One of the most discussed passages from my Wired article on virtual reality comes from Oculus Rift CTO John Carmack: “If people are having a virtually happy life, they are having a happy life. Period.” Agree, disagree? Take the survey above and discuss in Comments below. Full context of his statement here, or excerpted below:
If an outdated and cumbersome virtual world like Second Life can exert so profound an effect, what will happen when people plug into a fully immersive virtual reality? It isn’t too difficult to imagine a scenario in which our problems are allowed to fester, simply because any democratic will to address them is undercut by a populace that would rather escape to the virtual world than deal with the real one...
Carmack downplays my concern. “Social impact hand waving/wringing about VR was gone over quite a bit 20 years ago,” he says. Such arguments, he says, create a false distinction between what’s real, and what’s virtual.
“If someone wanted nothing more in life than to read books, providing them with a massive library is not doing them a disservice, even if that means that they are less likely to be involved in other activities,” he says. “If people are having a virtually happy life, they are having a happy life. Period.”
Update, March 3: Carmack himself was nice enough to retweet this survey, so we should expect an influx of his many followers:
And welcome, Carmack fans!
Results shared next week...
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