virtual, what?

So this photo of Facebook’s Overlord got quite a bit of undeserved attention as, or so folks said, an example of the Giant Octopus getting its claws into everybody’s souls.  I think people got unnerved that they all had headsets on, and then Zuckerberg’s got this creepy smile on his face like he’s ready to drive humanity using a giant joystick.


I mean, I guess.  It’s certainly not a good look for Facebook.  And I think I’d be genuinely uncomfortable in a room alone with Zuckerberg unless I was armed.  But I’m just not sure what the problem is?  Dude’s just showing off his fancy new product, of course they’re all supposed to wear it.

What is this virtual reality thing anyways?  I’m having a hard time understanding how this is supposedly the new thing.  Are people supposed to design buildings, drive cars, or shoot people in video games or what?  I can’t get around the concept that regardless of what you put on somebody’s skull, what they see and hear, that unless you put them in a giant custom built warehouse you run into the problem that people have to actually walk, move, etc, the touch and smell part.

So I think this’ll become a niche thing, expensive and little used.  So rich 10 year old Jimmy and his friends will play Mass Effect in a warehouse at his birthday party.  Ford will allow you to drive their new car on the track built like you’re driving around Mars.  And so on.

Will virtual reality go mainstream?  I just don’t see it.  And in any case, virtual reality is already here in its own way.  When you’re in the airport waiting area and 98% of folks are buried in their smartphones, that’s virtual reality to me.  They’ve all checked out.

In the same line of thinking, here’s another shot, as an example of one that a teacher of mine tried to sell as an example of fear of progress.

giant gear.jpg

This is not the original shot my teacher used, I couldn’t find that one.  Don’t ask me why I remember this lesson and yet can’t remember the date England separated the head of their king.  The same basic concept, a human standing next to a big gear, as an example of the smallness of humanity compared to our own massive creations.  That we’d devalued the human form into just a gear, a cog of the machine.  At the time I’m like, uh, maybe, I guess.  But we need big gears don’t we?  Ships use them to sail around and stuff.  Our #2 pencils (remember those) rode a ship from China to get here.  So what’s the big deal?

Put another way, it’s progress.  In 1963 you couldn’t talk with your friends while you waited at the airport.  Now you can.  That’s kind of cool.  Yet folks can get freaked out by progress, I mean, I’m certainly one of them.  So virtual reality’s going to rub some people the wrong way.  It’s going to be a bit controversial, just you wait.  You pick a topic, it’ll be there in its own way.

Let it.  It might be weird and little used, but it’s still progress.

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