I’ve talked about how, in the next few decades, nanotech will (likely) allow us to somehow connect our brains directly to virtual worlds that look and feel 100% real, just like in the movie The Matrix. I’ve also talked about how female sex robots will change everything, even before the virtual nanotech stuff does.

One response I sometimes see on both of these points is: “It won’t be nanotech or sex robots. Instead, it will be VR. That will change everything first.”

Yep, that’s entirely possible too. We could reach the point, well before nanotech or viable sex robots, where you can put on a VR helmet and gloves, wear a full-body haptic suit, step onto an omni-directional treadmill, and enter into a virtual world that looks pretty damn close to a directly-connected nanotech induced world.

In an article here I reviewed Ready Player One, a movie and book all about this, both of which I somewhat enjoyed even though they had lots of flaws (mostly because they were written for men exactly like me: Gen X Americans in their 40s). However, the movie demonstrated a lot of misunderstandings about the limitations of VR.

For example, in that movie, it showed people doing things like jumping. How the hell would you be able to jump? In the real world, you’d land on your face and break your VR equipment. I suppose you could wire yourself up to a bunch of bungee cords, but would most people actually take the trouble to do this? I also suppose you could link up a certain movement of your fingers to jump in the virtual world, but if that was the case, every jump you’d make would look similar, if not exactly the same, and be the same height every time (or at least one of two or three jump heights), just like in a video game.

There were also people floating and dancing in zero gravity. Uh, no. How the hell would this be possible? It wouldn’t. You would not be able to do anything remotely like this with a treadmill, gloves, and a VR helmet. I’m sorry.

There were also people doing things like spinning other people around and hanging on ledges. Again, impossible.

There were also scenes of people wearing VR helmets, logged into the VR world, while running in real life without a treadmill. Just think about this for a minute. Why wouldn’t these people just run into walls in the real world? Even if they could see the real world while in the VR world, you never saw anyone say something like, “Hang on man, I can’t run this way any farther. There’s a real-life building in my way. I have to run 300 feet over that way first.”

It’s just stupid. These movies are not at all how VR will actually work.

Instead, the virtual world(s) you’ll be able to visit may look real (more or less) but your interaction with these worlds will be just like playing a game like Skyrim. You won’t be able to jump, float, dance, hang onto things, or anything like that, other than in very strictly controlled and limited ways. Most people won’t even have treadmills, which means that most people in this world will only be able to move by pressing buttons or making certain movements with their hands, and thus will walk in ways video game characters walk, i.e. in a very specific, controlled, repetitive way, and at very specific, set speeds.

You’ll never be able to sit down either. How could you do that in real life?

You’ll be able to pick things up, but nothing will have any actual weight. That will be very weird. It’s true that VR gloves will have movement resistance built into the fingers, but it still won’t be the same as feeling something’s weight.

During combat, you might be able to feel impacts on your body if you’re wearing a full haptic suit (and most people won’t bother to take the trouble or spend the money to do such a thing), but nothing will actually push against you. No character or monster in the VR world will be able to actually push you, pull you, or shove you around, again, just like if you were playing Skyrim or Call of Duty. Sure, you could smash someone with your sword or shoot someone, but you won’t be able to run the guy through, shove him back, push him off a cliff, or pin him to a wall.

Lets say you or one of your enemies falls off a cliff. How would that work? The answer is, it wouldn’t, so you can’t. Just like in many video games, when you approach a cliff in the VR world, the game will just stop you with some kind of invisible barrier. Or perhaps it will let you walk off a cliff, and the game will just instantly end and tell you that you’re dead.

I don’t want to sound like I wouldn’t be interested in entering any VR worlds in the future. I think that would be super enjoyable and exciting. But don’t think for one minute that VR will be anything close to the full plug-your-brain-into-the-matrix virtual worlds I’m talking about. In those worlds, you really will be able to do literally anything you can think of (allowed by the world, that is) because you won’t be limited by what a treadmill, VR helmet, and gloves can do. Your brain won’t actually know the difference. It will be amazing.

VR will be amazing too, but VR will be simply a stepping stone, and a primitive precursor, to what will be coming shortly afterwards.

15 Comments on “How Virtual Reality (VR) Would Actually Work In The Future

  1. VR will come of age when, as you say, there’s a direct hook-up to your brain like the Matrix.

    But I think you underestimate the impact of even the cruder forms of VR (goggles and gloves, etc.)  When you isolate all of the external visual field except for what’s provided in the VR goggles, the brain can create some pretty compelling illusions, particularly in terms of motion.  For example, by creating a visual of actually falling, so long as there is no outside visuals leaking from the background, even now VR can create a pretty compelling sense of falling, floating or being on a roller-coaster.  Of course, you don’t feel concussive impact, but it can be surprisingly powerful nonetheless, enough to make you brace for impact even though there’s none coming.

    They can also create more abstract VR spaces, like floating in a psychedelic dream of geometrical patterns.  These will take people to meditative and altered reality spaces that are hard to imagine, but that will be very powerful and used for hypnotherapy, creativity, etc.

     

  2. by creating a visual of actually falling, so long as there is no outside visuals leaking from the background, even now VR can create a pretty compelling sense of falling, floating or being on a roller-coaster.

    The roller-coaster I get, but not the falling or floating, not if I’m standing on a treadmill and can feel the weight of my body standing on it, the pressure on my feet, and so on. But I’m willing to be proven wrong.

    They can also create more abstract VR spaces, like floating in a psychedelic dream of geometrical patterns.  These will take people to meditative and altered reality spaces that are hard to imagine, but that will be very powerful and used for hypnotherapy, creativity, etc.

    That I agree with.

  3. I am quite a VR enthousiast and recently bought a Samsung HMD Odyssey windows mixed reality headset. It has hands controllers, room scale 6 degree of freedom “inside out” tracking without needing any external motion sensor, and same visual resolution, as the new HTC Vive 2, with good OLED display,.

     

    One big application I can see coming very soon is using crude robot dolls, VR haptic suit and VR headset. Combining them together at the same time, a quite acceptable virtual sexual experience seems available in the very near future if not already possible. I tried a VR demo, “fallen doll”, purely graphically it was pretty satisfying for me. Missing parts were mostly the full body interactivity and more varied and natural motions of the woman character.

     

    I tremendously enjoy playing games such as project cars, Eve Valkyrie warzone and Doom VFR. I played all the Doom games since the first one, I even played the first Wolfenstein before that. Being INSIDE Doom already blows my mind.

     

    Hang on man, I can’t run this way any farther. There’s a real-life building in my way. I have to run 300 feet over that way first.

     

    The person can turn 90 degrees to avoid the building while turning 90 degrees the other side in the vr word with a special hand gesture or a controller stick. Which results in the VR avatar continuing to run straight forward meanwhile the player is making a turn in the real world. Even a U turn if necessary.. I do that all the time on shorter distance when I play Doom VFR. Note I can  already put my laptop in my backpack and play doom vfr outside without any boundary and do the scenario I just described. It’s just unpractical because I would have no outside view. But the sensors are already there and could be programmed to display real life walls in real time when I am approaching them.

  4. I think we are many decades away from plugging our brains directly into virtual reality, even if guys like Elon Musk are working on NeuralLink and similar technologies. Our understanding of how the brain creates imagery and sensations is still very primitive. It could even take centuries for this problem to be solved.

    In the meantime, however, “normal” VR is still mind-blowing and will only get better every 2 years for the next 150 years or so.

    I fool around a lot with the HTC Vive and even with the limitations of Generation One tech, it never ceases to amaze me. Games like Lone Echo can even trick your mind into thinking you are floating, even though you are standing on a flat surface. And sure, that illusion is very far from perfect. You’re not really floating and you of course know that. But it’s so easy to suspend your disbelief due to the total immersion that sometimes you can almost believe you are floating! For the purposes of the game it works well enough. It’s an absolute blast.

    When Generation Two headsets come out in 2020 from Oculus and Vive, I expect to invest heavily in the tech. I’ll buy all the latest stuff, including haptic gloves and an omni-directional treadmill. The latter is especially key for total immersion. I hate teleporting as that takes me out of the experience.

    In the near future the industry might be able to figure out weight of objects. For e.g., if the treadmill you are standing on also functions as an electro magnet and you are wearing haptic gloves that are magnetized, then some downward forces could be applied to your hands at the right times. It doesn’t need to be a large force. Even a maximum of 2 lbs of force would be more than enough to cover almost all objects you are likely to pick up in VR. Even if you were picking up a VR car, you wouldn’t want it weigh as much as a real car in any case. As long as the haptic glove and magnetic force tricks your brain into believing it has “some” weight, then it’s reality becomes seamless in your mind. Plus the haptic gloves already in existence can simulate the shapes of objects by preventing your fingers from closing.

    As for virtual sex…you would either need a special haptic suit or mechanical head and/or torso that syncs with the pre-recorded actions of a porn star. In VR the mechanized pieces would be mapped, photorealistically, onto the porn performer. For something like oral sex, this tech could easily be perfected within the next 2-3 years. All you would need is a robotic head (and lots of lube). In fact, I am surprised that someone has not already put that together. Easily do-able with today’s tech. Imagine getting perfect blow jobs from your favorite porn stars whenever you want? You can see her. You can feel her (at least her hair, head, tongue, lips). You could even smell her with some basic scent package. I think a lot of guys would buy such an accessory, even if they would NEVER admit it!

  5. One big application I can see coming very soon is using crude robot dolls, VR haptic suit and VR headset. Combining them together at the same time, a quite acceptable virtual sexual experience seems available in the very near future if not already possible.

    I agree; that’s coming very soon.

    The person can turn 90 degrees to avoid the building while turning 90 degrees the other side in the vr word with a special hand gesture or a controller stick. Which results in the VR avatar continuing to run straight forward meanwhile the player is making a turn in the real world. Even a U turn if necessary.

    Very interesting! I wasn’t aware of this.

    I think we are many decades away from plugging our brains directly into virtual reality, even if guys like Elon Musk are working on NeuralLink and similar technologies. Our understanding of how the brain creates imagery and sensations is still very primitive. It could even take centuries for this problem to be solved.

    It will be decades, not centuries, since technological growth is exponential, not linear.

    When Generation Two headsets come out in 2020 from Oculus and Vive, I expect to invest heavily in the tech. I’ll buy all the latest stuff, including haptic gloves and an omni-directional treadmill.

    I will get this stuff too, but like you said, I’m going to wait a few more years. It’s not quite good enough for me yet.

  6. It’s worth reading up on the ‘rubber hand illusion’ to see some scientific research on how easily the brain can create compelling illusions if the actual hand is out of sight.  Basically people confuse a virtual hand with their own through a pretty simple experiment.   And they weren’t even using VR back in psych labs.

    As for the sex VR stuff, I agree that it will be in the forefront of the industry like it was for similar new media like cinema, VHS, Internet, etc. Not sure if it will be a haptic suit, or an interactive experience where you do something like a Virtual “1-900” experience with a live person who is doing the VR with you.

    One other thing; I think there will be a market for chemical enhancements to VR to enhance the effect.  Minor disassociatives to get you “out of your body”.  It may sound strange, but already people take chemicals to induce lucid dreaming, which after all, is kind of like VR.

    Pretty exciting stuff, or creepy, depending how you look at it.

     

  7. It’s worth reading up on the ‘rubber hand illusion’ to see some scientific research on how easily the brain can create compelling illusions if the actual hand is out of sight.  Basically people confuse a virtual hand with their own through a pretty simple experiment.

    Yeah, I agree.

    I think there will be a market for chemical enhancements to VR to enhance the effect.  Minor disassociatives to get you “out of your body”.  It may sound strange, but already people take chemicals to induce lucid dreaming, which after all, is kind of like VR.

    Good point; I think you’re right.

    Good points, guys!

    This short educational video will eliminate all doubts about current VR being real enough.

    Haha. Old people are funny.

  8. One other thing; I think there will be a market for chemical enhancements to VR to enhance the effect.  Minor disassociatives to get you “out of your body”.  It may sound strange, but already people take chemicals to induce lucid dreaming, which after all, is kind of like VR.

    Yup! I’ve tried VR on moderate doses of LSD and it creates moments of TOTAL immersion and other amazing effects. LSD isn’t really a dissociative though, like Ketamine for instance. I actually think the latter would pull you out of the VR experience. But I’ve never tried it with VR so not sure.

  9. I don’t know much about VR tech, but there’s a couple of issues that I’m not sure how they are going to solve:

    * Motion sickness. Not sure how you can solve this without solving motion sickness itself (which would be a nice benefit to society!).

    * Realism vs enjoyment. If you make it too realistic then riding on horseback across the entire map of Skyrim is going to become an unpleasant experience. If the latest Alien or Resident Evil game is too realistic then you’re going to end up giving your users PTSD. If you spend your entire time stealing cars and running over people in VR GTA, then I feel that might spill over into the real world as well.

    So my prediction would be VR will be quite good for specific things – for example practising skills (e.g doctor or golfer) and for structured activities (e.g rollercoaster or the already-mentioned VR sex). But I agree I’m not sure we’ll see realistic non-linear worlds, although it will be exciting to see what progress is made.

    And regarding VR sex, it always makes me think of Red Dwarf:

  10. Motion sickness is a real problem and I underestimated it before owning a VR headset. I noticed certain sessions I can do without any motion sickness. But some other times if I am more tired, less focused, or something, before the session in the same game, I get really sick and need to stop after 10 minutes. Then the motion sickness feeling stays long like 30min or 1 hour.

     

    I am not particularly prone to motion sickness in general and I have watched plenty 3D movies without any discomfort not even headache.

  11. The first comment i ever left on the MGTOW subreddit was ” there are too many video game posts here.”  I was immediately banned and cannot comment anymore lol.

  12. Caleb, you omitted VR Porn, which will be a HUGE game changer. Even now we have millions of guys addicted to flat, 2D porn, to the point they forego sex completely.

    With immersive VR helmets, even without sex-haptics, this addiction will increase 1o fold (in both number of men and intensity) and thus rewrite the dating landscape by removing tons of Beta males from the picture.

    This in turn, as you can guess, will turn the dating world upside down, and with it the family, and thus, the economy, law, politics, culture even warfare.

    The less men need to get laid, the less men are willing to do things that get them laid (earning money, starting relationships or family, socialising etc ).

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