Consequences

The fundamental attraction of virtual reality is the ability to create worlds that aren’t constrained by the same real-world physics that govern our lives.  Theoretically, we could create a world in which we experience nothing but joy.

There are several over-arching scenarios that could amount from virtual reality technology if it becomes an exact or better simulation of real life: we could be either aware or unaware that we are experiencing a virtual reality and these two scenarios could either be positive or negative:

  Positive Negative
Aware There’s a distinction between virtual world and the real world but the virtual experience is what we hoped for We can tell the difference between the virtual and real world but the virtual world is unfulfilling
Unaware We’re oblivious to the fact that we’re in a virtual reality and it meets all our expectations It’s impossible to tell that we’re in a false reality and the reality is a let down

In the scenarios where we are aware of the distinction between the virtual and real worlds, it is easy to simply log out or unplug ourselves from those worlds.  However, in the cases where we are unaware that our existence is in a virtual reality, we would either need a failsafe, or an outside monitor to facilitate the amount of time we want to spend within the virtual world.

In both positive scenarios, if the virtual environments we create meet our desires, we may want to live in these worlds forever.  If this becomes the case, if we can experience nothing but joy in these alternate worlds, it’s highly possible that everyone will want to enter this utopia.  If this occurs, the human population will gradually convert to life in virtual reality, which means the real-world population will decrease, in which case, the maintenance of these virtual realities would eventually fall into disrepair and we lose our utopia once again.

It’s human nature to always be looking for a quick fix and virtual reality is a solution that provides that, however, as shown in the negative column, that quick fix of virtual reality may be unfulfilling and may eventually cause us to become disillusioned by not just the virtual world, but the real world as well, just as countless who have risen to the top, only to die young such as Heath Ledger, Kurt Cobain and countless others.

However, if a virtual reality does come to fruition, I hope it not only fulfils our hopes and dreams, but allows us to reach a higher purpose as sentient beings, and gain a better understanding of the universe that we live in.

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