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    • Today I went on a mountain bike ride with a couple of friends in a local park. It was an extremely enjoyable experience and one that might be called a peak experience. I was pleased to see so many cars parked in the parking lot because it meant that many people were out enjoying nature. I was pleased because I often get a bit of a sad feeling when I see so many parks and playgrounds empty on beautiful summer days. As I was escorting my friend to his car and thinking about how it's nice to see so many people out, it occured to me that the future might not entail such 'natural' or real experiences.

      For a hundred hours or more each year I pedal my bicycle indoors and immerse myself in a virtual world called Watopia. It's certainly a limiting experience compaired to the outdoors but why can't a future technology make the indoor experience as rewarding as the outdoor one? I think the lines between real and virtual will become more and more blurred. Virtual worlds will become more adaptable to our time, needs and wants. Why wait for good weather to go biking? Why wait to meet the right real life girl to have a relationship? Why limit ourselves to things we can afford in real life when in a virtual world there may be no limits?

      It seems that the obesity epidemic is party due to the ease in which we are satisfied and satiated with the current technology and entertainment - though it is primitive compared to what's likely to come. If we can't get people outside now, then what's going to get them outside in the future when the virtual is 'better' than the real? I am recalling Bruce Willis's movie where people live in virtual pods in their homes and interact through surrogates. Why is the real better than the virtual? Maybe it isn't, who's to say?

    • My take is that there is no "real" or "virtual". It is a logical fallacy similar to considering "man" and "nature" as different things, when in fact one is a part of a much bigger other. And in terms of what is better - how do we know? Better for whom? When? Is it a matter of consumption or of perception, or both?

      For people who have trouble grasping the idea that there is no difference between "real" and "virtual" except for perception, I always suggest reading about the experiences of people with autism and other disabilities in Second Life, for example this article in Wired. It's pretty illuminating. (there were better pieces about that island, but I can't find them quick enough to link right now)

      Most of us like to live vicariously from time to time through storytelling and pictures of others. I see VR as a technology enabler to boost storytelling and art to new heights. And if someone chooses that technology to [completely] displace RL experiences, then that is a human problem, not a technology problem. Better humans will have better experiences, including via technology.

    • VR? Probably not. But, having 'glasses' overlay a reality of your own choosing upon the 'real' world? Most definitely yes. Check out Magic Leap or Hololens. That is the future. We may have to wait for Apple to come out with their version before the public at large catches on, but I have no doubt that in a decade or so, smartphones will be wholly replaced by AR devices.

      For me, the ultimate depiction of how a world like that can work is presented in Rainbows End by Vernon Vinge. Highly recommended.

    • Yeah I agree man is a part of nature however I don't see it as a good comparison to equate VR to RL or as part of real life in the sense that I meant it. Yes everything you do or feel in VR is real feelings but it's not doing just like listening to a story is not living the story that is being told.