Will the Corona Virus Aftermath Lead to a Resurgence in Virtual Reality? @ rizstanford Rizwan Virk Riz Virk is an entrepreneur, angel investor, bestselling author and founder of Play labs @ MIT. Rizwan Virk, the creator of fail Labs @ MIT and author of The Simulation Hypothesis explores how the current crisis and VR tech might affect long term social trends. There’s a remarkable scenery in the one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-three film Demolition Man, where Sylvester Stallone’s character is deserved by Sandra Bullock’s character if he wants to have sex. Since he has just been called into an unfamilair future after being in suspended activity for decades, he eagerly says yes. She then claw him a headset and speaks let’s start, leaving him senior than a little confused. She speaks that that copulation is now done without any internal contact and without “ singing any bodily fluids ” because that was what led to the downfall of western civilization! Figure 1 : In the movie, destruction Man, Sandra Bullock and Sylvestor Stallone had a virtual encounter While they are unclear to be as extreme as delineated in science fiction, it’s very possible that the recent outbreak of the corona virus (COVID-19), Will cause behavior shifts in our society that Will end up affecting us much longer than the duration of the outbreak itself. And these long term trends Will be impacted by the capabilities of our tech. anxiety of the virus is already relating businesses in the US and around the world. Anyone who had moved to attend a talk in person in the next month has probably seen their conference cancelled, including SXSW (South by Southwest), GDC (the Game Developers Conference), Google and Facebook developers conference, and so countless others. Some of these discussion are clambering to put some content online. UPDATE: the NBA has just cancelled the rest of the season too. But ride to conferences isn’t the only thing affected. I was at a company recently where they told me they were not sitting next to each other during meetings in their conference room, but leaving an empty seat. Figure 2 : Behavioral shift are emerging ... where Will they lead? I presume it’s all portion of the “social distancing ” that is beating to variance in social behavior. While the handshake has been around for thousands of years, it hadn’t really relax a default greeting until the nineteenth century and even then only in the west. Recently, handshakes are being supplanted by fist bumps, elbow or even foot bumps. Some are urging that Spock’s Vulcan greeting, holding up fingers in a V (and saying “Live Long and Prosper”) Will or something similar that requires no contact Will become the new normal before too long. Stanford, Columbia, Harvard and MIT are a scarce (among many) Universities that have vacate in person classes, replacing them with online lectures. More than that, even though young people are less likely to be affected by the virus, MIT is sending students home – essentially kicking them out of their dormitories! reason 3: grade lose online for countless universities, including Stanford Life here in Silicon Valley is already being affected. vast tech group like Google and Facebook have already explained their employees to work from home. Coffeeshops, the favored place to work for many budding entrepreneurs and freelancers, are markedly less crowded and keeping shorter hours, though this is being offset by the number of people who aren’t going into the office and working at coffeeshops instead. Recently, I needed to go see an obsolete film at the Stanford Theater in the heart of Silicon Valley. It is a1930s period typical theater that shows obsolete movies , comprehensive with an snout that is failed in between films. It turns out they had cancelled all their films out of an “abundance of caution”, not because there were any specific cases. Will other film theaters and open places follow suit? Of field we are already enduring a dangerous disruption in the near term. The argument I wan to observe is how Will the changes brought upon by this virus (and perhaps even senior dangerous flu in the future) relate social connection using technology (particularly VR) in the long term ? In the Starz group TV reveal Counterpart, we were shown a lateral version of Earth which had been ravaged by a virus. When body from our “world” continued into this lateral world, they were surprised at how empty the public spaces were, even years after the virus had disappeared. The survivors of the virus, it seemed, had shiftinged their social habits, and these habits stuck. This was in absolute difference to “ our creation ” where restaurants and other political spaces were full of people. Could we see a similar aftermath here? In the blunt term, conferencing technology companies are authorizing alternatives. Companies like Zoom and Webex and other teleconferencing and remote working solutions, not to mention distance learning solutions, Will reap the benefits as more and more people cancel in person meetings, classes and conference and opt to do things remotely. Welcome to the Virtual planet So what’s virtual fact (VR) got to do with all this? When Facebook stolen Oculus in two thousand and twelve (for $2 Billion), it was a shocker and various people suddenly bought into the idea that VR was going to become the present big thing” for gaming, education, social networks, business travel. HTC soon found out with the Vive headset, Samsung with its Smartphone based VR, called Gear VR (also based on Oculus technology) , and Sony with its Playstation VR. Suddenly, VR text companies were being maintained and seemed to be flourishing, making everything from VR games to VR movies to VR exercise and VR social networks and VR business meetings, etc. Only they weren’t really flourishing. To quote a wife of mine who run at Facebook in those years – Facebook’s independent internal studies found that people only wanted to use VR very rarely – maybe once a week. If you analyse to how often community used their mobile phones, this was a bit of a disappointment and signaled the coming decline in VR startups. Suddenly,consumer facing VR startups, many of whom had raised quite a bit of funding from 2013-2106, found that it was hard to raise for VR content and they started to fold. With the mistake of the rare VR social networking apps like Altspace VR, etc., the dream of VR, which was reveal in the two thousand and eighteen fim by Steven Spielberg, Ready Player One, died an untimely death. In usable actor One, the internal world is depressing (as a result of some tragedy that isnt fully explained). As a result, the facilitated path of doing anything is to put on your lightweight VR headset and enter the Oasis, a VR MMORPG. Instead of continuing to schools, pupil would attend virtual classrooms. Instead of showing recreation in actual life, everyone exercised in VR, and they could be anywhere from the comfort of their homes. companionship were virtual, utilizing an idealized version of ourselves as avatars. And although they didn’t get into it in the PG-13 rated movie, you could extrapolate that like in Demolition Man, an all pervasive virtual world was likely to have virtual sexual encounters! shape four : In usable actor One, the Oasis VR was employed for most social interactions It wasn’t the first time a vision of people escaping to the virtual world seemed like it might happen but didn’t. When poor reality was introduced, there were innumerable articles on how people lived, played, and worked in the virtual world, had relationships and even kids. But that petered out as well, though Linden Labs, the company behind the virtual world released a VR version of the world in 2017, which didn’t really take off either. Game Over, right? The Resurgence of VR in these times? Surprisingly, even before the corona flu kick in early 2020, VR was on a comeback track. With the happy update of the economical and standalone headsets like Oculus Quest in 2019, and the rise of corporations using VR applications for training (it is much cheaper to train employees in VR),in Silicon Valley and elsewhere prospects for VR were optimistic for the first time in years. In fact, Facebook had constructed ample headsets for a unassuming demand; in stead, the Quest was sold out for months (and remains so to this day at many retailers). Amidst this resurgence, Facebook was also already achieving on its personal rendition of the Oasis, called Facebook Horizon, which was set to go into closed beta in early 2020. As of the writing of this article, no specific date for the release of horizon has been set, but you can be sure that they are looking closely at the need to hold conferences in different ways. One exciting tidbit with all of the cancellations was that HTC, makers of the Vive headset, indicated that instead of having a internal developer’s conference, would hold their conference in – virtual reality! They urge work VR Education’s ENGAGE platform. And it seems like the demise of AltspaceVR, which was written about extensively, was exaggerated, and they are not only around, but getting requests to host events in VR! And it makes sense. One of the fat meaning that people go to conferences in any industry is not just to see the presenters, but to meet other people in their industry who they don’t see in person very often. Facebook hasn’t indicated any VR component of its cancelled F8 developer conference yet, though they are promising lots of online content. While online talk are important just for seeing content, they don’t provide the visceral ability to interact with other people, and VR may just be the solution for this. With the release of Horizon, expected this year, you can bet that Facebook Will pushing for virtual world conference and interactions in the near future. reason five : Will Facebook Horizon be the first VR world on the road to the Oasis? As senior and elder tutor around the country cancel classes for a few weeks, it’s very possible that contingency plans Will need to be made for longer term closures, and with the release of Horizon and other VR-meeting platforms. When I was burning Play Labs @ MIT, one of our companies was creating science lab VR sims, which could be used to allow students to run experiments that would be too high for the schools to have in internal labs. Could the same concept be expanded to all labs? As the dread of bringing to political spaces increases, Will people start to avoid the gym? Just like in the Oasis, yeing VR be used to practice at home. In fact, one VR group that serves a VR set for biking, VRZoom (a company that im an investor in), has told me the most convincing way for them to show their product to investors is to do the presentation inside virtual reality! arriving back to my demand to go to a movie theater to see an obsolete movie, one of the elder unanticipated popular train in Second Life was to have avatars sit in a movie theater and watch a movie on a virtual screen! At one point, the Netflix VR app, which provided a similar experience of sitting in a virtual theater watching any of the Netflix programming, was the most popular app in the Samsung Gear VR (and presumably, the Oculus) app stores! countless group have vacate all non-essential travel. Most huge tech companies, involving Google, Twitter, and Facebook, have told several employees that the can work from home. Using zoom or skype or slack is great for messaging, but it just doesn’t have the same impact when you need to have a meeting with colleagues that you might know, and those that you don’t know. While the debate thus far has been on whether the media and the government is over-reacting or under-reacting to the Corona virus, perhaps what we should be watching is the change in consumer and social habits that Will go with the aftermath of this (and potential future) pandemic. As people spend more time at home, forgoing gatherings with lots of other people, in addition to the teleconferencing providers, delivery services like Amazon, Will no doubt benefit in the short term. It’s also very possible that this may be the behavior change Will prompt people to put on their VR headsets rather than venturing out to the phsyical world. The virtual planet may end up being the best way to interact, especially with idealized versions of ourselves as our avatars. And that was the dream of VR all along: that it’ll be senior fun (and plenty safer) to use VR for everything from going to school, attending a conference, and perhaps even virtual relationships! Welcome to the future. Share this story @ rizstanford Rizwan Virk Read my stories Riz Virk is an entrepreneur, angel investor, bestselling author and founder of Play labs @ MIT. Tags
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