“Humanity has lived in the digital age for years. Now, extraordinary circumstances will cause the world to dive in and completely submerge itself under what may prove to be a permanent entombment of what we all will remember normal life used to be like.”
A World Evolving
Oh the times they are a-changin’. In case you haven’t noticed we have managed to end up living through one of the most bizarre times in human history. Lucky us, right? Not only is this one the most eventful times in terms of technological advancement, but there also happens to be a biblical plague sweeping the land, just in case you were getting sleepy. Those two things together may just change the way we live our lives forever. Whether it’s for better or worse is yet to be determined.
The virus alone has already changed much by itself, but I think it has just helped to jump start a technological transition that was coming regardless of the circumstances. We live in the digital age now, and every advancement made during has helped to ensure us that we don’t want to go back to the way things used to be. Each one solidifying our reliance on technology just to help us get through the average day. The difference between where we are now and where we were before the quarantine is that few people, in respect to the general population of the world, were aware of the remarkable advancements being made in immersive technologies, like virtual teleconferences or even virtual reality for example. In other words, experience simulating technologies.
Sure, most people who see this article are probably quite aware of the advancements made with VR and how it’s been changing the world we live in one step at a time. That doesn’t mean however, that your aunt Linda has any idea of what is going on outside of her daily soap that she watches religiously, because those two worlds have simply never previously had the ability to connect to each other. That is until now. This quarantine has locked many in their homes, forced others into a work from home life situation, and kids are taking classes through Zoom online, and will be for the foreseeable future. Circumstances have changed.
“… how much life are we willing to give away?”
Before, when a couple corporate giants played around with using VR for staff meetings with employees that were across the world nobody beyond VR gamers and your average techies took notice. Now everyone’s eyes are open and they’re thinking that VR work environments and even VR leisure activities like going to concerts or sporting events may be the way to go. I mean there is even VR porn available to anyone with an internet browser today. Virtual reality has taken a foothold in more aspects of our lives than anyone has been aware of already.
Like I said before, I think these types of cultural milestones were coming eventually, but the current state of the world has only jump started them into becoming the new norm much quicker. For better or worse, I think companies are going to see that they like the way things have become as well and they’re going to stick, becoming the way we live our lives from now on in many cases. If you’re paying attention to what’s going on then you can already see virtual concert events are becoming increasingly more common, and that’s just one of many available examples of virtual experiences replacing the traditional human experience that we’ve been so accustomed to up to this point.
The more technology advances the more it seems to replace the once normal aspects of everyday life. Sometimes it ends up to be a welcomed improvement, but we have to ask ourselves how much life are we willing to give away? If we continue at such a pace it isn’t far-stretched to say before long we may end up living completely virtual lives altogether. Lives similar to most futuristic, even cyberpunk-esque fictions that we have seen only in movies and television shows. The leap I’m talking about might be closer to a future mirrored by movies like “Surrogates” or even “Wall-E” in terms of the people’s reliance on technology, rather than worlds engulfed by it like “Ready Player One” or “Altered Carbon“. However, that is not to say that I don’t think those scenarios are necessarily out of reach either.
Is Reality Subjective?
“That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real” – Ernest Cline (Ready Player One)
There’s a decision I feel that we are going to be forced to make sooner rather than later, one that was very prominent throughout the entirety of “Ready Player One“. That decision will be what do we truly consider reality to be? Is it subjective, more of a fluid concept, or is reality actual real life events that take place? Will we actually consider the events that take place in the real world, that we can physically attend, touch, and feel to be reality? Or are we going to define reality a little more loosely? If we decide to accept a looser definition of reality, then I believe we open the door for our lives to become forever intertwined in a virtual world. Much like the way technology embedded itself in the fictional world depicted in the movie “Surrogates“, where everyone never leaves their homes, and are walking around town in android bodies. If we fall down the wrong path our world will surely suffer a similar fate.
When we as a society begin to make this move into a virtual shell people ought to take notice, because that is exactly where we are headed. We have to decide right now if this is how we want our lives to be or not. Do we accept a future where human connection is simulated for us? Or do we reel some of this back and put a traditional human experience first? Technology will advance with or without us, but we do have the choice early on whether or not we accept the permanence of simulated lives. The time of choosing is upon us. With no further action or resistance the human experience that we know today will be slowly swallowed up by the black hole of technology until it is too late and the pull becomes unavoidable. We will eventually look back on this entombment of the human experience as the biggest mistake ever to be made. That is my prophecy, and my prophecy is truth.