Virtual reality is the rich white child of technology


Was seven years since Palmer Luckey appeared on the cover of WIRED magazine. The June 2014 issue said: “This child will soon change games, movies, TV, music, design, medicine, sex, sports, art, travel, social media, education – and reality.” In 2016, Facebook bought his virtual reality company, Oculus, for two billion dollars. He now invests $ 18.5 billion a year in research and development, and Facebook Reality Labs, the company’s augmented reality / virtual reality division, accounts for as much as 20 percent of the total workforce, with there is no sign of slowing down. But despite many years, billions of dollars and a one-year pandemic requiring home entertainment, the results so far have been rather bleak. Headphones are smarter and games are more lucrative, but our minds still remain common un-puhao.

It’s not just Facebook and Oculus. In May 2016, Cover story about WIRED he introduced readers to Magic Leap, “A mysterious startup, a mountain of money and the quest to create a new kind of reality.” Magic Leap has developed a set of “Mixed Reality” translucent glasses that could integrate virtual objects into the user’s physical environment. The company collected more than 2 billion dollars from investors from Silicon Valley from list A. It looked like the biggest leap in hardware since the iPhone. But the actual product never justified a breathtaking demo. Company laid off 1,000 employees In 2020, he hired a new CEO and focused on tight business applications. The future of mixed reality is still, well, the future.

Somehow, none of these less than ideal outcomes affected trust in VR. In fact, Facebook doubled on Monday, announcing a new group within a company dedicated to developing its Horizons VR world. Mark Zuckerberg he recently told Facebook employees that in the next five years he expects the transition “from people who perceive us primarily as a social media company to a company from the meta-universe.” It seems that billionaires and risk capitalists from Silicon Valley are not able to say no to modern headphones with a big dream. And this dates back 35 years – Jaron Lanier was a Palmer Luckey in the 1980s and early 1990s!

Technology is always o turn the corner, o be more than just a gaming device, o for the sake of revolution in fields like architecture, defense and medicine. The future of business, entertainment, travel and society is always on the verge of a major virtual upgrade. VR is a bit like a rich white child with famous parents: It never stops decaying, forever classified on a generous curve, always judged by its “potential” rather than results.

One of the reasons VR is offered such an endless array of other chances (VR’s proverbial lineage, if you will) that it has played a major role in the popular science fiction around which our collective picture of the future is built. In his 1984 book, William Gibson coined the term “cyberspace” Neuromancer. The term later became synonymous with the World Wide Web, but Gibson’s initial portrayal referred to a virtual area into which “console cowboys” could enter and exit. Gibson and his cyberpunk peers strongly shaped the culture of 1980s technology – before the dotcom boot, before technology.

When Lanier introduced his bulky screen and glove on his head in 1987, he called on tech hobbyists to be the first residents of the virtual future they saw in cyberpunk novels. Neal Stephenson from 1992 Snow Crash and Ernest Cline from 2011 Ready player one later, mass hits of science fiction appeared whose stories developed in the future in which VR is a thing.

Kad Zuckerberg says to “think about some things” from then on [he] was in high school and was just starting to code, ”it’s not hard to guess which books he was reading at the time. For Gen X and Millennial technology entrepreneurs which dominate Silicon Valley today, science fiction stories from their youth have always treated VR as an ambient part of the future technological landscape.

Just like the current billionaire space race is, at least in part, proof that within every tech billionaire is an inner child who has dreamed of flying his own rocket ship, the VR arms race assumes that mass adoption is inevitable – the only question is when that future will arrive, and which company will when make it phenomenal to become rich.

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