A Gaming World Gone Wrong

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You say Virtual Reality, I say Black Mirror.

These days you need a lot of advanced and expensive equipment if you want the full VR experience.

People are keen on technology and would use any excuse to take a break from their own boring or hectic lives. The reality is that we´re already interacting more with our devices than with each other (Anderson & Rainie 2010).

This got me thinking of an episode of season 3 of Black Mirror. The episode is called “playtest”. To sum up the storyline from IMDb: An American traveler short on cash signs up to test a revolutionary new gaming system, but soon can’t tell where the hoot game ends and reality begins.

Cooper (The protagonist) mysteriously loses all his money and sees an opportunity to earn some fast cash by taking on a game testing role for the big SaitoGemu Company. Cooper is taken to a cold white room, which is where he will be conducting the testing- playing a video game where he is to conquer his biggest fears. The VR experience is downloaded directly into his consciousness through a micro device which is injected into his brain. The technology inserted in Coopers’ brain makes him see things that aren’t really there. When the game begins he is not capable of distinguishing what is real and what is augmented reality.  The technology is playing with his mind and his senses.

Playtest shows a disturbing vision of the future of video games and how far VR can go. Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts we’ll be closer to the Matrix-type VR experiences in 20–25 years

But will Black Mirror become reality someday?

I would say that a similar scenario could realistically play out in the future. It really makes me think of some “What if” scenarios. Both mind control and VR exists, so a fusion between those two is not entirely unimaginable for the future of VR. It is scary, but it is possible. This scenario might just happen, in a dystopian future, not too far from now.

 

References:

Anderson, J. & Rainie, L.. (2010). The future of social relations. Available: http://www.pewinternet.org/2010/07/02/the-future-of-social-relations-2/. Last accessed 16th May 2017.

Baer, D. (2015). The world’s most famous futurist just explained why VR will be important when people live forever. Available: http://www.businessinsider.com/ray-kurzweil-says-vr-will-be-important-when-people-live-forever-2015-11/?r=AU&IR=T. Last accessed 16th May 2017.

-. (-). Virtual Reality. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality. Last accessed 20th May 2017.

-. (2016). Playtest . Available: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5709242/. Last accessed 23rd May 2017.

-. (2011). Black Mirror. Available: https://www.netflix.com/title/70264888. Last accessed 17th May.

 

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