsets, and had world leaders watch it, and VR is really good at tricking your brain into thinking you are in a place, that you are face to face with a 3d image of a person (Jump to 7:00). That you met them, and have added them to the short list of people you have specifically met and connected with.

So interesting, maybe we can teach empathy and perspective, but can that really communicate the same sense of wonder as an actual spaceflight?

Then I watched a VR demo of one of Valve's new games: Aperture Robot Repair. During the demo, one of the players upon being introduced to one of Portal's iconic robots, immediately replies "Are they that big in the game?" and near the end, a chasm opens up on the floor beneath the players. Watching them, safely in their room, teeter over the edge of a virtual hole is informative.

That is one thing VR is able to convey better than any picture or film, a sense of scale and a sense of place.

The brain just doesn't seem to have a setting for "fake place that I know I'm not in", VR is as real as dreams essentially, because our brains are just set to trust the input they receive, they can't seem to do anything but that.

So the fundamental problem is that we're all selfish apes who are simply unable to comprehend the scale of the problems that threaten us.

All through civilization we have invented things outside ourselves to accommodate for failings in our own selves.

A club is really just a third joint extension of our arm, with the increased leverage that provides.

Hide and fur clothes are a functional second skin.

There is archaeological evidence that the first clay pots were used to ferment food until it was more broken down. Pots as better, stronger stomachs outside ourselves, breaking down otherwise undigestible plants until it was in a state in which we could consume it.

It is time to start using technology to do the same with ideas that seem too big to our evolved minds to swallow.

I know VR has been a buzzword of the future for a long time, but by the end of this year three different companies are releasing hardware. Not much will likely happen with it in 2015 other than a bunch of nerds looking goofy at Christmas.

But 2016, the non-gaming applications are going to quickly become apparent, and I suspect are going to far outstrip the general wheelhouse of "war simulators for boys" that video games generally cater to.

Hope is on the way, and you're going to look super stupid while using it, but you won't care.

No comments yet:


Meta Information:

Title: Virtual Hope
Date posted: 05 Oct '15 - 08:50
Filed under: General
Word Count: 694 words
Good Karma: 75 (vote)
Bad Karma: 45 (vote)
Next entry:  Unprofessional
Previous entry:  The Penultimate Generation