Do not go gentle into that good VR. Rage, Rage against the passing of reality…

I was thinking last night, watching the Oscar extravaganza that media has come a long way. I started watching TV when I was little, although at the time it was a black and white TV. Things have changed so much. They are about to change as much in the next five years as they have to date total.

360 degree cameras are soon to hit the mass market. Devices that can see all around and create images of that. From there it is a simple addition of a filter and a viewpoint to have an instant VR scanner. But the 360 camera in the center of the room and let it create the virtual reality room.

I see a VR desk, stacked with the various papers you need to work on – the many things you need to read or comment on. Who needs an office with a window – just pull the window video feed from your favorite view anywhere in the world to the wall of your VR office. Now you can sit happily reading architectural documents and reports on why the company is losing money while relaxing on your favorite beach. Tuesday in Hawaii. Wednesday in Thailand and finally end up Friday back in your driveway shoveling snow.

People have sometimes called it the immersive experience. Science fiction authors have argued for years that some will get lost in the experience. Never returning to this world because the virtual world is so much better.

The Holocam from Microsoft makes things interesting. Its probably 12 months away from release, maybe a little less but it opens the door. Once the door is open the experience is just moments away.

Reality becoming just another phase within the existence of us. Like the joke now “do you remember when you were the remote control for your family television.” Dad sitting in his chair and saying “change the channel. Where channel surfing meant you standing there changing the channel until dad found what he wanted to watch. Thank goodness in those days it was only 12 channels at most. Not the 100’s of channels that would explode today with cable or satellite TV.

An immersive world where the IoT can provide you with information about the real world and you can navigate the immersive virtual world.  It makes me wonder if the next generation of humans will turn off the IoT devices. No longer caring about the physical universe around them. The 4 minute mile becoming a story told about when people had to walk and run places. Where they got into airplanes and flew 1/2 way across the world. Not like today son where you can be anywhere you want to be, right now.

Plato spoke of the union of the body and the mind. Hopefully people won’t run with their VR helmets on. Running through the streets of Pamplona chased by virtual bulls. Hemingway sitting on a veranda overlooking where we are running cheering us on. Run he shouts in his gruff writers voice, Run. Then shutting off the treadmill we look around, no Hemingway, no bulls, just the person we are running next to in the gym.

A change is coming soon. A separation of the physical and the virtual world. Yea though we go bravely into that good night let us not loose our grip on this mortal coil. Hold tight against the passing of reality. Do not gentle in that good VR.

My apologies to Dylan Thomas for modifying the line of his poem. But it fits in the end that reality would be the thing we were striving to keep. Fighting against the alluring sirens call of VR. Pulling further and further away from what was real to what was perfect and simple.

Do not go gentle into that good VR.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow