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Imagine that! Virtual reality

By ROBERT IRELAND | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-13 09:46
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Just because the technology has quite a way to go that hasn't stopped progress in mind-blowing directions. Take your favorite social media platforms, Weibo, WeChat, Facebook, Snapchat. Those are the step toward social virtual reality. In social virtual reality, people, through their generated avatars will be able to come together, sharing experiences in virtual reality. "Hey, let's meet at the Taj Mahal, and then take in a show at the Follies Bergere, in Paris!"

Companies like Alt VR's Frontrow allow subscribers to see their favorite artists in live performances-even interacting with the performers.

That market in the US was worth $10 billion last year.

"There was recently a concert in (the video game) Fortnight that had millions of people attending," observes Virk. "So it was one of the most attended concerts ever and they were all attending it inside the video game … where their avatars (their characters in the game) attended."

Maybe you've heard of Illusion VR, a device that comes with a head set, and a bodysuit that claims to provide a full body virtual interface. What's it for? You guessed it-virtual sex.

Professor Lau looks toward new communities, without borders, interaction with people all over the world, even tactile communication. "VR can be very individualistic. So I would like to, maybe make my avatar, virtually to have a more profound influence over a wide audience. But the same time, it's the communities, the virtual communities, that everybody, every individual real human may have freely to interact with either real or virtual avatars."

How far down the road are the fantastic visions? It's hard to say. Science grows and accelerates like compound interest-a discovery in one area leads to a breakthrough in another-and that speeds up developments in other areas. The advance of science is not a linear progression but a dynamic structure. The choice between living in reality or virtual reality may come sooner than we think.

The author is a senior editorial consultant at China Daily Hong Kong.


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