Legitimate fears linked to Virtual Reality.
It is enough to see this photograph below to understand without speech what are the fears related to virtual reality.
It is old in the temporality of High Tech, but it came out, brand new, as soon as Meta was announced.
All under helmet and only one, the boss, free of his sight.
This photograph is terrifying in particular by its candor, as if there were no problem, while the problem is crushing the eyes – if I dare say.
I’ll take a bet with you – I don’t have a penny but I’ll bet what you want.
I’ll bet you that Virtual Reality will be popular and will become part of our lives as soon as, instead of a helmet that imprisons us, we will have at our disposal glasses to which we are not bound and which we can leave at will and without thinking. We approach, we see in VR – we move back, we see the real. It thus becomes a choice that does not require from us an almost absolute trust.
Why should we trust the content we are about to see?
Until this aspect of freedom and trust is sorted out, you’ll get deep rejection reactions – and Matrix quotes blooming underneath the “too cool” initiatives of the virtual reality world.
It is imperative to give users the absolute right to not trust – not even for 5 seconds.
So it is necessary to think of a tool that leaves this freedom of movement to each user, even if the effect is less “perfect”.
This brings me to the next question: the second reality.
Icarus dreamed of flying like a bird – he succeeded and died pathetically, because his wings melted.
Some people dream of living a second reality – they succeeded – and … it will be pathetic, because their bank accounts will have melted away.
There have been these experiments before and they all failed.
Not because of a technological problem.
Today’s technology makes it possible to create a 2nd reality.
You can walk in a straight line 100 years in Minecraft – thanks to the Procedural Generation.
You can get lost in all galaxies with your ship – thanks to Procedural Generation.
You can work to refurbish your ship – thanks to? people who don’t work in real life, right?
The dominant discourse in this field, exemplified by Mark Zuckerberg with Meta, is: push the limits! again, again but yes ma’am, trust us, we’ll push the limits all together.
Madam answers: she prefers to set limits.
And ask the question: WHEN should we stop?
It is distressing to note that the answer is childishly simple: we stop when we get bored.
We all have moments of boredom in real life.
They are inevitable.
And they make all possible entertainment successful – they made Facebook successful for those who don’t like to play.
And what do we find on Facebook? unfathomable tides of boredom – cooking recipes – tips for a zen life – pictures of my dog – my cat – my kids – my dish at the restaurant – I have to like the recipes, tips, smileys, pictures of my contacts – I have to be interested in them (” seen – not answered”: ah the obligation to admit to others that what they say is not interesting at all – great moments of social awkwardness… )
So, to find in the 2nd life, in worse, the moments of boredom of the real life, seems to me very inconsiderate.
That’s why it’s best to set boundaries and ask questions – and while we’re at it, relevant questions.
For this, taking the users’ point of view is absolutely fundamental.
What do I want to experience in virtual reality?
What do I not want to experience at all?
How do I want to live in virtual reality?
What do I expect in the way of new features that will interest me and not some famous unknown who pretends to be cool and nice and who will mainly want to sell his data on me? – Obstacle 2 in Meta, don’t look for it, it’s there – breach of trust – too bad.
The question of trust and total freedom left to the users is, I think, the basis.
Film directors have accustomed the world to surprises, more or less excellent, which come to shock their spectators.
When the spectator doesn’t like it, it’s not too serious: the screen is far away, he closes his eyes, he covers his ears and eventually he never comes back.
In the meantime, during the projection, he has the instant possibility to disconnect himself from what is shown.
The Internet giants have accustomed the world to not-so-great surprises by playing on a false freebie in exchange for personal data sold at a premium.
If you put the two together, you realize that both practices have mostly created a very legitimate mistrust from potential users.
Add the Matrix series and the picture is complete.
So here are the fears, in my opinion very legitimate, that prevent the exploitation of virtual reality:
- the fear of enslavement by the helmet
- the normal and obligatory denial of trust in content creators
- the almost certainty of a boredom worse than in real life encountered in the 2nd life – certainty consequent to the experiences lived via the so-called “proximity” social networks
- the fear that this worst will turn into an inescapable hell – as it is already the case for most of the social networks, which allow outbursts of hatred and hysteria to bring us all back to prehistoric times.
- the fear, well-founded or not, of being manipulated by the companies that will propose this.
Now I come to Altair.
I am very keen on using virtual reality technologies, everyone knows that.
And I’m very keen that Altair should never be confused with those completely toxic uses that are currently on offer.
Altair does not and will not offer a 2nd virtual life.
Altair doesn’t care about your favorite dishes or the color of your fireplace.
Altair is not a cool university professor who will teach you everything you didn’t know about an artist, where he lives and how long his brushes are.
Altair, who is girl-led, can accept that size matters – but, being a girl, is keen to point out that size can’t be everything.
Altair especially doesn’t want you to have to like the horrors of your real-life relationships.
So Altair in virtual poses as a world with limits and rules:
First rule: stop before the user gets bored. The consequence is: there will not be “anything” to do when you enter Altair Twin.
Second rule: use Virtual Reality for what it is unique, namely the possibility to make us experience things that are impossible to experience in reality.
I can accept a “door” to the world of work for those who do not work in real life, but surely nothing more and certainly not in major mode.
Third rule: the limit is determined by Altair’s object: the world of shows and entertainment. Ideological, political, or whatever commitments have nothing to do with it.
Fourth rule: it is impossible to use your name and photo to create your “character” in Altair – there will be Meta for those who love so much to create infernal links in all planes of reality.
The 5th rule is not yet solved – but there will be no “VR” expansion without it: the use of hardware that leaves the user instantly free.
The helmet system can be accepted and is acceptable only under special conditions – possibly people at home, without anyone to control.
People who choose VR rooms, with all other equipment on top, in order to have very complete physical experiences – and for them the “STOP” button must be instantly usable – and without announcing it to the world. That freedom is really, really, fundamental.
Featured Image : from Matrix – of course