Since the first scientists and developers dreamt of virtual reality there has been one question that is repeatedly asked – can virtual reality substitute our own reality and would we be able to tell the difference? For some intrinsic reason we are captivated by the idea of living in a virtually created world – perhaps it is the freedom and lack of constraints that we could experience – in a virtual world you can be who you want, do what you want and have unlimited freedom – you are not hampered by illness, disability or death – it is easy to see the appeal.
So can virtual reality confound our brain into believing that it is actually reality? We delve into this deep and interesting theory below:
The current state of Virtual Reality technology cannot substitute our reality
To answer this question we have to look at the current state of virtual reality technology and what we would have to replicate in order to truly substitute our own reality. Currently, virtual reality technology primarily involves headsets – it is not a fully immersive technology.
This provides the first barrier – some would say that although the brain could be tricked into believing VR was your actual reality that unless your physical body and senses were catered for too then there will always be a gap. Technology such as CAVE rooms could potentially bridge this gap as you use your own movements and actions to move through a VR world whereas, with a headset, you may control a hand remote or use buttons on the headset which ultimately remind you of your reality.
Certain real actions and experiences simply cannot be replicated
A further barrier is the actual experiences, emotions, and actions that we carry out as humans. Let’s say you have developed a VR travel guide that lets you explore famous cities? Could you truly replicate the experience of walking through a street market for example? Could you replicate the smells, the sounds, and the sensation of touch as you pick up the foods and crafts? There are a whole host of interactions and sensations that would need to be addressed and replicated in order to truly substitute VR for our own reality.
Who knows what the future could hold as the lines become blurred?
At this point in time, VR technology cannot substitute our own reality – the technology simply hasn’t evolved to that point. We have seen time and time again however throughout the human evolution that we have overcome obstacles and technology has found a way. Who’s to say that in 20 years’ time we could have fully immersive VR technology that could indeed substitute our own reality?
We hope you have gained some insight into this interesting subject. As mentioned above, we believe that virtual reality technology has not yet evolved to the stage and quality that it can truly replicate our own reality. Furthermore, it is clear that developers and scientists will struggle to replicate some human behaviors and actions without another huge leap in virtual reality technology.