Why virtual reality is necessary on a planet of 11 billion

Peter Demandis: Every year I spend time thinking about what technology is becoming deceptive this year that today’s exponential leaders need to think about and actually start working together. And for this coming year, my idea for the next few years is that virtual reality is part of that. And it is different words and has different elements, virtual world, virtual reality, augmented reality. And in fact the kickoff was the purchase of Oculus Rift by Facebook for a billion dollars. But apart from that what we have seen is the coming together of many technologies – infinite computing, very cheap high resolution cameras, machine learning capability, low latency, high bandwidth network. All these things are coming together to reinforce the experience of the virtual world.

Jeremy Balenson: If you think about cars. Last year, forty thousand people died in the US, 1.3 million people died in car accidents worldwide. Think about the productivity lost by sitting in a box for an hour for work and each way of working. Think of the fossil fuels we are burning while we work back and forth. Think of Road Rage. Think of germs on public transport. I am not claiming that we should not see people. I like social relationships. What I am saying is that there is a subset of travel that if you think about it, why do we run all the way to work so that we can sit at a desk and pound at the computer? Maybe we only need two days to work. And for those meetings that are not necessary we need to keep those people in VR. We cannot support a planet of 11 billion people, which we will soon be driving with everyone and flying everywhere using fossil fuels. This just is not going to happen. So, why have we not held meetings yet? And the answer is because it is the secret sauce, this social presence that is in front of us that we are not yet with video conference and VR is not yet. So what we need to do is to be able to track more body movements. The bottleneck is not actually bandwidth because avatar-based communication is cheaper from a bandwidth standpoint than video. The reason is that if you are performing an avatar-based communication, all 3D models for the avatars are stored locally on each machine. Traveling over the network is tracking data. So, locally a camera detects that I was smiling and then it sends a packet to the network that says smile at 22 percent. And then pulls that smile again on another computer. Therefore you are not sending visual information over the network. What you are sending is very inexpensive information which is semantic information about the movements. The bottleneck is that we cannot track movements correctly. If you think of commercial systems, now they track what we call 18 degrees of freedom. Your head and both hands. You can do rotations that have three and x, y and z which are obviously three. And so you’ve got 18 points, two hands and a head. We need subtle cheek movements and twitch of my elbow to make the conversation flow, whatever I do means whether I am doing it consciously or not.

Diamandis: Imagine a virtual reality experience, when you go into such a reality world, it feels like everything is real and you can navigate around it and start doing extraordinary things in this high fidelity world . At home, you will take a 3D scan and take it to millimeters. Then I enter a virtual world and I have an AI who is my shopping consultant. It says Peter, what are you looking at? And suddenly everything I’m seeing in this virtual world is in my shape, in the recommended colors of this AI. And I can say, you know, I would love to see a fashion show. All of these different outfits I walk on the runway are avatars and I can say that I want to see that one and one and suddenly I’m looking in a virtual mirror and wearing that dress. And I can look around, see what it looks like and I go, “This is that. I want that.” Boom, it has been produced, to my exact size, which probably delivers at noon to the local factory using 3D printing capabilities or robotic capabilities and the next morning and it fits perfectly. So if you think that is why virtual retail stores have a future and I think virtual reality is going to effectively improve one hundred times what Amazon’s experience is today.

Jordan great: The line between what it means to dream and what it means to be awake is going to be very interesting. This is going to become more and more interesting because remember, VR is only one piece of the generalized result of accelerating technology. And so it is not that we are doing VR. We are also going to improve our work capacity in the world in general. And so we can imagine situations where I can craft an object in VR and then say in semi-real time that some mechanism is, in fact, 3D printing that object so that I reach out , My VR glasses and the thing I thought I was making a completely imaginary place, is actually physically present in my hand. There are going to be some very interesting changes in the way that we relate to the difference between what reality can do and what imagination can do. VR is very well positioned to create a designed reality that you are going to have a very hard time rejecting. If you think about the way propaganda in the early twentieth century is good at understanding how humans parse information for decision making and get under our psychological defense mechanism, then VR in it 100 million times more capable to engage. The good news is that if we do a lot better, let’s call it ethical and draft a connection between our power to influence the world and the way power affects us. Therefore, if we work much better at being ethical around VR, it will be the most powerful tool we have to fundamentally improve the way we respond to the world. To upgrade our ability to respond to the world because it would be a much more contiguous and complete system hack for our deep constructions.

Danfan Dennis: I can give people a place in the world that they can never see and experience anything that is so different from watching a movie. You remember it as a memory of when I saw a film, I was really into this experience. And so those memories actually encode in a stronger way and I think that allows us to reflect and process them in a more personal way. And so I think we’re starting on this curve of VR where technology, story, they’re starting to come together where we’re crossing the prototype stage and we can really use these to create deeper experiences Are where people come even after ten minutes, come out of a headset and they will say that I was moved by him. And after a year will come back and say that the experience changed my life.

BAILENSON: Since 2003 I have been doing experiments that take a person, put him in virtual reality and give him an experience that you cannot do in the real world. It may be in a different place or it may actually become a different person. Therefore, the first study we did was about ageism and we took college students and they went up to a virtual mirror. And the reason we have a virtual mirror is that they want to show the person who gets separated through a process called body transfer. It is a neurological process where if you move your physical body and you have an avatar, called synchronously, move – it means that you move your arm, you Look at its arm and you also see it in a mirror. First person. Over time, the part of the brain that contains the schema for self and includes this external representation as part of the body. So, by using a virtual mirror and watching someone walk with the mirror you can really feel like you have become someone else. You can be of a different gender, a different age. You can become disabled. Your skin color may be different. And our first study took college students. We had grown old at about 60 to 70 years old. We then networked each other to virtual reality and there was a conversation between the two. Over time the conversation changed to stereotypical assumptions about getting older. So perhaps you did not have a good memory and these stereotypes became active in conversation. So while wearing someone else’s body, who was an older person, I felt discrimination for the first time as a subject. And what we showed in that first study, published in 2005, was that subjects undergoing this treatment become younger when they come out. For example, if you asked them to list words about elders they were less likely to list words that were conservative.

Jason Silva: Like other media technologies, virtual reality, like cinema, is an engine of empathy. With a movie theater, screen size, surround sound audio puts you there. With Oculus Rift potentially you are surrounded by media, by Fake Dreamscape. So you are more. So when I say that Yuen, an agent of empathy, has released a virtual reality film of a Syrian refugee camp. The fact that we journalists are now able to virtually bring the ground to a kind of experience that is much more viscous, so much more powerful, is a confusing sense of presence that literally puts you in a finite state . Your defense falls short, you forget yourself, you forget your problems, you are right there. You are in the moment And so I think that power as an engine of empathy cannot hurt humanity. I think it is as if they talk in the film Interstellar Our sympathy rarely extends beyond our vision. And I think that with virtual reality and the Oculus Rift we are now expanding our line of sight by being able to go everywhere at the speed of mind.

Denise: So this interactive experience in which you are training yourself to emotionally resonate, training yourself to take an action. It will be running on your body and your body in your mind after that the headset will be removed. So I think I have the ability to improve myself to become a more empowered and compassionate society, I hope we will use this technology.