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The Effects Of Virtual Reality On Society and Culture
This is something that's always rolling around in the back of my mind, and I thought it'd be fun to discuss.
The title really says it all; what effects would/will the presence of fully immersive virtual reality have on how we live our lives? I'm just going to toss out my thoughts on the subject to start things off.
I can't imagine virtual reality not completely changing every aspect of society. Suddenly, the demand for a lot of luxury goods and 'experiences' is drastically reduced; how many people are going to bother with skydiving in real life when they can experience it in VR safely and with minimal costs(maybe for free, but we'll discuss that in a second)? Sure, there will still be a market for most things, but it will be a fraction of what it once was.
Which raises questions about the economy of VR; I imagine a mixture of 'free' things and things you have to pay to experience -- no doubt companies will quickly begin copyrighting experiences, textures, etc; which sounds completely horrible but admittedly someone has to code them.
Beyond that, consider the effects on culture; what remains taboo in a culture in which nothing has to be inherently harmful? Of course that will be a fun fight; if you think the fight over, say, cartoon child porn is a stupid one, wait until the fight over simulated everything you can think of. A clash between 'now pedophiles/zoophiles/necrophiles don't have to be horrible people OR live repressed lives' and 'think of the children' to end all such arguments.
The last thing I've considered here is what the effect will be on the public 'outside'. Will VR hasten our decent into fattydom? VR means appearance doesn't matter much, and people are pretty terrible at doing things solely for health reasons.
Of course it may be moot; could be we'll be eating our protein and exercise pills and obesity will be a cured disease by the time VR rolls around.