VR's Impact On Social Behavior: Pros And Cons

VR's Impact On Social Behavior: Pros And Cons
October 14, 2016

‘Fill the hole in the market’ race has well and truly begun, let’s reflect on its impact before spending our money on VR!
I have always been an avid gamer both in virtual and real life. I have enjoyed the evolution of gaming through my 26 year old journey to adolescence from Dave to GTA 5. A few years ago, I heard all this talk about virtual reality and I guess every gamer developed a keen interest to learn more about VR. The earlier you uttered the word 'Oculus Rift’, the cooler you were in the gaming world. :P
Now, I see all the big corporations launching a product of their own to fill this market and the gamer in me is a 'confused consumer' with a mindset to just buy something fast, experience Virtual Reality and get that brownie points into my soul.

Free Insight — my definition of life- ‘A game of earning #soulXP through a varied range of experiences, played on a console called ‘time’’

So I woke up this morning with the eagerness to research and choose the VR that I would like to buy. Started reading/watching a few reviews/videos on multiple products such as the Oculus Rift, Google Daydream, Facebook VR, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR, etc.
After a while, the adult in me almost began to cry at the realisation that I am potentially hacking my soul into gaining #soulXP to win this game of life on this ‘quite real' console called time!? (WT actual F). The gamer in me suddenly did not want to cheat and win this life, ‘no fun in driving a Ferrari in Age of Empires everyday’.
I thought more about this and started to wonder what would happen if VR was incorporated into our daily lives, the below insights were written while imagining VR as a habitual way of life in the future, instead of a one off entertainment option for the present moment. What are we heading towards as a Society by using VR? Well, I have tried to imagine the Pros and Cons and listed some important ones below:
Potential Cons:

  • Society becomes happier to remain indoors. The Facebook VR promos saddened me the most, I realised that kids would not have to get out of their houses in order to meet and play with each other. We as humans must progress towards using technology to integrate ourselves with nature, day by day we are incorporating technology that is proving to our children and ourselves that nature is different from humanity.
  • False sense of satisfaction to individuals through Virtual Reality. I am a noob skydiver and jumping out of planes has changed my life, now if I did that in my living room for the first time, I would be supremely happy with myself but experience only half of the real deal. So the experience is incomplete but satisfaction is complete, which will lead to a pseudo-intellectual state of mind.
  • Immunity to Body Language. I believe face to face interaction of humans is important as this stimulates emotions which sometimes lead to actions being taken by individuals. (Example -The more you make/see someone smile in conversation, the more likely you are to have a crush on them). Micro-expression and body language are subconscious communication between humans which happen involuntary. I fear that if we get used to communicating via VR, we will simply stop getting stimulated by micro-expressions and body language.

Potential Pros:

  • Education can head towards experiential learning. A child can learn the planets in a solar system by flying in a VR SpaceShip instead of memorising a sentence like I did lol ‘My Very Enthusiastic Mother Just Served Us Noodles!’. You could also learn to operate on a human body in VR!
  • Give purpose to People suffering from ailments/disabilities/depression/Aged. VR has the potential to significantly improve the lives of senior citizens. We can inject passion into the lives of old people who are neglected and depressed, give them hope and improve the happiness quotient in old age homes. They can partially experience things that they missed out on during their time and can truly rest in peace with no regrets about their time on earth. I would love to see the day, a person on a wheelchair or a person on a hospital bed put on a VR headset and experience walking/running on a scenic trail and feel alive again!
  • E-commerce in VR. This is a free billion dollar idea for you my lovely readers! Lol Imagine a lazy Sunday morning where you are required to go shopping with your loved ones, but instead of fighting the laziness, you could put on a VR headset with your family and take a walk down a flea market! The shops on either side of you would be setup by traders who also would wear VR and display the items they want to sell you! You could then bargain and buy the things you want and wrap your Sunday shopping up! Keep the spouse happy while ur at your lazy best! :P

The Verdict:
Although the gamer in me is excited about VR, the adult mind in me, sincerely requests the corporations to continuously use technology to integrate humans back towards nature! Anyone can experience childhood in VR, but lets allow the younger generation to experience the real world first! I would personally buy one, just to reconciliate the value of gaining #soulXP in real life as opposed to the #soulXP gained through Virtual Reality!


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