PA’s Rob Gear, a futurist, is extensively quoted in the Financial Times in an article on augmented and virtual reality.
The article looks at the market for virtual reality - its uses as well as some of the issues it faces. Rob explains that after several false dawns for virtual reality, near photorealistic simulations, unthinkable eight years ago, have become the norm. So far, virtual reality has been used mainly for computer games, advertising and marketing, often blurring the boundaries between commerce and entertainment.
Rob goes on to say that from some of the uses of virtual reality there could be psychological repercussions, such as reckless behaviour from those who no longer know the difference between the real and virtual worlds.
He goes on to talk about a study by Stanford University where a group of children were immersed in a virtual simulation of playing with whales and when questioned about it at a later date, recalled it as if it actually happened.
Rob continues: “How technology like virtual reality will play out over time in a mass population is still to be determined. Some people will use it responsibly and others will use it irresponsibly, to the detriment of their health.”
Commenting on business users, Rob says that there is scope for more research to understand how companies may gain real business benefits rather than digitising to no advantage.
Rob concludes by saying that in the future, virtual reality will be less about wearing headsets and more about social interaction and collaboration. He believes that people will be able to create 3D video on social media, capturing and sharing their real-world experiences.
“The biggest threat to the technologies may be that the industry itself is raising unrealistic expectations of what it can deliver”, says Rob.