Thoughts from the front lines

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Lost In The Virtual Rabbit Hole

As I flipped through the pages of Oryx and Crake, reading Margret Atwood’s interpretation of the future, I couldn’t help but disagree with how she saw our future. More specifically how she fail to take into account just how influential virtual reality would become. Although it’s hard to blame her for not writing about it seeing as the first book was written in 2003 and that VR technology has come a long way since then. Although some of you already know VR technology exist, it’s probably more advanced then any of us realize. As of right now the biggest name in the industry is Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that people can put on that immerses the user into a virtual world. So is it the real deal? Well Facebook Inc. seems to think so as they bought the company in 2014 for 2 billion dollars. On top of that other companies such as Google are working on their own versions on it. But is it just for gaming? Not at all, although originally designed for gaming it’s quickly being used by many in different and innovative ways. For example last year doctors in Miami used Google’s current VR device combined with 3D imaging to map out intricate heart surgery. As great as it is to see smart individuals use this technology for good, it’s very easy to see how this can spiral into a bad direction. As can be imagined pornographic websites have already begun to redesign their websites to make them compatible with VR technology, especially those geared towards live sex shows. On top of that adult entertainment companies such as CamSoda are designing gas masks to replicate smells, to better enhance the experience. If the technology gets too good people might not want to live in the real world. The reason this is worth mentioning is because I think that VR technology could have played a bigger role in the book. There’s no way Jimmy wouldn’t have spent most of his days lost in a virtual world trying to fill the void in his life with virtual fantasies. Then again maybe that wouldn’t have made for an exciting book. But it is curious to think if Crake would have been satisfied living in a virtual world (even one of his own creation) or would he still have insisted on destroying the real one?