A few weeks ago I had the privilege of going to the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV, where companies old and new showed off what they thought would be the future of technology. Faster, shinier, thinner of course were all there, but the technologies that really give you a sense of the immense potential the future holds are decidedly not fast or elegant at all… yet.
Virtual reality will inevitably change the entire world faster than anyone thinks. VR has the potential to replace education, telecommunication, business, and even the way many people will vacation. Imagine putting on a wireless 16K VR headset and instantly transporting yourself to a tropical island. All you need to replicate the experience is a little heat dish and maybe a fan in the corner of your room to simulate the ocean breeze. Or maybe you want to explore any one of the thousands of museums in the world without spending a dollar on travel. Of course, nothing beats the experience of seeing these things in real life, but without a doubt Virtual Reality will take over to truly become the poor man’s vacation. And that’s not really a bad thing. There are already multiple startups working on “VR Vacation Experiences”, and the results already look promising. No doubt once we reach the threshold for quality 360 degree video capture and “life-like” VR pixel density, it will be hard to deny the allure, and especially the convenience of VR vacations.
In a world of ever increasing globalization, VR will provide universal access to people from parts of the world where a flight to an exotic destination is merely a dream. Although VR is prohibitively expensive now for much of the population, it’s only a matter of time until the technology becomes so cheap and ubiquitous that almost everyone will have it. Being able to warp to new experiences will give the poorest of people the ability to see more, understand more, and ultimately do more as they gain insight into the world around them. This sort of empowerment will have an unprecedented effect on the global economy, and it will allow people to do it all privately from the comfort of their own homes, no matter where that is.
The reality is that beyond physiological needs, technology can and is often an express train to the things that make us feel fulfilled: friendship, belonging, personal development and growth, spontaneity, etc. VR augments your sensory inputs to stimulate your brain in ways that can be unfeasible or even completely impossible otherwise. That means there will be major rewards (as well as potentially tremendous risk!) in bridging these gaps in such a seamless fashion. Many people are afraid of technology, but in this day and age you can hardly afford to ignore the immense benefits it has brought, and will continue to bring, people all over the world. I for one, couldn’t be more excited.