Virtual reality and the Pursuit of Happiness


For Oculus VR, virtual reality will make us all happy. Microsoft Research goes further by imagining it would bring happiness to the poor. But by allowing us to escape, the VR she could not cut off from reality

Virtual reality (VR) is the buzz since Mark Zuckerberg has presented as “social platform” of the future.Facebook imagine a world where we could attend distance learning courses, travel anywhere, share “live” the first steps of her child … a paradise. The VR could, for Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR, be an instrument of happiness , especially for the poorest, “everyone wants to be happy. VR can allow you to live many exciting experiences “- for example, walking in the forest, or visit the castle of Versailles.”Some of the best experiences for the rich can be synthesized and replicated to a much wider range of people,” said John Carmack, chief technology Oculus, which focuses on “immersion” provided by these ” machines experiences. ” Delivering this happiness by proxy is a” moral imperative “to Palmer Luckey. So would it make capital accessible to as many RVs. The Oculus Rift is $ 600, but the helmets-smartphones – Google Cardboard VR Glasses, Gear VR – cheaper, look set to democratize the VR .

Virtual reality and the Pursuit of Happiness
Virtual reality and the Pursuit of Happiness


Zuckerberg’s photo through an avenue of blind journalists, screwed VR helmet on his head, worried.When is a world similar to those devised in books and science fiction movies, where men prefer their waking dream to the harsh reality?

Bring happiness to the poor?

For Jaron Lanier , Microsoft Research, the idea that the VR will bring happiness to the poor by enabling them to live the same experiences as the rich is only a “dangerous fantasy”. He approaches the Transhumanist thinking of some “colleagues” of Silicon Valley, which “predict a future where the rich will be immortal, and when all the other living in a simulated reality.” This is the prophecy of Ray Kurzweil, leader of ” singularitariens “: “in 2030, the VR will be realistic and convincing, we spend most of our time in virtual environments. We will become virtual humans “.

This may seem a utopia (dystopia?). But what would happen if each of us were to have a helmet? Jeremy Bailenson, the “Virtual Human Interaction Lab” Stanford, describes VR as a technology capable of influencing those who plunge into it – can make them happy, sad – a tool used with caution . Sometimes he predicted, “some will be so satisfied with what they find in the virtual, they physically withdraw from society.” Such fears are not so different from those we had before, vis-a -vis the TV, internet, smartphones … or books – tools capable of making us “more happy”, but also to influence us, to make us “addicted”, and cut us off from the real world. Do not forget that the VR is only a technology. One more tool to escape the harsh reality. It depends ultimately on our ability to remember that what we see in our headset is not real.

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